South Hill Powerline Cut


Saturday, July 15, 2017 - 9:30am




South Hill, Ithaca


Arieh Tal


Despite being human-disturbed habitats, powerline cuts can be great places to botanize. Because of the sandy, sunny nature of the site, this 1.5 mile stretch of powerline heading north from E. King Road to Ithaca College includes some species more typical of coastal plain communities, such as Asclepias tuberosa (butterflyweed), Cirsium pumilum (dwarf thistle), Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry), Rosa carolina, as well as a variety of Vaccinium species (blueberries). The margins of the service road running uphill from the parking lot have some interesting plants, including Verbena hastata(blue vervain), Anaphalis margaritacea (pearly everlasting) and Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (narrow-leaved mountain mint). We may also see other species in flower, such as Lespedeza violacea, Polygala sanguinea, Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium, Spiranthes cernua(?), goldenrods and asters. Meet at the Cooperative Extension Parking Lot (Willow Ave.) at 9:30 to carpool to the site.


We went above Ithaca College, past the water tower on the Observatoy Access Road, and to the nearby powerline cut. We had good weather, although a bit cloudy so fewer butterflies were out.  But the butterfly weed was in full bloom - wonderful - and the native thistle was intermixed. An interesting spot at this time of year. The access road described above had been mowed during the preceding week, so we missed a couple of species, but the list is still pretty long!


Plant list - South Hill powerline walk - July 15, 2017       Asterisk * indicates non-natives 

Acer rubrum

red maple

Achillea millefolium*


Agrostis gigantea*

bent grass, redtop

Alliaria petiolata*

garlic mustard

Anaphalis margaritacea

pearly everlasting

Antennaria howellii

small pussytoes

Antennaria plantaginifolia

plantain-leved pussytoes

Anthoxanthum odoratum

sweet vernal grass

Apocynum androsaemifolium

spreading dogbane

Apocynum cannabinum

Indian hemp

Asclepias syriaca

common milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa

butterfly weed

Athyrium angustum

northern lady fern

Berberis thunbergii*

Japanese barberry

Berberis vulgaris*

common barberry

Betula populifolia

gray birch

Brachyelytrum aristosum

northern shorthusk

Carex crinita

fringed sedge

Carex lurida

sallow sedge

Carlina vulgaris*

Carline thistle

Carya glabra

pignut hickory

Carya ovata

shagbark hickory

Cichorium intybus*


Cirsium arvense*

Canada thistle

Cirsium pumilum

pasture thistle

Cirsium vulgare*

bull thistle

Clinopodium vulgare

wild basil

Cornus racemosa

gray dogwood

Cynanchum rossicum*

pale swallowwort

Dactylis glomerata*

orchard grass

Danthonia compressa

wild oatgrass

Danthonia spicata

wild oatgrass

Daucus carota*

Queen Anne's lace, wild carrot

Dennstaedtia punctilobula

hay-scented fern

Dianthus armeria*

Deptford pink

Dryopteris intermedia

evergreen wood fern

Elaeagnus umbellata*

autumn olive

Erechtites hieraciifolia*


Erigeron annuus

daisy fleabane

Euthamia graminifolia

grass-leaved goldenrod

Gaylussacia baccata

black huckleberry

Glyceria striata

fowl manna grass

Hackelia virginiana

Virginia stickseed

Hedeoma pulegioides

American pennyroyal

Houstonia caerulea


Hypericum perforatum*

common St. John's-wort

Lapsana communis*


Lespedeza violacea

wand bush-clover

Leucanthemum vulgare*

oxeye daisy

Linaria vulgaris*

butter and eggs

Lonicera morrowii*

Morrow's honeysuckle

Lotus corniculatus*

bird's-foot trefoil

Monotropa uniflora

Indian pipe

Morella caroliniensis


Oenothera perennis

small sundrops

Onoclea sensibilis

sensitive fern

Ostrya virginiana

hop hornbeam

Oxalis stricta

yellow wood-sorrel

Persicaria sagittata

arrow-leaved tear-thumb

Phleum pratense*


Pilosella aurantiaca*

Devil's paintbrush

Pilosella officinarum*

mouse-ear hawkweed

Pilosella piloselloides*

glaucous-leaved hawkweed

Pinus rigida

pitch pine

Pinus strobus

white pine

Podophyllum peltatum

may apple

Polygala sanguinea

blood milkwort

Prunella vulgaris*

self-heal, heal-all

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

narrow-leaved mountain-mint

Quercus alba

white oak

Quercus coccinea

scarlet oak

Quercus rubra

red oak

Ranunculus acris*

tall buttercup

Rosa carolina

Carolina rose, pasture rose

Rubus occidentalis

black raspberry

Rumex crispus*

curly dock

Securigera varia*

crown vetch

Solidago altissima

tall goldenrod

Solidago bicolor


Solidago gigantea

late goldenrod, smooth goldenrod

Solidago nemoralis

gray goldenrod

Solidago rugosa

rough-stemmed goldenrod

Symphyotrichum laeve

smooth aster

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum

calico aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

New England aster

Symphyotrichum pilosum

old-field goldenrod

Thelypteris noveboracensis

New York fern

Tussilago farfara*


Vaccinium angustifolium

lowbush blueberry

Vaccinium corymbosum

highbush blueberry

Vaccinium pallidum

hillside blueberry

Vaccinium stamineum


Verbascum blattaria*

moth mullein

Verbascum thapsus*

common mullein

Verbena hastata

blue vervain

Verbena urticifolia

white vervain

Viola sagittata

northern downy violet