Sandy Hook (732)
Phragmites australis, also known as Common Reed, is an aggressively
growing species, which outcompetes many other native plants. It can grow
to a height of ten feet, and often grows in disturbed areas. It forms a
"monoculture," which lowers biological diversity. Phragmites reproduces
mainly by underground runners, with one plant often giving rise to
dozens of shoots. It is also the main fuel for fast-moving and dangerous
grassland fires at Gateway.
First written about in North America by Captain John Smith in the
Jamestown colony, Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron radicans, is a misunderstood
and often maligned plant. It is also one of the most common plants at
It provides cover and food for a wide variety of animals, and in many
places its roots stabilize critical sand dunes. It is important that
visitors be familiar with this plantís three leaves, which can vary from
bright green to reddish in spring and fall, with white berries in summer
and fall. Poison Ivy at Gateway can grow as a low, trailside plant, as
an aggressive tree-climbing vine, as a shrub, and even as a small tree.
All parts of the plant contain the oil urushiol, which causes a skin
rash in about half of the U.S. population.
Poison Ivy is common to abundant throughout Gateway, providing shelter
and food for wildlife and anchoring critical dune systems.