Webster Park

At 1.5 acres, Webster Park is one of the smaller Columbus nature preserves and one of the oldest parks. It was dedicated in 1909 as a bird sanctuary and flower preserve. A very active community group (Friends of Webster Park) has been very active in removing invasive plants and maintaining this park, where one can find a variety of woodland plants such as skunk cabbage, yellow trout lily and Virginia bluebells.

The park contains a small, unnamed tributary of the Olentangy river, which has been culverted both at its entrance to the park at the east end and its exit at the west end. The north section of the park features a natural wetland.

The park features a small, unnamed stream.

Skunk cabbage leaves storing energy for next year, after their early spring blooming has passed.

The wetland in winter.

Look closely - can you see the emerging skunk cabbage? This is a great place to observe this plant in profusion, since it needs a wet environment. March 6, 2021

Spring arrives early at Webster Park. This plant uses a process called thermogenesis to generate the heat it needs to produce a fruit. During the summer growing season, the plant converts carbon dioxide to starch that is stored in the large rhizome, or root. Toward the end of the following winter, the process is reversed, and it uses the oxygen in the air to oxidize the starches to generate heat, creating enough heat to melt the surrounding snow.
Feb. 24, 2021

By March 6, the flowers are in full bloom. They do have a slight skunky scent, which attracts the carrion flies needed to fertilize the flower.

The fruit of the skunk cabbage.