Flora & Fauna


Birds of Jemison Park

The following birds may be seen or heard in the park. For seasonal abundance, see the 2001 “Bird List of Jemison Park” published by the Friends. For more about birds in this area, see Alabama Birds by Thomas A. Imhof.

Wading Birds
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Wood Duck

Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

Quail and Allies
Spotted Sandpiper
American Woodcock

Rock Dove
Mourning Dove

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Screech Owl
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl

Common Nighthawk

Swifts and Hummingbirds
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Blue-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Yellow-shafted Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Wood Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Acadian Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher

Jays and Crows
Blue Jay
Common Crow

Purple Martin
Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Chickadees and Titmice
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown-headed Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

Carolina Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren

Gnatcatchers and Kinglets
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Gray Catbird
Common Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher

Cedar Waxwing

Common Starling

Eastern Bluebird
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson’s, or Olive-backed Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin

White-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Wood Warblers
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Parula Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Myrtle Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-White Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Swainson’s Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Connecticut Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Canada Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat

Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager

New World Finches
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Slate-colored Junco
Oregon Junco

Old World Finches
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Evening Grosbeak

Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole

Weaver Finches
House Sparrow


Three species of owls have been seen or heard regularly along the creek, the most noticeable being the large, brown-eyed Barred Owl. Their distinctive eight-note call is generally rendered in our area as, “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you’alllll,” the extended ending dropping in pitch and tempo. Other guttural and expressive vocal efforts as these owls communicate over the valley can be heard throughout the night and are spectacular. Barred Owls have long life spans and have been known to nest in the same area for over thirty years. Among the major reasons to leave dead trees standing in the park, even as cut-off stubs 20-30 feet tall, is that they become feeding habitat for woodpeckers and other insect-eaters and nesting habitat for cavity dwellers, such as Barred Owls. Who will furnish their next tree?

Mammals of Jemison Park

Due to their generally secretive nature and often nocturnal habits, more mammals are found in Jemison Park than you might suspect. For more information on the mammals found in and near Jemison Park or  elsewhere in Alabama, good references are A Field Guide to the Mammals
by W. Burt and R. Grossenherden; A Field Guide to Animal Tracks by O. Murie; Mammal Tracks and Signs by M. Elbroch.
Virginia Opossum

Weasels and Allies
Long-tailed Weasel
River Otterpg20-opossum

Eastern Mole
Striped Skunk
Southeastern Shrew
Short-tailed Shrew

Bears and Raccoons
Big Brown Bat
Little Brown Bat
Eastern Pipistrel
Evening Bat
Red Bat

Red Fox
Gray Fox

Squirrels and Relatives
Eastern Gray Squirrel
Southern Flying Squirrel
Eastern Chipmunk

Nine-banded Armadillo

Mice, Rats and other Rodents
Eastern Harvest Mouse
White-footed Wood Mouse
Pine Vole
Norway Rat

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Songs of the Night
If your ears are tuned for small sounds, you might notice at nightfall the small, high-pitched squeak of a flying squirrel amid the large trees in the park forest. The Southern Flying Squirrel is 5 l/2 to 6 inches in body length with a 3 1/2 to 4 1/2-inch tail, thus much smaller than the common gray squirrel. A loose fold of skin attached to the foreleg and hind leg on each side allows it to glide from tree to tree when the legs are extended. The nocturnal flying squirrel is not often seen but can occasionally be heard in the darkness of the night. Listen carefully for a very high-pitched “tseet” given at intervals of 3-5 seconds, sometimes continuing for several  minutes.

Reptiles and Amphibians of Jemison Park

Alabama has more than 135 species of amphibians and reptiles. For more information on the amphibians and reptiles found in Jemison Park or elsewhere in Alabama, two excellent references are The Reptiles and Amphibians of Alabama by R. Mount; Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America by R. Conant and J. Collins.
Common Water Snake
Queen Snake
Brown (Dekay’s) Snake
Red-bellied Snake
Garter Snake
Ribbon Snake
Earth Snake
Ringneck Snake
Worm Snake
Black Racer
Green Snake
Corn Snake
Gray Rat Snake
Black Kingsnake

Snapping Turtle
Mud Turtle
Box Turtle
Yellow-bellied Turtle
Softshell Turtle
Geeks, Croaks, and Gunks
Frogs primarily call when breeding conditions become right, and that time varies with the species. Beginning in late winter and early spring, the high-pitched “peep” of the spring peeper can be heard. At this time or slightly later, the “rink, rink” of the mountain chorus frog and the guttural croaks and clucks of the leopard frog can also be heard. The latter sound is often described as if one were rubbing your hand over a balloon. As spring gets into full swing, several other frogs voice their calls. The green or bronze frog emits a “gunk-gunk” from the stream’s edge, and the Fowler’s toad gives a plaintive “waaaaah.” During the late spring and summer, several other species begin calling. The low-pitched bird-like trills of the gray treefrog can be heard from the trees. Along the creek’s edge can sometimes be heard the “click-click” or “geek-geek” of the cricket frog and the deep “jugo-rum” of the bullfrog. Finally, during the middle of summer, the narrow-mouthed toad’s nasal, sheep-like bleat can sometimes be heard after heavy rains.
Green Anole
Fence Lizard
Ground Skink
Five-lined Skink
Broad-headed Skink
Marbled Salamander
Spotted Salamander
Dusky Salamander
Slimy Salamander
Zigzag Salamander
Red Salamander
Two-lined Salamander
Three-lined Salamander
Toads and Frogs
Fowler’s Toad
Cricket Frog
Spring Peeper
Gray Treefrog
Chorus Frog
Narrow-mouthed Toad
Leopard Frog
Green or Bronze Frog

What Are Those Globs of Jelly in that Pool of Water?
In late winter or early spring, you may have noticed some round,   oftballsized globs of jelly in a temporary pool or small pond in the woods, often close to the creek. If you look closely, there are a number of small black objects embedded in the “jelly.” These are likely the egg masses of the spotted salamander. This 5-6″ black salamander with yellow spots spends nearly all of its life burrowing in the leaf litter and rich soil of wooded areas. However, spotted salamanders migrate to temporary pools or forest ponds at night during warm late winter-early spring rains to mate and lay their eggs. The egg mass is a gelatinous ball housing 40-100 individual little eggs. These develop over the next few weeks and hatch as gilled tadpole-like creatures. Over the late spring and early summer, they grow, develop legs and eventually leave the pond as little salamanders to join others in the leaf litter and subterranean areas of the forest floor.


Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of Jemison Park

Following is a list by family of the native deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs, and vines that create the inviting canopy of the park. For more about trees and shrubs in the area, see Trees and Shrubs in the Heart of Dixie by Blanche E. Dean.
Pine family, Pinaceae
Loblolly Pine, Pinus taeda
Shortleaf Pine, P. echinata
Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum

Lily family, Liliaceae
Catbriar, Smilax rotundifolia

Willow family, Salicaceae
Black Willow, Salix nigra

Bayberry Family, Myricaceae
Northern Wax Myrtle, Myrica pensylvanica

Walnut family, Junglandaceae
Bitternut Hickory, Carya cordiformis
Southern Shagbark Hickory, C. ovata
Mockernut Hickory, C. tomentosa
Black Walnut, Juglans nigra

Songs of Summer
While many people are aware that birds, mammals, and even frogs can be identified and enjoyed by song and call as well as by sight, few realize that the same is true of insects. Yet insects are a prominent aspect of  summertime life in the park. Dog day cicadas, which emerge annually, are active during the dog days of summer, July and August. They are large insects, usually 1-2 inches in length, primarily blackish but often with green markings. While sometimes found attached to a tree trunk in some stage of molting, they are more often heard than seen. Calls of the buzz saw cicada, Tibicen lyricen and the big cicada, Tibicen auletes, both long extended buzzes, ring out in the morning and into the heat of a hot summer day.  Later in the afternoon, around 5:00, the scissor grinders, Tibicen pruinosa, tune up with their interrupted buzzing call of “zaaaaazur/zaaaaazur/zaaaaazur/zaaaaaz” etc., the “zur” sound dropping in pitch. Katydids, Pterophylla camellifolia begin their songs after dark, one at a time at first but soon in great chorus from high in the deciduous
trees. Because they inhabit the heights, these large bright green members of the grasshopper family are rarely seen, but their well known song of
“katy-did, katy-didn’t,” sung in unison, produces the pulsing background for the moonlight and magnolias of a Southern night.

Birch family, Betulaceae
Eastern Hophornbeam, Ostrya virginiana
Ironwood, Carpinus caroliniana
River Birch, Betula nigra
Tag Alder, Alnus serrulata

Beech family, Fagaceae
American Beech, Fagus grandifolia
White Oak, Quercus alba
Southern Red Oak, Q. falcata
Northern Red Oak, Q. rubra
Blackjack Oak, Q. marilandica
Water Oak, Q. nigra
Overcup Oak, Q. lyrata
Post Oak, Q. stellata
Scarlet Oak, Q. coccinea
Shumard’s Oak, Q. shumardii
Pagoda Oak, Q. pagoda
Chestnut Oak, Q. prinus

Mulberry family, Moraceae
Red Mulberry, Morus rubra

Mistletoe family, Loranthaceae
Mistletoe, Phoradendron serotinum

Elm family, Ulmaceae
American Elm, Ulmus americana
Winged Elm, U. alata
Hackberry, Celtis laevigata

Crowfoot family, Ranunculaceae
Yellow-root, Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Anise family, Illiciaceae
Florida Anise, Illicium floridanum
Anise, I. parviflorum

Magnolia family, Magnoliaceae
Yellow Poplar or Tulip Tree,
Liriodendron tulipifera
Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora
Umbrella Magnolia, M. tripetala
Sweet Bay, M. virginiana

Custard-apple family, Annonaceae
Dwarf Pawpaw, Asimina parviflora
Pawpaw, A. triloba

Strawberry-shrub family, Calycanthaceae
Sweet-shrub, Calycanthus floridus

Saxifrage family, Saxifragaceae
Virginia Willow, Itea virginica
Climbing Hydrangea, Decumaria barbara
Nine-bark Hydrangea, Hydrangea arborescens
Oakleaf Hydrangea, H. quercifolia

Witch-hazel family, Hamamelidaceae
Sweet Gum, Liquidambar styraciflua
Witch-hazel, Hamamelis virginiana

Laurel family, Lauraceae
Sassafras, Sassafras albidum
Spice Bush, Lindera benzoin

Plane-tree family, Platanaceae
Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis

Rose family, Rosaceae
Parsley Hawthorn, Crataegus marshallii
Washington Thorn, C. phaenopyrum
Little-hip Thorn, C. spathulata
Downy Shadbush or Serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea
Common Choke-cherry, Prunus virginiana
Wild Black Cherry, P. serotina
Red Chokeberry, Aronia arbutifolia

Bean family, Fabaceae
Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis
Black Locust, Robinia pseudo-acacia

Rue family, Rutaceae
Wafer Ash, Ptelea trifoliata

Cashew family, Anacardiaceae
Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron radicans
Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra

Holly family, Aquifoliaceae
Deciduous Holly, Ilex longipes
American Holly, I. opaca
Possumhaw, I. decidua

Staff-tree family, Celastraceae
Strawberry Bush, Euonymus americanus

Bladdernut family, Staphyleaceae
American Bladdernut, Staphylea trifolia

Maple family, Aceraceae
Box Elder, Acer negundo
Red Maple, A. rubrum
Florida Maple, A. floridanum
Chalk Maple, A. leucoderme

Buckeye family, Hippocastanaceae
Red Buckeye, Aesculus pavia
White Buckeye, A. parviflora

Buckthorn family, Rhamnaceae
Carolina Buckthorn, Rhamnus caroliniana
Rattan Vine, Berchemia scandens

Vine family, Vitaceae
Muscadine, Vitis rotundifolia

Linden family, Tiliaceae
Basswood, Tilia alabamensis

Sour Gum family, Nyssaceae
Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica

Dogwood family, Cornaceae
Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida
Swamp Dogwood, C. amomum

In addition to the native plants in the park (those considered to have been growing in North America before European settlement), a number of  trees, shrubs, vines, and herbs from other areas of the world can be found. These are noted as Exotics, some of which have adapted so well that they are classified as Invasives (noted in the following list by (I)) and should eventually be removed if possible.

Shrubs and Vines
Common Privet, Ligustrum vulgare (I)
Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica (I)
Elaeagnus, Elaeagnus pungens
Crape Myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica
Mahonia, Mahonia bealii
Chinese Holly, Ilex cornuta
Winter Creeper, Euonymus fortunei
Althaea, Hibiscus syriacus
Nandina, Nandina domestica
Aucuba, Aucuba japonica
Deutzia, Deutzia scabra
Tea Plant, Camellia sinensis
Chinese Wisteria, Wisteria sinensis (I)
Sweet Autumn Clematis, Clematis paniculata
Kudzu, Pueraria lobata (I)
English Ivy, Hedera helix (I)

Chinese Parasol Tree, Firmiana simplex (I)
Mimosa, Albizia julibrissin (I)
Yoshino Cherry, Prunus yedoensis
Princess Tree, Paulownia tomentosa
Cherry Laurel, Prunus laurocerasus

Hosta, Hosta caerulea
Monkey Grass, Liriope muscari (I)
Strawberry Begonia, Saxifraga sarmentosa
Vinca or Periwinkle or Myrtle, Vinca minor

Various Grasses


Heath family, Ericaceae

Wild Honeysuckle or Wild Azalea,
Rhododendron canescens
Mountain Laurel, Kalmia latifolia
Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum
Huckleberry, Vaccinium elliottii
Sparkleberry, V. arboreum
Dwarf Huckleberry, V. vacillans

Ebony family, Ebenaceae
Persimmon, Diospyros virginiana

Sweetleaf family, Symplocaceae
Horse Sugar, Symplocos tinctoria

Storax family, Styracaceae
Silverbell, Halesia carolina
Storax, Styrax grandifolia

Olive family, Oleaceae
Green Ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Swamp Privet, Forestiera ligustrina
Fringe-tree, Chionanthus virginicus

Logania family, Loganiaceae
Yellow Jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens

Milkweed family, Asclepiadaceae
Matelea, Matelea carolinensis

Bignonia family, Bignoniaceae
Cross-vine, Bignonia capreolata

Madder Family, Rubiaceae
Common Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis

Elder-Honeysuckle Family, Caprifoliaceae
American Elderberry, Sambucus canadensis
Southern Black Haw, Viburnum rufidulum

Butterflies of Jemison Park

Suggested field guides are Butterflies through Binoculars: The East  by Jeffrey Glassberg; Butterflies of North America  by Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman; A Golden Guide: Butterflies and Moths  by Robert Mitchell, et al.

The following is a list of “true butterflies” and host plants. It does not include skippers.

Butterfly Species, Host Plant
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus
Tulip Poplar, Black Cherrypg30 butterfly1.jpg

Zebra Swallowtail, Eurytides marcellus

Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philinor
Virginia Snakeroot

Spicebush Swallowtail, Papilio troilus

Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes
Queen Ann’s Lace, Dill, Parsley, Fennel

Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes
Rue, Wafer Ashpg29-TigerSwallowtail

Cabbage White, Pieris rapae
Cabbage, Nasturtiums

Falcate Orangetip*, Anthocharis midea
Toothwort, Bittercress

Orange Sulphur, Colias euthythema

Sleepy Orange, Eurema nicippe
Partridge Pea and other Cassias

Little Yellow, Eurema lisa
Partridge Pea and other Cassias

Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae
Partridge Pea and other Cassias

Harvester, Feniseca tarquinius
Wooly Aphids (carnivorous)

Gray Hairstreak, Strymon melinus
Many Legumes

White M Hairstreak, Parrhasius m-album

Banded Hairstreak+, Satyrium calanus
Oaks and Hickories

Striped Hairstreak+, Satyrium liparops

Southern Hairstreak+, Fixenia favonius

Coral Hairstreak+, Satyrium titus
Wild Cherry

Red-banded Hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops
Rotting leaves, often Sumac

Henry’s Elfin*, Callophrys henrici

Eastern Pine Elfin*, Callophrys niphon

Great Purple Hairstreak, Atlides halesus

Juniper Hairstreak, Callophrys gryneus
Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Tailed Blue, Everes comyntas
Many small Legumes

Spring Azure*, Celastrina ladon
Flowering Dogwood

Summer Azure, Celastrina ladon neglecta
Swamp Dogwood, Wingstem

Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae

Variegated Fritillary, Euptoieta claudia
Maypop and Violets

Great Spangled Fritillary, Speyeria cybele

Pearl Crescent, Phycoides tharos

Question Mark, Polygonia interrogationis
Nettles and Hackberry

Eastern Comma, Polygonia comma
Nettles and Elms

Mourning Cloak, Nymphalis antiopa
Willows and Hackberry

Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta

American Lady, Vanessa virginiensis
Pussytoes and other Pearly Everlastings

Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui

Common Buckeye, Junonia coenia
Plantains, Gerardia

Red Spotted Purple, Limenitis
arthemis astyanax

Willows and Black Cherry

Viceroy, Limenitis archippus Willows

Goatweed Leafwing, Anaea andria
Goatweed and other Crotons

Hackberry Emperor, Asterocampa celtis

Tawny Emperor, Asterocampa clyton

American Snout, Libytheana carinenta

Monarch, Danaus plexippus

Little Wood Satyr, Megisto cymela

Carolina Satyr, Hermeuptychia sosybius

Gemmed Satyr, Cyllopsis gemma

Common Wood Nymph, Cercyonis pegala

*Only flies in the spring
+Only flies in early summer

Many butterfly species fly in the park, attracted here because of the rich diversity of nectar sources and caterpillar host plants. Skippers are intermediate between “true butterflies” and moths. There are around three times as many skippers as true butterflies that inhabit North America, with over 30 species in the Southeast. They are small to medium size and all are brown, with some having white or yellow dots or dashes on the wings. Their host plants include grasses, mallows, clover and other legumes.


Wildflowers of Jemison Park

Native wildflowers brighten the park from earliest spring until late in autumn. The Nature Trail along Overbrook Road is especially rich in species. For more about our wildflowers, see Blanche E. Dean, Amy Mason, and Joab L. Thomas, Wildflowers of Alabama and Adjoining States.

Arum family, Araceae
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum

Spiderwort family, Commelinaceae
Dayflower, Commelina erecta
Virginia Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana

Lily family, Liliaceae
Fairy Wand, Chamaelirium luteum
Fly-Poison, Amianthium muscaetoxicum
Whippoorwill Flower or Toad Trillium, Trillium cuneatum
Decumbent Trillium, T. decumbens
Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum biflorum
False Solomon’s Seal, Smilacina racemosa
Trout Lily, Erythronium rostratum
Perfoliate Bellwort, Uvularia perfoliata
False Garlic, Allium bivalve

Dioscoreaceae family, Dioscoreaceae
Wild Yam, Dioscorea glauca

Amaryllis family, Amaryllidaceae
Star Grass, Hypoxis hirsute

Iris family, Iridaceae
Blue-eyed Grass, Sisyrinchium angustifolium
Dwarf Crested Iris, Iris cristata
Dwarf Iris, I. verna

Dutchman’s-Pipe family, Aristolochiaceae
Heartleaf, Wild Ginger, Hexastylis arifolia

Purslane family, Portulacaceae
Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica

Pink family, Caryophyllaceae
Giant Chickweed, Stellaria pubera

Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae
Buttercup, Ranunculus hispidus
Yellowroot, Xanthorhiza simplicissima
Rue Anemone, Thalictrum thalictroides
Wood Anemone, Anemone quinquefolia
Sharp-lobed Hepatica or Liverleaf, Hepatica acutiloba

Barberry family, Berberidaceae
May Apple, Podophyllum peltatum

Poppy family, Papaveraceae
Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis

Mustard family, Brassicaceae
Two-leaved Toothwort, Cardamine diphylla

Saxifrage family, Saxifragaceae
Early Saxifrage, Saxifraga virginiensis
Foamflower, Tiarella wherryi
Alumroot, Heuchera americana

Rose family, Rosaceae
Cinquefoil, Potentilla canadensis
Bowman’s-Root, Gillenia trifoliata

Bean family, Fabaceae
Butterfly Pea, Clitoria mariana

Wood Sorrel family, Oxalidaceae
Wood Sorrel, Oxalis or Sour-Grass, Oxalis violacea
Large Yellow Wood Sorrel, O. grandis

Geranium family, Geraniaceae
Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum

Spurge family, Euphorbiaceae
Flowering Spurge, Euphorbia corollata

Touch-Me-Not family, Balsaminaceae
Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis

St. John’s-Wort family, Hypericaceae
St. Peter’s-Wort, Hypericum stans

Violet family, Violaceae
Common Blue Violet, Viola sororia
Downy Yellow Violet, V. pubescens

Parsley family, Apiaceae
Golden Alexander, Zizia aurea
Water Hemlock, Cicuta maculata

Heath family, Ericaceae
Pipsissewa, Chimaphila maculata

Logania family, Loganiaceae
Indian Pink, Spigelia, Spigelia marilandica

Phlox family, Polemoniaceae
Wild Sweet William, Phlox divaricata

Borage family, Boraginaceae
Wild Comfrey or False Forget-Me-Not, Cynoglossum virginianum

Mint family, Lamiaceae
Skullcap, Scutellaria integrifolia
Lyre-leaved Sage, Salvia lyrata

Snapdragon family, Scrophylariaceae
Smooth Foxglove, Aureolaria laevigata

Broom-Rape family, Orobanchaceae
Beechdrops, Epifagus virginiana

Madder family, Rubiaceae
Partridge-Berry, Mitchella repens
Small Bluets, Houstonia pusilla
Purple Bluets, H. purpurea

Bluebell family, Campanulaceae
Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis
Great Blue Lobelia, L. siphilitica

Sunflower or Composite family, Asteraceae
Daisy Fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus
Common Goldenrod, Solidago altissima
Green Coneflower, Rudbeckia laciniata
Eared Coreopsis, Coreopsis auriculata
Golden Ragwort, Senecio aureus
Hawkweed, Hieracium species

Ferns of Jemison Park

A number of native ferns can be found in the moist and shady recesses of the park. For more about our ferns, see Ferns of Alabama and Fern Allies by Blanche E. Dean.

Rattlesnake Fern, Botrychium virginianum
Common Grapefern, B. dissectum

Cinnamon Fern, Osmunda cinnamomea

Bracken, Pteridium aquilinum

Lady Fern, Athyrium asplenioides
Christmas Fern, Polystichum acrostichoides
Beech Fern, Thelypteris hexagonoptera
New York Fern, T. noveboracensis
Sensitive Fern, Onoclea sensibilis

Ebony Spleenwort, Asplenium platyneuron

Resurrection Fern, Polypodium polypodioides

Fishes of Jemison Park

Many sensitive species are becoming more difficult to find due to the shrinking range of healthy habitat. Alabama has an incredible variety of freshwater fish species. For more information on the fishes found in Shades Creek or elsewhere in Alabama, two excellent references are Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin by M. Mettee, P. O’Neil and M. Pierson;  Fishes of Alabama by H. Boschung, Jr. and R. Mayden.

Scale Stoneroller, Campostoma oligolepis
Blacktail Shiner, Cyprinella venusta
Common Carp, Cyprinus carpio
Striped Shiner, Luxilus chrysocephalus
Pretty Shiner, Lythrurus bellus
Golden Shiner, Notemigonus crysoleucas
Silverstripe Shiner, Notropis stilbius
Fathead Minnow, Pimephales promelas
Bullhead Minnow, P. vigilax
Creek Chub, Semotilus atromaculatus
Alabama Hog Sucker, Hypentelium etowanum
Black Redhorse, Moxostoma duquesnei
Spotted Sucker, Minytrema melanops
Black-tailed Redhorse, Moxostoma poecilurum
Black Bullhead, Tetalunus melas
Brown Bullhead, T. nebulosus
Yellow Bullhead, T. natalis
Blackspotted Topminnow, Fundulus olivaceus
Mosquitofish, Gabusia complex
Green Sunfish, Lepomis cyanellus
Bluegill, L. macrochirus
Longear Sunfish, Lepomis megalotis
Redear Sunfish, L. microlophis
Redeye Bass, Micropterus coosae
Largemouth Bass, M. salmoides
Spotted Bass, M. punctulatus
Blackbanded Darter, Percina nigrofasciata

What Are Those Saucer-Shaped Depressions in the Creek?
During the spring and summer, you may have noticed some saucer-shaped depressions on the bottom of the creek. These are the nests of members of the sunfish family. In Shades Creek, these depressions are usually made by males of the longear sunfish. Using his tail, the brightly colored male fans out the depression in a gravel or sand area. He then awaits the arrival of a female. Following laying and fertilization of the eggs, the male chases her away and proceeds to defiantly guard the nest and eggs from hungry fellow fish for several days. He even defends the nest and young for a while after they hatch. If you look closely at one of these depressions on the bottom of the creek, you may well see the male longear sunfish dutifully guarding his nest.

Dragonflies and Damselflies of Jemison Park

Order Odonata
Although Alabama has fewer than 200 species in order Odonata, this is probably the highest number of any state in the east other than Florida.
The order is unique among insects in having four equal-length “cellophane” wings and quite small antennae in the adults. It is divided
into two suborders: Anisoptera (dragonflies), which hold their wings
outspread, and Zygoptera (damselflies), which usually fold their wings over the back when not in flight. Compiling a list of Odonata species
that occur in Jemison Park is a work not yet accomplished, but there are
family distinctions which are easily observed by the uninitiated, and
watching them in action is something to be enjoyed by all.


Probably the most conspicuous are the ones that make up the dragonfly
family of Skimmers (Libellulidae). They are common, colorful – often with a wing pattern – and aggressive. Fortytwo species of skimmers are known to occur in Alabama. The Green Clearwing is often seen, the male turning blue as it matures. Darners (Aeshnidae) are usually large, with eyes touching dorsally, and almost always perch vertically. Eleven species occur in Alabama. Other families found in our state include 1 species of Petaltails (Petaluridae); 39 species of Clubtails (Gomphidae); 4 species of Spiketails (Cordulegastridae); 5 species of Cruisers (Macromiidae) and 18 species of Emeralds (Corduliidae).


Broad-winged Damsels (Calopterygidae) are large, often brilliant metallic green, many with black in the wing or, in the case of females, a white spot. The five Alabama species breed only in flowing water and fly with a skipping flight. Pond Damsels (Coenagrionidae) are smaller, shorter legged, and often more brightly colored, the males often blue, yellow, or orange and black. They perch horizontally and are found in both still and moving water. There are 38 species in Alabama.

Spreadwings (Lestidae) are large, of dark coloration, and may be seen
perched obliquely, with wings half spread, around still water. Alabama has
8 species.

List of dragonflies and damselflies known or expected to occur in Jefferson County.


Shadow Darner, Aeshna umbrosa
Common Green Darner, Anax junius
Fawn Darner, Boyeria vinosa
Swamp Darner, Epiaeschna heros
Black-shouldered Spinyleg, Dromogomphus spinosus
Blackwater Clubtail, Gomphus dilatatus
Splendid Clubtail, G. lineatifrons
Cobra Clubtail, G. vastus
Lancet Clubtail, G. exilis
Ashy Clubtail, G. lividus
Dragonhunter, Hagenius brevistylus
Common Sanddragon, Progomphus obscurus
Stream Cruiser, Didymops transversa
Illinois River Cruiser, Macromia illinoiensis
Common Baskettail, Epitheca cynosura
Mocha Emerald, Somatochlora linearis
Calico Pennant, Celithemis elisa
Banded Pennant, C. fasciata
Swift Setwing, Dythemis velox
Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis
Blue Corporal, Ladona deplanata
Spangled Skimmer, Libellula cyanea
Twelve-spot Skimmer, L. pulchella
Slaty Skimmer, L. incesta
Widow Skimmer, L. luctuosa
Great Blue Skimmer, L. vibrans
Blue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis
Wandering Glider, Pantala flavescens
Spot-winged Glider, P. hymenaea
Eastern Amberwing, Perithemis tenera
Common Whitetail, Plathemis lydia
Yellow-legged Meadowhawk, Sympetrum vicinum


Ebony Jewelwing, Calopteryx maculata
American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
Southern Spreadwing, Lestes australis
Slender Spreadwing, L. rectangularis
Blue-fronted Dancer, Argia apicalis
Violet Tail, A. violacea
Variable Dancer, A. fumipennis
Powdered Dancer, A. moesta
Blue-ringed Dancer, A. sedula
Blue-tipped Dancer, A. tibialis
Dusky Dancer, A. translata
Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens
Familiar Bluet, E. civile
Stream Bluet, E. exsulans
Orange Bluet, E. signatum
Citrine Forktail, Ischnura hastate
Fragile Forktail, I. posita
Rambur’s Forktail, I. ramburii