Manassas National Battlefield; Flora & Fauna
Manassas National Battlefield Park is well known for its rich history. Two major battles were fought on this hallowed ground during the Civil War, and the National Park Service interpret the battles with guided tours and exhibits. The park offers a wide array of activities to fit the needs of different people. Whether you are a park enthusiast, a Civil War Buff, or a curious child, you will enjoy the experience at this treasured National Park. While the park is most known for its history, it is also a great place for hiking and discovering nature. Read on to learn about the flora and fauna within Manassas National Battlefield Park.
The Flora of the Park
With spring comes the blooming of wildflowers. Unlike a garden, none of the plants are placed there, but rather they appear naturally. Wildflowers make their appearances in the fields and under the trees to fill the park with beautiful sites and wonderful smells. Some of the flowers you may find include chicory, bluebells, and common milkweed.
Common Milkweed is necessary for the defense of Monarch butterflies. Monarchs have a tolerance for the in the plant. As larvae, they feed on milkweed, and the toxins make the butterflies bitter and intolerable to predators.
Many types of trees and shrubs reside in Manassas National Battlefield Park. Some of the most notable trees include White Oak, Eastern Red Cedar, Black Cherry, Black Oak, and White Ash. Many kinds of shrubs flourish under the shade of these trees. You can find flowering Dogwood, Wild Licorice, and Deerberry on the floor of the wooded areas. The grasslands, trees, and shrubs make this park an ideal location for some of the region’s native animals.
“Witness Trees” are trees that were alive and witnessed key events during the First and Second Battles of Manassas. Park staff and a very dedicated girl scout have identified several Witness Trees throughout the park. How many will you find?
The Fauna of the Park
Early in the morning, many people have spotted white-tailed deer grazing in the open field in Manassas National Battlefield Park. While these are some of the most noticeable mammals that reside within the park, they are certainly not the only ones. Other furry creatures that can be seen in the park include Eastern Fox Squirrels, Eastern Chipmunks, Eastern Cottontails, Southern Flying Squirrels, and Eastern Moles.
Deer breed in the fall and winter and give birth in the summer. If you want to see baby deer, then summertime is the perfect time to visit Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Grassland birds are on the decline in Virginia, so one of the park’s goals is to create a better habitat for these species. Some of the birds you can watch include the Eastern Meadowlark, Barn Owl, Savannah Sparrow, and Grasshopper sparrow.
The park is home to 168 species of birds.
The reptiles that live in the park each has a unique defense mechanism. Turtles rely on their hard shell to keep them safe from predators, snakes use their bite (venomous or not) to protect themselves, and some species of skinks break off their tales when they are grabbed, leaving their predators staring at a wiggling tail rather than the skink running away.
Snakes help control the population of rodents and insects. This means that snakes can help keep the mosquito count down. They don’t seem so bad now, do they?