106. Creef Cut Trail

The plants in front of you are River Cane. This native plant occurs in wetlands and moist, well-drained soils along rivers. It is often called native bamboo and looks a lot like bamboo, but it does not get as tall as bamboo from Asia. It makes very little seed and spreads mainly by its root system called rhizomes. The shoots that you see above the ground have grown up from the root system. The leaves are used as nesting material by songbirds and one songbird, Swainson’s warbler, only nests in river cane. On the other side of the trail you may observe Phragmites or Common Reed. This invasive, non-native plant was brought to the country as packing material on ships that arrived from all over the world. It was thrown overboard once ships landed and the plants rooted in nearby marshes. It has no natural disease and insect pests in the United States and can easily overwhelm native vegetation in marshes. Common reed does not decompose quickly and its dormant stems block travel paths in marshes for terrestrial and aquatic organisms. Controlling common reed requires a combination of herbicide application and prescribed fire.