Toy Lake State Natural Area
Locality: Within the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, Vilas and Iron Counties. T43N-R4E, Sections 25, 26. T43N-R5E, Sections 19, 29-33. 2,308 acres.
Abstract: Toy Lake Swamp is a large wetland complex of hardwood swamp, white cedar swamp, and alder thicket surrounding a basin containing a shallow, drained lake with dense aquatic and wetland vegetation. The extensive forested wetland includes large stands of medium-sized white cedar while black ash, alder, and mountain maple dominate wetter areas. Upland islands support mesic to wet-mesic forest of large white pine, hemlock, and yellow birch with white spruce, and balsam fir. Occasional super-canopy white pine are also present. The black ash swamp contains an abundance of tall shrubs including mountain holly, highbush cranberry, and winterberry. Characteristic herbs are marsh marigold, jewelweed, two-seeded sedge, rough bedstraw, sensitive fern, marsh blue violet, and wild white violet. Seepage areas are frequent with golden saxifrage, and swamp saxifrage. To the north and east of Toy Lake is a mature white cedar swamp with a diverse flora and fauna. Associates include balsam fir, yellow birch, hemlock, white spruce, and red maple. The ground flora contains yellow bluebead lily, bunchberry, three-leaved goldthread, wood sorrel, boreal bedstraw, bog goldenrod, American starflower, tussock cotton-grass, one-flowered broom-rape, winterberry, and northern blue-flag iris. Bordering the cedar swamp are various aged forest stands containing a boreal-like composition. The canopy is dominated by balsam fir with white spruce, aspen, and paper birch. Understory species include American fly-honeysuckle, huckleberry, sweet cicely, large-leaved aster, gay-wings, wood sorrel, nodding trillium, sharp-lobed hepatica, twinflower, and numerous sedges. Lepidopterans include arctic skipper, bog fritillary, freiga fritillary, and silver-bordered fritillary. Birds using this area are black-throated blue warbler, blackburnian warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, mourning warbler, golden-winged warbler, and broad-winged hawk. Toy Lake Swamp is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.
Notes: The species listed here were collected during the 2019 Wisconsin Botanical Foray sponsored by the Wisconsin State Herbarium and the Botanical Club of Wisconsin.
Total Taxa (details): 81
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Symphyotrichum boreale (Torr. & A. Gray) Á. Löve & D. Löve - Boreal American-Aster
Alnus incana (L.) Moench - Speckled Alder
Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (C. C. Gmel.) Palla - Soft-Stem Wood Club-Rush
Dryopteris carthusiana (Vill.) H. P. Fuchs - Spinulose Wood Fern
Juncus brevicaudatus (Engelm.) Fernald - Narrow-Panicle Rush
Galium labradoricum (Wiegand) Wiegand - Northern Bog Bedstraw