Subdivisions dot the landscape of Orion Township, but one place was missed by development.
The Morgan Porritt Plant Preserve in Oakland County consists of about 7.75 acres of cedar swamp and forested wetland, with areas of upland forest.
The native plants that grow in the preserve include some of the oldest plants in the world in terms of evolution. The preserve’s warm, moist conditions are similar to those present millions of years ago, which supports ancient plant types. Some of the types of liverworts, mosses and ferns were here before the dinosaurs.
Though Morgan Poritt is located in the path of rapidly developing Metropolitan Detroit, there are still many high-quality parcels of natural lands nearby.
The forested wetland and cedar swamps that exist around the preserve benefit the surrounding residents not only as places to visit and a refuge for native plants and animals, but also as important water-filtration and flood control areas.
Despite loggings by settlers in the 19th century, the wetlands remain and the forest cover has regenerated, providing heavy shade to the ground even on a sunny day.
The swamps and wetlands in the township have provided refuge for wildlife and for the many native plants that grow in the moist shady habitat, sheltered by the cedar, yellow birch and other trees that make up the canopy above.