Fall 2008 Minnesota Plant Press

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  • 1. Minnesota Plant Press The Minnesota Native Plant Society NewsletterVolume 27 Number 5 Fall 2008 Monthly meetings Thompson Park Center/Dakota Red Saltwort is found in two new state locations Lodge Thompson County Park 360 Butler Ave. E., by Scott Milburn West St. Paul, MN 55118 Red saltwort, Salicornia rubra, is one of the more unusual plants 651-552-7559 (kitchen) belonging to our flora and is quite the attention-getter to those having Programs botanical interests. It is an annual that is a member of the goosefoot family The Minnesota Native Plant (Chenopodiaceae). Typical of members of this family, the flowers are notSociety meets the first Thursday showy, so as not to distract from the distinctive appearance of this species.in October, November, December, It is a succulent species that is segmented and turns red as the growingFebruary, March, April, May, and season progresses. (See photo on page 3.)June. Check the website for more The species is generally described as found in the Great Plains and havingprogram information. an affinity for saline habitats. Its habitats in Minnesota are described as wet 6 p.m. — Social period saline prairie and mud flat saline subtype communities, usually forming 7 – 9 p.m. — Program, society dense patches. Up until 2007, this species had only been documented inbusiness three western Minnesota counties and was so uncommon that it is listed as Nov. 6: “Relationship threatened.between Native Aquatic Plant I had the opportunity to see this plant last year in southern KittsonCommunities and Water Quality/ County, so I had a good search image for this species in both color andAquatic Life: What Three Rivers growth pattern. While heading up north on Interstate 94 this summer, IPark District Is Doing to Promote ended up in stop-and-go traffic near Rodgers. Trying to keep my mind offNatives and Minimize Exotics,” the subject of traffic, I began to examine the highway median. As trafficby Randy Lehr, senior manager of picked back up, I thought I was seeing patches of Salicornia rubra, alongwater resources, Three Rivers Park with Suaeda calceoliformis.District; Seed exchange. On my next trip up this same route, I ran into traffic again. This time, Dec. 4: “Trees and Shrubs however, I was able to confirm what I had seen earlier and made a collection.of Minnesota,” by Welby Smith, A few weeks later, another unusual occurrence of this species was foundbotanist, MN DNR; Plant-of- off of Interstate 35 in southern St. Louis County by Otto Gockman. This In this issuethe-Month: Gymnocladus dioica was growing in habitat similar to(Kentucky coffee tree). Book sale, the population near Rodgers.signing. These two new populations are Honey bees, plants ...................2 Feb. 5: Speaker and Plant-of- far from previously documented Black spruce tips ......................3the-Month to be announced. populations, so the question is, how President’s column ...................3 did these populations get there? Weaver Bottoms field trip .......4MN NPS website It is likely that the salting of Spurge hawkmoth .................5 For current information about highways is creating the appropriate StreamLab ................................5 Fighting invasives ...................6MN NPS field trips, meetings, and saline habitat required by this Plant Lore: Shinleaf .................7other events, check the website: species. Perhaps we need to look at Membership form ....................7www.mnnps.org the salt source for further answers.
  • 2. Native plants insecticides should not be used in these pollination corridors. MN NPS Boardmay help Spivak and her lab are studying of Directorshoney bees ways to make bees healthy, focusing President: Scott Milburn, on using their natural behaviors. scott.milburn@mnnps.org The population of honey bees “Minnesota Hygenic” bees, bred by the Bee Lab, are one answer. These Vice President: Shirley Mahhas been declining for 20 years. The Kooyman, shirley.mah.kooyman@triple problems of disease, mites and bees detect and remove bees in the egg, larva, and pupa states that are mnnps.orgColony Collapse Disorder helpedcause 35 percent of bee colonies in infected with certain diseases before Secretary: Position openthe United States to die last winter they emerge from the honeycomb Ken Arndt, board member, fieldalone. cells, preventing the diseases from trip chair, ken.arndt@mnnps.org spreading. Minnesota Hygenic bees Research at the University of are now available for beekeepers Peter Dziuk, board member,Minnesota Bee Lab suggests that throughout the United States. peter.dziuk@mnnps.orgnative plants along roadsides could Beth Nixon, board member,help increase bee populations. The researchers are also studying conservation committee chair, beth. propolis, a tree resin collected by nixon@mnnps.org Farmers depend on honey bees bees to seal their hives. Michaelfor crop pollination, but the bees Simone, an entomology graduate Erika Rowe, board member,do not feed on corn or soybeans. student, said that this resin has erika.rowe@mnnps.orgOne solution may be increasing the antimicrobial properties and may Russ Schaffenberg, boardnumber of flowers available for bees prevent diseases in the hives. It is member, russ.schaffenberg@to feed on, Entomology Professor used by humans in Japan, Brazil mnnps.orgMaria Spivak said. and other countries. Board member: open Urban sprawl, large single- A new Bee Lab is being designed. Treasurer: Ron and Cathycrop areas, and golf courses have It is to be used for bee research, Huber, ron.huber@mnnps.orgdecreased these flowers, she said. teaching and outreach. It would be“We need to add more pollination located near the future Bell Museum Linda Huhn, programcorridors — crop borders of of Natural History site, at the coordinator, 612-374-1435flowers, roadsides of flowers, golf corner of Larpenteur and Cleveland Listserv Coordinator: Charlescourses with bee flowers, gardens avenues in St. Paul. Funding has not Umbanhowar, ceumb@stolaf.edufor bees.” She cautioned that been secured, but it is being sought. Field Trips: fieldtrips.mnnps@ mnnps.org Memberships: memberships. Minnesota Native Plant Society’s purpose mnnps@mnnps.org; 651-739-4323 (Abbreviated from the bylaws) Historian-Archives: Roy This organization is exclusively organized and operated for Robison, historian-archives. educational and scientific purposes, including the following. mnnps@mnnps.org 1. Conservation of all native plants. Technical or membership 2. Continuing education of all members in the plant sciences. inquiries: contact.mnnps@mnnps. 3. Education of the public regarding environmental protection of plant org life. Minnesota Plant Press Editor: 4. Encouragement of research and publications on plants native to Gerry Drewry, 651-463-8006; Minnesota. plantpress.mnnps@mnnps.org 5. Study of legislation on Minnesota flora, vegetation, ecosytems. 6. Preservation of special plants, plant communities, and scientific and Reminder: natural areas. Do not take plants from the wild. 7. Cooperation in programs concerned with the ecology of natural It is against the law to take plants from public property. Enjoy resources and scenic features. them where they are. Plants can 8. Fellowship with all persons interested in native plants through be taken from private property meetings, lectures, workshops, and field trips. only with the permission of the property owner.2
  • 3. Red Saltwort President’s column by Scott Milburn With autumn here, a new year of programming has begun. We will continue our efforts to educate and inform Society members. Planning is underway for our monthly programming for the entire year, but I would especially like to point out the upcoming December meeting with lifetime member Welby Smith.  He will be presenting on the topic of his soon- to-be-released book, Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota. We are anticipating selling the book at this meeting, and we hope we get a great turnout.  In terms of board news, the board voted at our last meeting to provide funding for two microscopes for the Bell Museum of Natural History.  These scopes will be housed at the herbarium and will be available for public use. I encourage our members to take advantage of the opportunity.  I would also like to point out that we have new membership coordinators, Cathy and Ron Huber.  They are replacing David Johnson, who has served as the membership coordinator for a number of years.  We thank David for his efforts, and we are happy the Hubers have taken over this important Salicornia rubra (Red saltwort). task.  See article on page 1. Photo by Scott Milburn. There are other changes currently underway as well.  Daniel Jones and Sean Jergens are stepping down from the board after each serving over threeBlack spruce: years.  The board will be electing replacements to serve out the duration ofa crop or a their terms, and we thank the two of them for their time and efforts.   In other news, everyone must be taken aback by recent economickey ecological developments.  We don’t have a good grasp on how the markets will fare, with much to worry about in a declining economy.  A great concern ofcomponent? mine is that at a time like this, our natural resources take a back seat, as everyone has to do more with less.  However, we do have an opportunityby Elizabeth Nixon, MN NPS to do something with the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballotConservation Committee chair  this year in Minnesota.  The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment Popular components of winterdecorations are the growing tips will appear on the ballot.  Theof black spruce trees.  They are An organization by the name amendment seeks to providefrequently wreathed in tiny white of SmartWood (a program of the dedicated funding to, in part, protectlights and can be found in numerous Rainforest Alliance) performs our natural resources.  I encouragepublic places and private homes. certification audits on forestry sites our members to further examine harvested for black spruce tips.  this amendment by visiting www. Yes, I admit to the cuteness of thisdécor, but I am reluctant to use this The DNR reported on the yesformn.org for more details.horticultural product.  I would rather industry in 2003, saying that harvest is from low productivity stands on There are other actions folks canimagine black spruce growing in a public lands, on wet sites when the take to support natural resources. native peat bog than being managedas a crop, and, as I see it, every acre ground is unfrozen, and that demand We, as an organization, need toof cut spruce tips is an acre that is highly cyclical. encourage non-members to explorecould be left in a natural state.    Please consider your winter Minnesota, anything from learning  The State of Minnesota licenses decorations needs carefully and the native flora in their own town tothe cutting of black spruce tips.  consider to what extent black spruce understanding the uniqueness of theBachman’s says so right up front on tips should be part of them.  Visit Minnesota landscape.  I hope that inits website. Some lawn care services the DNR website to learn more, and future years, our group as a wholeadvertise black spruce tips but make your own conclusions about can foster such exploring, but for themake no mention of the licensing the sustainability of the harvest and time being, I ask you to share yourrequirements.  the tradeoffs that are made. interests with those around you. 3
  • 4. Canoeing in Weaver Bottomsby Ken Arndt (Nelumbo lutea) that we could see On a warm Saturday, Aug. 2, the were in full bloom.MN NPS held a field trip to Weaver Off in the distance to the east,Bottoms in southeastern Minnesota. looking toward Wisconsin, youIt was led by St. Paul District Corps could see a horizon of creamy yellowof Engineers Senior Ecologist Steve flowers held above giant round,Eggers. Several years ago, Steve led green leaves. It felt like we werea similar trip to the bottoms for the in a tropical setting with the heat,Society, and he wanted to take us humidity and the lush vegetationback down there again. all around us. As we got closer to This was to be a hot day in the the lotuses, we soon realized justlow to mid 90s with humidity, so how many there were, as they nowbeing closer to the water seemed completely surrounded us.to be a good remedy for beating Throughout the day Steve wouldthe heat. Several determined field gather us all together and show ustrip participants decided to venture the many interesting emergent,south to the heart of the bluff lands Steve Eggers discusses an aquatic submergent, and floating aquaticof Minnesota to take in the many plant before participants start vegetation, and tell us about thespectacular features of the area. canoeing. management that has taken place Everyone met that morning at the here over the years.USFWS boat landing off of Highway these plants ahead of time, so when Apparently in 2005 and briefly61 just north of the town of Weaver. we got out in the bottoms we were in 2006, the Corps of Engineers,Once we unloaded our canoes and already familiar with much of what MN DNR, and several othergear for the day, Steve had us gather was under and around us. agencies worked together to allowaround a picnic table to go over many From the boat landing, we the bottoms to be drawn down inof the plants we would be seeing in maneuvered out into the bottom an effort to improve the habitatthe bottoms. It was good to review toward the sea of American lotuses for plants, fish and other wildlife. Nearly 1,000 acres of mudflats were exposed, which allowed many different aquatic plants to establish. After having lunch in our canoes where the Zumbro River flows into the bottoms, we made our way back through the lotuses for one last round before coming out of the water for the day. Since we were in our canoes the whole time, several of us were happy to be back on land to stretch once again. I think I can speak for everyone that day in that we all enjoyed the amazing sights of the many thousands of American lotuses in American lotuses (Nelumbo lutea) blooming in Weaver Bottoms. A bloom with 400-foot-tall bluffs as canoe with a field-trip participant is at upper left. Photos by Ken their backdrop. Thanks, Steve, for Arndt. taking us back to Weaver Bottoms.4
  • 5. Can spurge hawkmoth help Roles of streams and vegetation arecontrol invasive leafy spurge? focus of StreamLabby Ron Huber In August 2005, MN NPS member Dianne Plunkett Latham How do rivers and vegetationphotographed a colorful larva on invasive leafy spurge in Bredesen Park, affect each other? That questionEdina. It proved to be a spurge hawkmoth. The following month, similar is being studied at the Universitylarvae were photographed in Minneapolis on leafy spurge along I-35W at of Minnesota’s new OutdoorStinson Blvd. They are black with red and white dots and a bright red stripe StreamLab. The lab, which is locatedalong the back. at 2 Third Ave. S.E., Minneapolis, Additional Minnesota records are summarized here. John Luhman at opened in mid-September..the Department of Agriculture confirms records for Ottertail County and Researchers have divertedScott County, and Robert Dana of the Department of Natural Resources Mississippi River water to createhas added observations from Clay County. On July 1, 2008, John Lundeen a meandering stream on a grassybrought a final instar larva to his sister, Cathy Huber. He found the larva riverbank. The new brook isbehind the building where he works in Eden Prairie. The larva seemed open to both the elements and torestless, so it was put in a jar with fresh dirt, and the larva pupated a day or experimental control.two later. It emerged as a fresh adult on July 25. Topics studied will include the R. W. Hodges reported in 1971 that the spurge hawkmoth, Hyles ecological roles of streams, floodeuphorbiae, had been introduced from Europe in an attempt to control leafyspurge and other range euphorbs in western Canada. The latest publication control, and stream restoration.by J. P. Tuttle, in 2007, gives an excellent summary of the recent and brief One project underway examineshistory of this hawkmoth in the U.S. and Canada, as follows: how vegetation affects the flow of streams and the retention of flood “ In the mid-1960s, this hawkmoth was released at numerous Canadiansites from Ontario westward. All of the early releases were unsuccessful water.in establishing the moth. Finally, in 1967, a release in Ontario took hold. “Understanding how rivers workSubsequent generations from that can help us make smart decisionssite were used in future Canadian about how and where and whetherreleases, plus an introduction at to develop,” said Anne Lightbody,Chestertown, New York. By 1983, a research associate at St. Anthonythe Ontario site had an estimated Falls Laboratory and manager of thelarval population in excess of one Outdoor StreamLab.million. These larvae had thrived She cites a problem at Uvason cypress spurge, Euphorbia Creek, Calif. “They tried to turncyparissias, but they failed when it from a braided stream to aintroduced on leafy spurge, E. esula,in Montana in 1966. meandering one. The next spring, it flooded and reverted. People didn’t “Then, larvae from Hungary take ‘what the river wanted to do’were introduced in Montana in 1974 into account.”and began to take hold. Thirty years Another project is to studylater, the larvae were estimated to be how vegetation affects the flow ofin the millions and had spread out in Special thanks go to Diannea 15-mile radius from the original streams and the retention of flood Plunkett Latham for submittingrelease. Amazingly, however, the water. the wonderful larval photo forspurge continues to thrive!” identification, and to John Luhman Trout streams are an example of and Robert Dana for sharing their the need to understand ecological While the ability of the hawkmoth relationships. “Trout streams mustto control leafy spurge remains to be records.demonstrated, maybe it will offer a The adult photo was taken by be cold,” she said. “If trees along“one-two punch” in conjunction Bruce Erickson, Fitzpatrick chair of the banks are cut, there goes thewith the introduced flea beetle, palaeontology, Science Museum of shade, and the water starts to warmAphthona lacertosa. Minnesota. up.” 5
  • 6. Not in my backyard, local ordinances, state legislation, and seek partnerships to benefit youror yours either! own backyard, your community, and your state. Engage your neighborhood in aby Bonnie Harper-Lore, restoration ecologist, Federal Highway buckthorn clearing effort or otherAdministration. This is an abstract of her talk at the Oct. 2, 2008 MN NPS partnership. Educate homeownersmeeting. with booklets like Why Should I After our Purple Loosestrife Task Force shepherded a bill through the Care about Invasive Plants? (fromMinnesota Legislature in the mid ‘80s, I felt like we had stopped invasive MIPN.org) Inspire children to actplants in their tracks. like the kids from Bailey Elementary in 1998 who raised and released My new job in Washington put me at the table with federal agencies, purple loosestrife beetles.ready to unite to do something similar on a national level. In 1994, 16agencies signed a memo of understanding of cooperation on the issue of And most importantly, take careinvasive plants. By 1999, we wrote an executive order (EO13112) on of your own backyard. Removeinvasives that called for a national plan and coordinated action. invasive plants and report new intruders. More invasive plants, So imagine my surprise when I discovered garlic mustard in my own animals, insects and diseases arebackyard a few years ago. Not only had all our efforts not stopped the headed our way. It is predictedspread of invasive plants nationally, we had not been effective locally. that climate change will increaseWhy should you care? invasive species. Together, we can The reasons are many. Begin with the fact that next to loss of habitat, protect not only our own backyards,the invasiveness of nonnative plants is the second biggest reason for plant but Minnesota as well.by invasives. These invasions have ecological and economical impacts. Annual seedextinction in the nation. Every day some 4,600 new acres are impactedSome $123 billion dollars are lost annually to invasive control, crop exchange to beecological costs of monocultures, habitat loss, wetland function, etc. are held in Novemberlosses, forage decline, ranch failures and more (Pimental, et al, 2004). Theless easy to quantify. We cannot afford either kind of loss. The annual native plant seed exchange will be held following theWhat can we do? program at the Nov. 6 meeting. An invasive species is defined as an alien species whose introduction does Seeds should be gathered fromor is likely to cause economic harm or harm to human health. (EO13112). your yard or property. Pack theEach state has a different noxious weed law and weed list. Very few weeds seeds in small envelopes, readylisted in the United States are native. for distribution. Do not bring bulk Most fit the definition of invasive species. Of course, not planting them seeds. Mark each envelope with thein the first place is essential. The planting of kudzu in the 1930s by the plant’s name (common and scientificU.S. Department of Agriculture demonstrates what mistakes can be made, if possible), habitat, including theif we do not examine the consequences of quick solutions. Kudzu is found county where it was harvested, andthroughout the eastern states and is moving northward. your name. Like all plants, it has the ability to continue to adapt. It is now found Bring your seeds to the front roomin Northern Illinois. The key reason it is not being controlled in southern of the lodge before the meeting. Dave Crawford is again in charge ofstates is the prohibitive cost of controlling millions of infested acres. Our the seed exchange. He and severalonly hope is to contain it and stop it on sight! volunteers will arrange the seeds,What else can Minnesotans do? making it easy to select some you Vigilance will be essential. Be the first in your neighborhood to spot would like to grow.new invaders, including ailanthus, star thistle, common teasel, Scotch When the exchange begins, thosethistle, hydrilla, yellow flag iris, or kudzu. Report the invasion to the persons who brought seeds willDepartment of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources, both have the first opportunity to chooseof which have responsibility. Native Plant Society members can volunteer some to take home. A few minutesto educate city and county managers and crews about weeds. Schools, later, the exchange will be open toneighborhoods, and developers would benefit from your help. Review everyone.6
  • 7. Plant Loreby Thor Kommedahl curving pistils; are insect pollinated; and appear summer into fall. Does it have medicinal orWhat is shinleaf? poisonous properties? Shinleaf is Pyrola elliptica in The analgesic properties of leavesthe shinleaf family (Pyrolaceae), account for its use as treatment forbut recent research places Pyrola in bruises and sores. The Americanthe wintergreen family (Ericaceae). Indians gargled leaf tea for soreSix species of Pyrola are native to throats and canker sores. RootMinnesota, but P. elliptica is most tea was a tonic. Leaves containcommon. about eight flavonoids (known forHow did it get its names? antioxident activity). It is neither Pyrola means like a pear leaf, and edible nor poisonouselliptica refers to the leaf shape. It Has it any economic oris called shinleaf because the leaves horticultural uses?were used as a plaster applied to No. Although sometimesbruised shins and other sores and transplanted to wild gardens, plantswounds. Pyrola elliptica, photo by Peter Dziuk. do not thrive in the usual gardenWhere do these plants grow? soil. leaves that persist through winter. In Minnesota, shinleaf is mostabundant east of the Mississippi Plants are 5-10 inch-tall perennials CO2 level affects weeds with scaly rhizomes. Leaves are thin Climate change is strengtheningRiver, in damp, rich woods, often and not shiny, and the leaf blade is weeds, including kudzu. Readunder conifers. longer than its petiole. Nodding, Chapter 2.3.2 of the federal SAPWhat does the plant look like? fragrant, white to greenish flowers agricultural report 4.3 at www. All Pyrola species have only basal are borne on racemes; have long, climatescience.gov/Library Minnesota Native Plant Society Member RegistrationName __________________________________________________________________________________Address ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________City __________________________________________________ State ___________ Zip ____________Phone (work) __________________ (home) ___________________ E-mail newsletter? Yes___ No____E-mail __________________________________________________________________________________Membership category (New ______ Renewal _______)$15 Individual$15 Family (2 or more people at same address) $8 Student (full time) $8 Senior (over 62 or retired)$20 InstitutionThe membership year starts Jan. 1. Please fill in this form and circle the appropriate membership category. Makeyour check payable to the Minnesota Native Plant Society. Bring the completed form and your check to the nextmeeting, or mail them to the Minnesota Native Plant Society, P.O. Box 20401, Bloomington, MN 55420. 7
  • 8. Minnesota Native Plant SocietyP.O. Box 20401Bloomington, MN 55420Fall 2008 Directions: Take MN Hwy. 52 to the Butler Ave. E. exit in West St. Paul. Go west on Butler 0.2 miles to Stassen Lane. Go south on Stassen Lane to Thompson County Park.