Plains Pond Trail Professional Review and Guide
"A sandy plain located over a large aquifer bubbling into a small pond bordered by woods and grasses. Stop to examine the shrubs of the Heath family (Ericaceae), which include lowbush and highbush blueberry, bearberry, and huckleberry. In the woodier areas, sheep laurel and the larger heath shrubs proliferate. Heaths are survivors equipped to endure drought-like conditions and periodic burnings for blueberry growth on these windswept plains. Their roots enjoy a symbiotic relationship with fungus (mycorrhizae) that allows them to extract nitrogen and other nutrients from the soil.
The slender, leathery leaves of the heaths protect the plant from harsh wind and sun yet funnel morning dewdrops to their roots. In spring, bearberry and other flowering heaths collect rain in white and pink bell-shaped blossoms. During hot summers when the sand plain blazes like a desert, their reddish stems, branches, and leaves admit the red spectrum of sunlight, filtering out more destructive rays. Special Features: freshwater pond and rare birds, tussock grasses, and heath blooms and berries."