Winter 2012 Minnesota Plant Press

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  • 1. Minnesota Plant Press The Minnesota Native Plant Society Newsletter www.mnnps.orgVolume 31 Number 1 Winter 2012 Monthly meetings La Salle Lake SRA has a Thompson Park Center/Dakota Lodge Thompson County Park 360 Butler Ave. E., landscape to experience by Erika Rowe, Minnesota County Biology Survey plant ecologist, DNR West St. Paul, MN 55118 and former MNNPS board member. Programs As a plant ecologist with the DNR’s Minnesota County Biological Survey, I have hiked many miles and seen a variety of landscapes in northwestern The Minnesota Native Plant Society meets the first Thursday Minnesota. Yet the landscape surrounding La Salle Lake and Creek, just in October, November, December, north of Itasca State Park in Hubbard County, immediately stood out as February, March, April, May, and unique. It felt remote and wild, with steep, rugged slopes with red pine and June. Check at www.mnnps.org balsam fir, rocky ravines with streams bordered by white pine and sugar for more program information. maple, and old-growth cedar seepage swamps. Above the valley, on the 6 p.m. — Social period flatter terrain, expansive oak, aspen and maple forests frame this stunning 7 – 9 p.m. — Program, Society lake and valley. business Fortunately, now others can explore this landscape as well. On Oct. Feb. 2: “Using Plants to Assess 27, 2011, the State of Minnesota purchased approximately 1,000 acresWetland Quality in Minnesota – surrounding La Salle Lake, establishing Minnesota’s newest statethe Next Generation,” by Michael recreation area (SRA). The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment ActBourdaghs, research scientist for — specifically the Outdoor Heritage Fund — provided much of the fundsthe PCA. Plant-of-the-Month: to acquire this property. In addition, an area adjacent to the SRA, north ofTussock sedge (Carex stricta). Hubbard Co. Rd. 9, has been established as a Scientific and Natural Area March 1: “Natural History (SNA).of Maple Syrup Production,” by La Salle Lake, the highlight of this extraordinary landscape, is a largeDr. Stephen G. Saupe, professor, (224 acres) lake that is one of the deepest (213 feet) in Minnesota. It hasBiology Department, College of St. 18,600 feet of shoreline, and much of its input is spring-fed. It is remarkablyBenedict and St. John’s University. wild and scenic, having never been developed, aside from the very northernPlant-of-the-Month: Black maple edge where a resort caretaker’s home sits along with a few cabins and(Acer nigrum), also by Dr. Saupe. buildings — remnants of the previous owners. March 24: Symposium on Several different native plant communities exist in the La Salle LakePlants of Minnesota. See page 2. area, and because of the significant In this issue April 5: Stalking rare native elevation change throughout theplants,” by Malcolm and Rosemary area and the myriad slope aspects,MacFarlane, volunteers, DNR the vegetation of the area is March 24 symposium...............2County Biological Survery. Plant- complex. These natural communities Society news ...........................2of-the-Month: Least moonwort support a number of rare species La Salle Lake, photos ................3(Botrychium tenebrosum). including ram’s-head lady Pagami Creek fire ..................4 May 3: “Wild Orchids of slipper (Cypripedium arietinum), New board member...................5Minnesota,” by Welby Smith, northern oak fern (Gymnocarpium Our 30th anniversary................5botanist, Minnesota DNR. Plant-of- robertianum), hair-like sedge Do we love our lakes? ..............6the-Month: Case’s ladies’-tresses (Carex capillaris), trumpeter swans Donation to refuge, easements..6(Spiranthes casei). Continued on page 3 Plant Lore: Anemone patens ...7
  • 2. March 24 symposium MNNPS Board of Directorswill feature plantsby Scott Milburn, MNNPS president. President: Scott Milburn, scott. milburn@mnnps.org Our approach to the MNNPS Symposium this year differs from that ofrecent years. We have been focused on regions and landforms, but this is Vice President: Shirley Maha special year — the Society is marking 30 years as an organization. With Kooyman, shirley.mah.kooyman@that in mind, the most suitable topic is plants. mnnps.org We have been lining up speakers, and things are moving forward. In Secretary, program coordinator:addition, we are the benefactors of an anonymous donation of $5,000. Andrés Morantes, andres.Rather than donating this money to other organizations, as we have been morantes@mnnps.orgdoing over the past few years, we decided that the best use is for the Treasurers, membership data base:Society itself. I am pleased to say that this allows us to bring two prominent Ron and Cathy Huber, ron.huber@botanists from outside of Minnesota to our symposium. mnnps.org The first is Dr. Don Farrar of Iowa State University, who is well Ken Arndt: board member, fieldknown for his research of moonworts. The second is Dr. Tony Reznicek, trip chair, ken.arndt@mnnps.orgof the University of Michigan. Dr. Reznicek may be best known for hisauthorship of the sedge component of the Flora of North America series. Michael Bourdaghs: board member,He has also been hard at work updating the Michigan Flora into a one- michael.bourdaghs@mnnps.orgvolume publication. The symposium should be a very exciting day. Stay Otto Gockman: board member,tuned for further details. otto.gockman@mnnps.org The symposium will be held Treasurers’ report Treasurers Ron and Cathy Huber Elizabeth Heck: board member,March 24 and will be at the Bell report that the Minnesota Native webmaster, elizabeth.heck@mnnps.Museum of Natural History on the orgUniversity of Minnesota campus. Plant Society’s 2011 income totalledThe cost will be $42 for members $17,796. This included $5,384 in Daniel Jones: board member,and $30 for full-time students. I am donations. Expenses totalled $9,515, daniel.jones@mnnps.orgnot sure about the times yet, but for a net income of $8,280. Peter Jordan: board member, peter.they will be in the brochures. These Assets of $25,388 include $8,939 jordan@mnnps.orgwill be mailed in the beginning of in four CDs and $16,393 in theFebruary. checking account. Mike Lynch: board member, mike. lynch@mnnps.org Stephen G. Saupe: board member, Minnesota Native Plant Society’s purpose stephen.saupe@mnnps.org (Abbreviated from the bylaws) Field Trips: fieldtrips.mnnps@ This organization is exclusively organized and operated for mnnps.org educational and scientific purposes, including the following. 1. Conservation of all native plants. Memberships: memberships. mnnps@mnnps.org 2. Continuing education of all members in the plant sciences. 3. Education of the public regarding environmental protection of plant Historian-Archives: Roy Robison, life. historian-archives.mnnps@mnnps. 4. Encouragement of research and publications on plants native to org Minnesota. Technical or membership 5. Study of legislation on Minnesota flora, vegetation, ecosytems. inquiries: contact.mnnps@mnnps. 6. Preservation of native plants, plant communities, and scientific and org natural areas. Minnesota Plant Press editor: 7. Cooperation in programs concerned with the ecology of natural Gerry Drewry, 651-463-8006; resources and scenic features. plantpress.mnnps@mnnps.org 8. Fellowship with all persons interested in native plants through meetings, lectures, workshops, and field trips. Questions? Go to our website: www.mnnps.org2
  • 3. La Salle Lake SRA woodland warblers. This extraordinary landscape near the east arm of Lake Itasca, meanders north 11 miles along aContinued from page 1 narrow valley floor through wet doesn’t stop at the SRA’s southern(Cygnus buccinator) and two caddis boundary, however. The entire meadows, shrub swamps andfly species (Oxyethira itascae and O. landscape I outlined for the lowland seepage forests.ecornuta). The area’s abundant and biological survey, a mix of public Four lakes of varying size anddiverse habitats are also rich with and private ownership, is a 3,200- depth occur along the creek’scommon plants, including 12 species acre corridor stretching from the route. The creek eventually joinsof orchids; animals including river confluence of the Mississippi River the Mississippi River just north ofotter, gray wolf, fisher, bald eagle, and La Salle Creek to Itasca State La Salle Lake, within the newlyosprey, loons; and many species of Park. La Salle Creek, originating acquired SNA. This narrow valley is noteworthy, as it has been identified as a tunnel valley formed during the Quaternary Period and is present at the juncture of two distinct areas of glacial deposits, the Itasca Moraine and the Guthrie Till Plain. Besides the extraordinary natural resources of the La Salle Lake area, named after the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, it is rich in cultural resources as well. A Native American prehistoric site was discovered in the early 1990s adjacent to La Salle Creek in what is now the new SNA. Ceramic shards recovered from the site have been dated about 3,180 years old, one of the earliest known dates for an Elk Lake Culture occupation in Minnesota. The DNR has initiated the La Salle Creek winds south the new SRA. process to create a master plan to guide development, management of natural and cultural resources, tourism, and recreation for La Salle Lake SRA for the next 15 to 20 years. I encourage those who are interested in providing input on the project to go to: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_ parks/la_salle_lake and click on the “Get Involved!” hotlink. La Salle Lake State Recreation Area is now open to the public, but recreational opportunities are limited to day use. Wild Ones conference Wild Ones 2012 “Design With Nature” conference will be Saturday, Feb. 25, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Ave., Plymouth, MN, 55447. More La Salle Lake, is the highlight of the new State Recreation Area. Both information is available at www. photos by Erika Rowe. designwithnatureconference.org/ 3
  • 4. a warming climate remains to bePagami Creek fire shows seen. Fires kill trees by: (1) total crownhow tree mortality from scorch and char of the entire above ground portion of the tree in crownfire varies with and director, The University ofby Lee Frelich, Ph.D., research associate species fires (like most of the Pagami Creek fire); (2) by scorching the roots in places with very shallow or dried-Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology. This is a summary of his talk at the out organic soils; (3) by girdlingDec. 1, 2011 Minnesota Native Plant Society meeting. the base of the trunk by scorching On Aug. 18, 2011, the Pagami cambium under the bark (Note that forests were part of the controversial scorch means exposure to heat thatCreek fire was ignited by lightning “Portal Zone” in the south centralin The Boundary Waters Canoe kills live tissue while char means BWCAW, which had active logging death and blackening of tissue byArea Wilderness, about 14 miles within the wilderness during theeast of Ely. The fire was allowed direct contact with flames.); and (4) middle of the 20th century. scorching the foliage of conifersto burn because it met the ForestService criteria for WFU (Wildland Perhaps this fire will help push through convection and radiantFire Use.) Under this policy, fires in this second-growth forest towards heat rising through the canopy fromcertain locations and under certain more natural conditions. It was a intense surface fires. (Deciduousconditions are not suppressed, to very severe fire during late summer trees can be crown-scorched buthelp restore the natural role of fire and early fall, a common pattern usually survive loss of foliage.)in wilderness areas. for historical fires in the BWCAW, Jack pine is susceptible to intense so that it fits right in with the fire crown fires, sacrificing adults and As the fire smoldered and burned occurrences of the 18th and 19th surviving as seeds from serotinouslittle forest for more than three centuries. cones.weeks, a drought developed, and onSept. 12, dry conditions combined The unusual time period in the In contrast, red and white pinewith high winds caused the fire to history of the BWCAW was the do not have several years’ seedblow up. It grew rapidly to about 20th century, which had less fire due production stored up in the canopy93,000 acres in size over the next two to climate change, fragmentation waiting for a fire. Instead, they growdays. The smoke was noticeable in of the landscape surrounding the in areas that are more likely to haveChicago, and the plume was traced wilderness, and fire suppression. surface fires, have well insulatedthrough Poland and eventually to With the three large fires of the trunks with thick bark, and hold theirChina. last decade, the fire regime of the foliage high above scorching heat, BWCAW has reawakened. Whether thereby surviving fires as adults that At 145 square miles, this was this heralds a return to the old can live for centuries and continuelarger than the 112-square-mile Ham regime, or a much more frequent to reseed the area.Lake Fire of 2007, and the largest fire regime that we expect with The duration of radiant heatfire in the BWCAW since 1875.However, it was small comparedto the largest fires in the 400-yearhistory of fire reconstruction in theBWCAW. Five fires were larger,including fires of 275, 257 and 434square miles in 1875, 1755 and 1865,respectively, as documented byBud Heinselman in his 1996 book,The Boundary Waters WildernessEcosystem. The fire burned some old,unlogged forests of red, white andjack pine, but mostly it burnedsecond-growth birch and aspenforests with substantial amounts of Aerial view of Pagami Creek fire, showing smoke plume crossingspruce, fir and pine mixed in. These Lake Superior. Photo courtesy of NASA.4
  • 5. around the base of the trunk is keyfor tree survival. Trees with bark John’s University. I teach a variety of classes, including introductory MNNPS is 301, 2, and 3 cm thick can survive biology (for majors and non-majors), by Scott Milburn, presidentheat for three, 12 and 26 minutes, plant systematics, plants and human This year marks the 30threspectively. (Old red and white affairs, and plant physiology. I’ve anniversary of the Minnesota Nativepines usually have bark 3 cm also taught plant systematics at Plant Society. The idea was firstthick.) the University of Minnesota Lake formulated by Peg Kohring, Emily Itasca Biological Station. I’ve Nietering, Heidi Van’t Hof, Jan Heat can last much longer on the Grew, and Chris Soutter. That firstleeward side of a tree trunk from completed numerous floristic studies in Minnesota, including board consisted of six members,an approaching fire, so that trees with Peg serving as the first presidentare often fire-scarred on that side. field work to help establish a local nature preserve, served as the chief and Welby Smith as vice president.Under typical conditions, surface In 1982, the individual membershipfires with flame lengths of one, five, botanist for a local BioBlitz, and have even helped with a few DNR fee was $7. The current individualand 10 feet, can scorch foliage two, fee, $15, is slightly cheaper, when23 and 63 feet above the ground. grassland surveys. My current research is focused on the airborne inflation is considered.Red and white pines with less than50 percent of their foliage scorched pollen and mold spores that occur Much has changed during thisusually survive, but mortality rates in Central Minnesota, as well as the time, yet much has remained thego up dramatically as the percent ecophysiology of plants and fungi. same. The mission of the Society isscorched rises above 50 percent. I am currently the curator of as important as ever, particularly for the CSB/SJU Bailey Herbarium, Like most fires over the last four the conservation of native plants.centuries, The Pagami Creek fire which just celebrated accessioning During these 30 years, we havekilled or severely burned most of our 30,000th specimen. I also seen the formation of the Minnesotathe landscape, killing the jack pine,serve as the director of our County Biological Survey, thespruce, and above-ground trunks of Melancon Greenhouse, the chair development and modificationsbirch and aspen, but also had small of the St. John’s Arboretum of the official state rare speciesinclusions of less intense fire alongCouncil, and I recently completed list, and the passing of the Legacylakeshores, cliffs and swamps, a term as a member of Minnesota Amendment. This amendment waswhere mature pines will survive. DNR Commissioner’s Advisory extremely important, given the Committee to the SNA program. AsSteve Saupe you will learn at the March meeting, political opposition by various anti- tax groups. These three items will I have been involved with makingis new MNNPS maple syrup at St. John’s for more have a lasting influence in the next 30-year period. than a decade. I even teach a courseboard member on maple syrup production at St. Of concern today is the Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) portion ofby Stephen G. Saupe John’s/St. Ben’s and serve as the Ever since reading Euell newsletter editor for the Minnesota the Legacy Amendment. There isGibbon’s books when I was in high Maple Syrup Producers. supposed to be a common visionschool, I have been a self-professed shared by those on the OHF In my spare time, I am the clerk council, which is responsible for“plant wienie.” After learning that of Avon Township and have aso many wild plants were edible, I small hobby farm where my wife appropriating the funds generated bybecame fascinated by what made Linda and I raise sheep, hazelnuts, the new sales tax. Perhaps this initialother plants and fungi poisonous and blueberries and other assorted fruits vision is too grandiose, consideringdecided to conduct graduate studies and veggies. Although I’ve been a the anticipated revenue stream.in phytochemistry. I received my member of the MNPS for as long as It is time to reassess the goalsPh.D. in botany from the University I remember, I’m sorry to say that I and vision at this early stage andof Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), haven’t been able to attend too many determine what is realistic. We needwhere the main focus of my research meetings. I hope to change that and the best and brightest involved —was cyanogenesis, the production of look forward to meeting you in the individuals who think beyond theirhydrogen cyanide, by fungi, bacteria coming months and years. own lifetimes, rather than thoseand plants. more concerned with pressure Following my graduate studies, Field trips planned mounted by special-interest groups.I accepted a faculty position in the For information on upcoming The question should be: Are wejoint biology department of the field trips, go to the website: www. truly leaving a legacy for futureCollege of St. Benedict and St. mnnps.org generations? 5
  • 6. Do we love our lakes?by Darby Nelson. He earned his Ph.D. in aquatic ecology from the lakes face? And what can we do about them? The EPA National LakeUniversity of Minnesota and taught biology and environmental science Assessment identifies majorat Anoka-Ramsey Community College for 35 years. Dr. Nelson served stressors: lake shore habitat loss,three terms in the Minnesota Legislature, is the former board president of loss of physical habitat complexity,Conservation Minnesota, and also served two years on the Lessard-Sams excess nitrogen and especiallyOutdoor Heritage Council. This article is an excerpt from his talk at the phosphorus, lake shore disturbanceNov. 3, 2011 MNNPS meeting. including sedimentation, aquatic We say we love our lakes, and of a group called ‘pondweeds.’ invasive species, non-point pollutionthe crowded shores and the crush in general, among others. The Lake ‘Weed.’ What an unfortunate and Volney story shows we can make ato buy lakeshore at astronomical misleading name for these plants.prices suggest we speak truth. Yet difference for lakes. Language matters. Before beingour lakes deteriorate, and much of seen, before revealing anythingthe deterioration results from ourown actions. What gives? about their lives and relationships, Is a buckthorn they stand condemned. Useless. The Environmental Protection Nuisance. Undesirable. ‘Pondweed’ disease here?Agency’s National Lake Assessment is … the name of a large and grand During research to identifydiscovered that 45 percent of our family of aquatic plants known more biocontrol insects for buckthorn, anation’s lakes and 80 percent of technically as the Potamogetons phytoplasma disease was detectedurban lakes do not meet water (from Greek: Potamos, river and in potential biocontrol insectsquality standards. geiton, neighbor). How different and Rhamnus species in Europe. Normally, we protect what we our perception of these plants might Reseachers need to know if this“love.” My puzzlement over this be had we retained the Greek root phytoplasma is already present inparadox finally bubbled over. I and called it ‘pond neighbor.’ What North America.undertook a journey of exploration power the namers-of-things can Roger Becker, Ph.D., Extensionto investigate this, a journey that have over attitudes.” agronomist and weed scientist,led to the writing of my book, For Perceptions determine behavior. Department of Agronomy andLove of Lakes. The journey takes Do we perceive lakes differently Plant Genetics, University ofus to large lakes and small, from than terrestrial systems? The Minnesota, is leading the search forMinnesota to Canada, Illinois, New contrast between the two is stark. the disease on common/EuropeanEngland, and ultimately, Walden Expose beginning ecology students buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) inPond. Thoreau’s ghost peaked over to a woods and, in a matter of a Minnesota.my shoulder throughout. few hours, they typically come to understand the basic ecological Symptoms of the disease include My bio as an academic, not witches’ brooms, red or yellowsurprisingly, led me to expect that dynamics of the place — because they can see it. Take them to the leaves, and deformed or crinkledmaybe people simply lack adequate leaves. If you spot a buckthorn withunderstanding of lake ecology. shore of a lake and they typically see shore vegetation, often shore these symptoms, contact Dr. BeckerMaybe essayist Scott Russell at becke003@umn.eduSanders, has it right: “We protect birds. They also see the lake’swhat we love and we love what we surface. But they are unable tounderstand.” see the remaining 99 percent of the Gift expands refuge, So, let’s take a highly selected lake. We are visual creatures. Our perceptions of lakes are grossly will fund easementspeek at lake natural history and at The Nature Conservancy has inadequate to produce accurate lakesome of the less familiar aquatic life given 95 acres of land in Burnsville understandings.forms: plankton, micro-crustaceans, to the U.S. Fish and Wildlifeaquatic insects, and freshwater Surely, lack of understanding Service. This land will be addedsponges. It was during snorkeling of lake ecology contributes to the to the Minnesota Valley Nationalexperiences that I discovered Eden, paradox. But it soon became clear Wildlife Refuge. The gift is valuedthe aquatic plants. that to understand the lake-human at $515,000. An excerpt from the “Discovering paradox required a peek into A credit of that amount will beEden” chapter addressing human nature. My discoveries are used by the USFWS to purchasepondweeds: “I now enter a gathering surprising. easements for prairie and wetlandsof skinny stemmed aquatic plants So what are the problems our in South Dakota.6
  • 7. Plant Loreby Thor Kommedahl Prairie Enthusiasts plan conferenceWhat is pasque flower? The Prairie Enthusiasts’ annual Pasque flower is Anemone patens conference, “The Journey to Prairiein the buttercup family, native to Preservation,” will be Saturday, Feb.Minnesota. It is also called Pulsatilla 25, at UW-Stout in Menomonie,patens (USDA). Wis. It will combine technical andHow did it get its names? basic prairie restoration information Pasque comes from the French and education.passé-fleur but was changed to Featured speakers will bepasque (from an Old French word Stephen Packard, conservationistfor Easter) because of its early leader of the Chicago Wilderness,flowering. Anemone was a name and Dr. Doug Tallamy, authorused by Theophrastus, possibly a and professor at the Universitycorruption of Naaman, a Semitic Close-up of Anemone patens of Delaware. For additionalname for Adonis, or a corruption shows stamens and pistils. Photo information and to register, go toof an invocation to the goddess by Elizabeth Heck. http://theprairieenthusiasts.orgof retribution, Nemesis. Patensmeans spreading out from the stem(clumps). Pulsatilla (quiverer)describes the pulsating movementof plants in the wind, so it had analternate name of windflower.What does the plant look like? Flowers appear before leavesand consist of five to seven whiteto blue or purple, petal-like sepals.Stems (hollow), leaves, and budsare covered with silky hairs. Leavesare deeply cut. Plants are six to 10inches tall and bear fruits (achenes)with feathery plumes. As a perennial,the plant grows in clumps from athick taproot.Where do these plants grow? They grow in dry prairies insouthern and western counties ofthe state. Is the plant medicinal orpoisonous? Once used in homeopathicpreparations, it is no longerrecommended for human use.Blackfoot Indians used plants toinduce abortions and childbirth. Theleaves cause skin to blister. Takeninternally, cardiogenic toxins slowthe heart rate.Has it any economic uses? It is grown in gardens in full sunas an early spring flower and thrives Anemone patens (pasque flower) loose and tight clumps of flowers.in rock gardens. Photos by Peter Dziuk. 7
  • 8. Minnesota Native Plant SocietyP.O. Box 20401Bloomington, MN 55420Winter 2012 Thompson County Park 360 Butler Ave. East, West St. Paul, MN 55118 Directions: Take Highway 52 to the Butler Ave. E. exit in West St. Paul. Go west on Butler 0.2 mile to Stassen Lane. Go south on Stassen Lane to Thompson County Park.