Decades ago, a farmer’s field resided here. Abandoned, wild plants took over. Likely a bird deposited a Staghorn Sumac seed here, and the ensuing shrub spread by seed and root suckers, eventually taking over.  Sumac can live 50 or more years and now the sumac “forest” is nearing the end of its reign.

However, a new shrub has appeared nearby, likely via a bird, and eventually it may replace the sumac. Prickly Ash is not an ash but a citrus plant with bitter-aromatic leaves and paired thorns that make it unpleasant to brush against. It is the foodplant of the Giant Swallowtail, Canada’s largest butterfly. The caterpillar looks like bird poop but when touched, an orange “snake’s tongue” suddenly appears, frightening potential attackers!