|Morton Arboretum's Joe Rothleutner's preparing an herbarium specimen|
The swamp is not, in fact, a bog. Bogs are characterized by standing water which is often stained tea-brown by tannins leached from decomposing organic matter. In addition, bog water is acidic. Frazier's Bog is actually a fen, which has running (albeit slowly running), clear water that tends to be neutral or slightly basic. The water at Frazier's Bog seeps out of a porous quartizite bedrock ridge immediately to the north, and the shallow rills, runnels, and rivulets that thread through the wetland flow over sandy beds.
The swamp is also amazing because it's a Coastal Plain outlier. My preserve and environs are on the solid, metamorphic rocky Piedmont; the edge of the sandy Coastal Plain lies about 10 miles to the south. Nevertheless, many of the the plants that occur in Frazier's Bog are plants typical of the Coastal Plain in New Jersey, not the Piedmont. So, Frazier's bog is a rarity--an island of the Coastal Plain 250 feet above sea level in a shallow basin in the Piedmont.
The bog's unusual nature has been recognized for a century and a half, and over the years countless botanic field trips have tromped through the spongy, saturated site. Currently, the wetland is located at the edge of the second fairway of a private country club's golf course, but fortunately the country club recognizes the botanic gem and has posted signs to keep golfers out of the swamp (which is a treasure trove of lost golf balls).
|Fortunately, the country club recognizes the wetland's value|
|Chicago Botanic Garden's Andrew Bunting "bagging" his quarry|
|The swamp floor is carpeted with skunk cabbage and ferns|
|The Dynamic Duo just before leaving the swamp|
|Joe photographing netted chain fern|