Maple Flats Trail, Sourland Mountain Preserve, Somerset County


May 13 2014:

It was a beautiful day. The maple flats is a loop trail that runs along the base of the mountain and is relatively level with lovely woodlands and a small creek tumbling by. Here is a map of the trail showing our path in yellow: maple flats trail. We started at the trail head (TH) then proceeded to (1) to (2) to (3) to (10) to (11) to (12) then back to trail head.

Maple flats trail - woodlands and creek

We saw many clusters of large bloodroot leaves. Unfornately we never hike early enough to see these beautiful flowers. Spring beauties dotted the trail in abundance.

Rue Anemone with pink tinge
We always enjoy coming across a patch of rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides). The leaves and flowers are so delicate and airy. This time we also found a rue anemone flower that was slightly pink. Normally the flowers are very white. Photo on the left.


On the right, we thought we would take this picture since one does not often see catbriar(Smilax rotundifolia), in bloom

Virgina Pennywort Virgina Pennywort

We came across some virgina pennywort (Obolaria virginica) nestled in the leaf litter. The plants are only about 6 inches tall and easy to miss. This is the northern limit for this plant and we have seen them previously higher on the mountain here. On the left are two views.  This plant is rare / threatened in NJ as well as in some other states

Virgina Pennywort

We were really surprised to see some squawroot (Conopholis americana) although is was reported by the NY-NJ-CT Botany website. We had seen lots of them in the Great Smoke Mountain National Park but not in NJ. This plant is parasitic and gets its nutrition from roots of the oak trees.

This was a pretrip to a hike that we lead a group of non outdoors friends to introduce them to what they are missing! Maple Flats trail is one of the easiest trails there and very pretty. While our friends walked they commented how nice and peaceful it was and how they would never have come themselves. They appreciated the introduction to many of the plants.

More information on the Sourland Mountain Preserve:   general information

Plant list from NY-NJ-CT Botany Online:   NY-NJ-CT Botany website   

Below is a list of some of the plants that we saw on this trip. Also there are links to our photo pages in our photo galleries.

Hope you will go there and enjoy.

H. & M. Ling

List of some of the plants viewed on this trip
type flowering scientific name common name links to photo page    
herbaceous   Actaea sp baneberry      
herbaceous   Arisaema triphyllum jack in the pulpit jack in the pulpit photos     
herbaceous y Claytonia virginica spring beauty spring beauty photos     
herbaceous y Conopholis americana squawroot      
tree, small y Cornus florida dogwood dogwood photos     
herbaceous y Geranium maculatum wild geranium      
herbaceous   Maianthemum racemosa solomons seal - false      
herbaceous y Monotropa uniflora indian pipe      
herbaceous y Obolaria virginica Virginia pennywort Virginia pennywort photos     
herbaceous y Osmorhiza claytonii sweet cicely      
herbaceous   Oxalis violacea violet woodsorrel violet woodsorrel photos     
herbaceous   Polygonatum pubescens solomons seal - hairy      
herbaceous   Polygonatum biflorum solomons seal - smooth      
herbaceous y Ranunculus recurvatus hooked buttercup      
herbaceous   Sanguinaria canadensis bloodroot bloodroot photos     
herbaceous y Saxifraga virginiensis early saxifrage      
herbaceous y Thalictrum thalictroides rue anemone rue anemone photos     
herbaceous y Uvularia perfoliata perfoliate bellwort perfoliate bellwort photos     
herbaceous y Viola sp blue violet      
herbaceous y Viola pubescens violet yellow      
vine y Smilax rotundifolia catbriar      
shrub y Berberis thunbergii japanese barberry      
shrub   Staphylea trifolia american bladdernut American bladdernut     
shrub   Viburnum acerifolium mapleleaf viburnum      
shrub y Viburnum prunifolium blackhaw viburnum blackhaw viburnum photos     
tree   Acer rubrum red maple      
tree   Acer saccharum sugar maple      
tree   Carya ovata shagbark hickory      
tree   Liriodendron tulipifera tulip tulip tree flower photos     
fern   Botrychium virginianum rattlesnake fern      
fern   Osmunda claytoniana interrupted fern      
fern   Thelypteris noveboracensis new fern