|March, 2001||James City County||John Clayton Chapter|
The Greenhaven Registry Site, located in the York River watershed with a deep ravine and buffering slopes, is an example of calcareous ravine communities of the Coastal Plain of Virginia. The soils in these areas are high in calcium and other nutrients derived from the fossil shells in the substrate. This condition provides habitat for mountain coastal disjuncts, plants that are primarily found in the western Piedmont and Mountain regions. The site is on private property and is not open to the public.
From the March, 2001 VNPS Bulletin:
The John Clayton Chapter has presented the 16th Virginia Native Plant Society Registry Site, Greenhaven, in Norge in James City County.
The area selected for registry is a deep ravine and its buffering slopes. As spring approaches one can find masses of Viola conspersa (dog violet), Panax trifolius (dwarf ginseng) and Orontium aquaticum (goldenclub). In this hardwood bottomland selective logging in the 1980s left Fagus grandifolia (American beech) and allowed Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree) to emerge.
This special habitat which is in the York River watershed is an example of the calcareous ravine communities in the coastal plain of Virginia. In these areas are found distinct flora termed mountain/coastal disjuncts because they are primarily found in the western piedmont and mountain regions and, while seldom found along the fall-line and coastal plain, do inhabit the calcareous ravines. The soils which give rise to these plant communities are high in calcium and other nutrients derived from substrate that contains fossil shells of the Yorktown Formation. The chapter’s other registered site. Grove Creek, is cut by an even deeper ravine and fossil shells have been found there.
These special ravines are important to the scientific world because they may represent remnant flora from the period ca. 8,000-10,000 years ago when mountain species probably occurred all the way to the sea. Several interesting botanical questions arise and demand answers, thus the preservation of such habitats is essential to the ongoing knowledge of our diverse natural resources.
Greenhaven is located in the Norge area north of Williamsburg.