Vascular Flora of the Montessori Cooperative School Campus, Mills River, North Carolina

 

Stanley Capp
Presented: Spring 2015
Committee: Amy Boyd, Alisa Hove, Robert Hastings

The 11-acre outdoor classroom of the Montessori Cooperative School contains a 0.4 -acre meadow that was once a parking lot. This meadow has been allowed to return to its natural state. A flora inventory of the 11 acres was performed with an emphasis on the meadow. 123 species from 38 families were collected. Of these, 17 are considered hydrophytic. Soil samples were also taken from around the site and tested for hydric soil morphology using Munsell Soil Color charts. Soil in the meadow was found to be hydric while samples from the rest of the site were not. These factors in addition to the meadows depression shape and proximity to McDowell Creek creates saturated conditions nearly year round. The meadow did not fit any one natural plant community due to its previous disturbance; instead the meadow displayed characteristics of several plant communities. Due to the long recovery time of wetland ecosystems, especially without direct restoration, it is unclear if the meadow will ever recover.