Summer 2012 Minnesota Plant Press

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Summer 2012 Minnesota Plant Press

  1. 1. Minnesota Plant Press The Minnesota Native Plant Society Newsletter www.mnnps.orgVolume 31 Number 3 Summer 2012 Monthly meetings Thompson Park Center/Dakota Prairie Conservation Plan is implemented Lodge Thompson County Park 360 Butler Ave. E., by Steve Chaplin, senior conservation scientist, The Nature Conservancy. West St. Paul, MN 55118 Native prairie once covered as much as 18 million acres of Minnesota. Programs A hallmark of this prairie was its rich diversity of grasses and flowering The Minnesota Native Plant forbs, often as many as 200 species per acre. Now, most of the nativeSociety meets the first Thursday prairie is gone, with only about 235,000 acres surviving. Unfortunately,in October, November, December, the loss and degradation of prairie and other grasslands continue, dueFebruary, March, April, May, and to agricultural conversion driven by high crop prices, the expiration ofJune. Check at www.mnnps.org for Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts, and new technologies formore program information. rock removal and water drainage.6 p.m. — Social period The Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan, developed by 10 conservation7 – 9 p.m. — Program, Society agencies and organizations, is a response to these losses. The initial draftbusiness. was completed in 2011 and is now being implemented (See http://files.Oct. 4: Program to be announced. dnr.state.mn.us/eco/mcbs/mn_prairie_conservation_plan.pdf) The planCheck the website (www.mnnps. calls for three approaches: conservation of prairie core areas, developmentorg) for details. of corridors connecting the core areas, and local projects within the surrounding agricultural landscape.MNTaxa lists state Prairie Core Areas Thirty-six areas with concentrations of native prairie have been identifiedvascular plant species in Minnesota. These are special places where some of our prairie heritage MNTaxa is the Minnesota DNR’s (the prairie biota and its physical habitat) still exist and where grass-basedlist of all vascular plant species that agriculture remains part of the economic base. These places range fromhave been documented in the state. 5,000 to 300,000 acres in size, totaling about 1.6 million acres. Together For each species, MNTaxa they capture 77 percent of the native prairie in the prairie region of theprovides the full scientific name, state. The goal for these core areas is to maintain or restore 40 percent towhether the species was introduced prairie or grassland and 20 percent to wetland. The remaining 40 percentto Minnesota, current endangered would continue to be used for row cropping and other development.species status, and the counties and In this issuesubcounties in which the species Prairie Corridorshas been documented. Even if all of the prairie core The DNR uses MNTaxa to areas are protected, many prairie Society news ...........................2organize data in various plant and plants and animals will have New members .........................2vegetation databases and to generate difficulty moving between them to President’s column ..................3regional or county checklists for recolonize or claim new habitat. Wetland plants, quality ...........4survey work, projects, and reports. Such movement is essential to Raingarden transformation ....4It is available as a statewide checklist maintain genetic integrity and Native Orchids of Minnesota ...5or as a county record checklist at population viability, especially Finding moonworts.................6mndnr.gov/eco/mcbs/plant_lists. Plant Lore - eyebright ..............7html Continued on page 3
  2. 2. Treasurers’ Welcome, new MNNPS Boardreport members of Directors Treasurers Ron and Cathy The Society gives a warm President: Scott Milburn, boardHuber report that on June 30, the welcome to 15 new members who member, scott.milburn@mnnps.orgMinnesota Native Plant Society joined during the second quarter of Vice President: Shirley Mahhad total assets of $29,170.03. 2012.For the first six months of this Kooyman, shirley.mah.kooyman@year, income totaled $13,867.51; All are from Minnesota. Listed mnnps.orgexpenses totaled $10.087.46. Net alphabetically, they are: Secretary, program coordinator:income was $3,780.55. Andrés Morantes, andres. Steve Chaplin, Roseville; Major income items were dues, Ross Collins, Excelsior; morantes@mnnps.org$2,348; symposium, $5,934, and Brian Fewell, Falcon Heights; Treasurers, membership dataorchid books, $3,593.55. Major Laura Geris, Richfield;expenses were symposium, base: Ron and Cathy Huber, ron. Enrique Gentzsch, Minneapolis; huber@mnnps.org$5,451.78, and orchid books, Gloria Gervais, Ely;$3,231.99. Communication Ken Arndt: board member, fieldexpenses (newsletter, membership Karin Grimlund, Rushford; Catherine Gutfleisch, Northfield; trip chair, ken.arndt@mnnps.orgdirectory, meeting postcards,member packets, and postage) Laurel Krause, Excelsior; John Arthur: board member, john.totaled $905.59. Bram and Lori Middeldorp, arthur@mnnps.org Northfield;Sale income down Bill and Anna Morrison, Ham Lake; Steve Eggers: board member, steve. Proceeds from the 2012 June eggers@mnnps.org Jeanne Quillen, Pequot Lakes;Plant Sale totaled $368.50, Karen Westphall, St. Paul. Otto Gockman: board member,including $331.50 from the sale otto.gockman@mnnps.organd $37 from the plant auction.This total is the lowest in the last Field trips Daniel Jones: board member,daniel.seven years. The highest total was There is a waiting list for the August jones@mnnps.org$911 in 2006; the previous low was 25 field trip to Iron Horse Prairie.$416 in 2009. The weather reduced For future trips, go to the website: Peter Jordan: board member, peter.attendance at the meeting and sale. www.mnnps.org jordan@mnnps.org Mike Lynch: board member, mike. lynch@mnnps.org Minnesota Native Plant Society’s purpose (Abbreviated from the bylaws) Stephen G. Saupe: board member, This organization is exclusively organized and operated for stephen.saupe@mnnps.org educational and scientific purposes, including the following. Field Trips: fieldtrips.mnnps@ 1. Conservation of all native plants. mnnps.org 2. Continuing education of all members in the plant sciences. 3. Education of the public regarding environmental protection of plant Memberships: memberships. life. mnnps@mnnps.org 4. Encouragement of research and publications on plants native to Historian-Archives: Roy Robison, Minnesota. historian-archives.mnnps@mnnps. 5. Study of legislation on Minnesota flora, vegetation, ecosytems. org 6. Preservation of native plants, plant communities, and scientific and Technical or membership natural areas. inquiries: contact.mnnps@mnnps. 7. Cooperation in programs concerned with the ecology of natural org resources and scenic features. 8. Fellowship with all persons interested in native plants through Minnesota Plant Press editor: meetings, lectures, workshops, and field trips. Gerry Drewry, 651-463-8006; plantpress.mnnps@mnnps.org2
  3. 3. Prairie planContinued from page 1 President’s bill. We also need to look at the recent power play, where elected officials have sought managerialwhen confronted with the impactsof climate change. The Prairie column by Scott Milburn control over these lands. The premise behind the concept ofPlan identifies a set of corridors, The Society’s Board of Directors extracting resources from a seteach six miles wide, along five will meet later this summer to elect area of land within each townshipgeomorphological features that will the officers for next year. This will was to provide financial supportconnect the prairie core areas: the be the first board meeting with our for schools. Times change, and soAgassiz Beach Ridges, Alexandria latest board additions, Steve Eggers should this policy and the mindsetMoraine, Minnesota River, Altamont and John Arthur. Steve is a former of continuous resource extractionMoraine, and Buffalo Ridge. The board member from the earlier days under the disguise of serving ourgoal for the corridors is to have at of the Society, and John has been an children. These lands provide onlyleast 10 percent of each section of active member in recent years. They $26 per student annually.land (64 acres) in perennial cover will complement the existing board How would politicians manageas well as large (four to nine square and help provide an exciting year. these lands? They may bemile) grassland/wetland complexes under the false impression thatspaced every six miles along the Looking forward to the upcoming the management of lands is acorridor as “stepping stones.” year, we need to explore two rudimentary task. For instance, particular topics. Besides discussingAgricultural Matrix consider the certification process the ecology and biology of plants, I To maintain the full range of for selling timber. The market place believe it is imperative that we alsolocal genetic variability of prairie says timber needs to be certified. discuss policies and laws as theyplants and animals, we will have Will these politicians continue the pertain to our natural resources.to conserve not just the core areas existing practices that meet the Specifically, I would like to providebut also smaller grasslands and requirements for certification? If an opportunity for us to explore thewetlands in all parts of the state they don’t, the product sits. That issue of School Trust Lands, as wellwhere prairie once occurred. This may be their agenda, with the as the push to allow cattle grazing atapproach will provide small pockets politicians moving in a direction to locations with intact prairie.of local ecotypes scattered around sell off this land to private interests.the state that can be the source of Members should question a number of the issues surrounding The other issue is the pushpropagules for prairie and nativeplant restoration projects, the the School Trust Lands, including to allow cattle grazing on landsfoundation of water quality and the proposed land swap of these with intact prairie. This has beenflood retention efforts, and the base lands within the BWCA in a House gaining momentum, perhaps due to a combination of group think andof grassland-oriented recreation. appeasement to a vocal industry. The Prairie Plan proposes that survived, it is usually because local This is not the West, where cattlea minimum of 10 percent of each residents can earn a greater net roam on large tracts of land. WeLand Type Association in the Prairie return from grass-based agriculture, don’t know who is going to manageRegion of the state be maintained such as grazing livestock, than they these efforts, what monitoring willin permanent perennial vegetation. can by tilling and annually planting take place, and what safeguards willMost of the conservation work in the land. That will need to be the be in place to protect the integritythe Agricultural Matrix will take the case in Minnesota as well if we want of these sites. We hear about aquaticform of stream buffers, grassland to have more than scattered public invasive species, but what aboutstrips, and habitat restorations, but reserves and wildlife management terrestrial invasives and grazing?to achieve the maximal results, it areas. Some may argue that invasives arewill be important to strategically of little concern, but how much The Prairie Plan endorses thelocate the projects. practical experience do they have? use of public funding and lands Visit a place like Blue Mounds State Even with substantial new public to catalyze the growth and health Park where the wild carrot (Daucusconservation funding, the success of grass-based agriculture in the carota) is problematic, or the remoteMinnesota has in maintaining and prairie core areas. Minnesota needs site of Caribou WMA.restoring its prairie heritage will to protect its remaining prairies, butlargely depend on private actions. it also needs to buffer and reconnect These issues should provideIn areas of the world where large them with restored grasslands and motivation for all of us to beareas of native grasslands have wetlands. engaged. 3
  4. 4. Plants are keys to monitoring for wetland projects, will begin to provide an answer as to whether we are achieving “noquality of wetlands net loss” of wetland quality and biological diversity in Minnesota.by Michael Bourdaghs, MinnesotaPollution Control Agency. This is a which is a numerical rating from zero to 10 that reflects Rainwater plansummary of his talk at the Feb. 2, how restricted a particular plant transforms mall2012, MNNPS meeting. species is to intact natural habitats. Minnesota has a policy to achieve Species that have narrow habitat parking lot“no net loss” in the quantity, quality, requirements and/or little tolerance The results of the “extremeand biological diversity of the to human disturbance have high makeover” of the Maplewood Mallstate’s wetlands, but how do we C-values, and vice versa. For parking lot will be featured at itsknow if these goals are being met? example, the Small white lady’s grand opening Saturday, Sept. 15,A variety of wetland monitoring and slipper (Cypripedium candidum) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the east mainassessment approaches are needed is typically only found in intact entrance of the mall. This rainwaterto answer this question. Tracking wet prairies and has a C = 10 management project includes 16wetland quantity through project value. Box elder (Acer negundo), rainwater gardens and 200 trees.accounting and an ongoing DNR on the other hand, can be found in The event will include astatewide status and trends aerial many disturbed habitats outside ribbon-cutting ceremony with thephoto survey is well established. the floodplain forests where it Farmsworth Aerospace MagnetOur ability to track wetland quality, naturally occurs and has a C = School marching band and studenton the other hand, continues to 1 value. Metrics derived from parade; tours and displays; “showimprove as the science behind vegetation data and the C-values and tell” with landscaping artistswetland quality monitoring and have been found to be robust and and experts; and photo ops withassessment evolves. reliable wetland quality indicators. their mascot, “Leap Frog.” Grant Wetland plant communities In 2007, the MPCA completed information and applications to maketend to respond in predictable a project to assign C-values to the over home yards will be available,patterns when exposed to human Minnesota wetland flora. Since as will information on a Girl Scoutimpacts such as changes in wetland then, work has progressed to service project for clean water.hydrology, physical wetland develop a simplified Rapid FQA The mall is located at 3001alterations, or excess nutrient and sampling approach and data driven White Bear Ave. N., Maplewood.sediment loading. Responses to assessment criteria that can be used For additional information, contactthese stressors include changes to turn FQA metrics scores into Louise Watson at 651-792-7956, orin the species composition and/ meaningful categories of wetland go to the Ramsey-Washington Metroor community structure. In severe quality for all of the wetland types Watershed District website at www.cases, wholesale changes can occur in Minnesota. This will allow rwmwd.orgwhere a native plant community natural resource professionalsis replaced by invasive species. with a moderate level of wetlandThese plant community responses botanical expertise to make rapid Ancient seeds grownintegrate the effects of impacts over and scientifically robust wetland Russian scientists have successfullytime. They can be measured and quality assessments, which can grown narrow-leafed campion plantsthus be used to indicate wetland then be applied to their specific from seeds buried by an arcticquality. management questions. ground squirrel 31,800 years ago. The frozen Silene stenophylla seeds The Minnesota Pollution Control The MPCA is currently using were found in an ancient burrowAgency (MPCA) has an active FQA as the primary assessment on the banks of the Lower Kolymaresearch program to develop approach in a statewide wetland River in northeastern Siberia by awetland quality monitoring and quality survey. Wetlands Russian research team. The scientistsassessment techniques. Most are first sampled randomly took cells from the placentas in therecently, the MPCA has focused statewide. Because the sample is seeds and grew them in culture disheson an approach called the Floristic representative, the results reflect into whole plants. The plants appearQuality Assessment (FQA). FQA the overall quality of Minnesota’s identical to the present-day narrow-relies on a measure called the wetlands. This survey, in leafed campions, but their petals areCoefficient of Conservatism (C), conjunction with increased narrower and more splayed-out.4
  5. 5. The book concludes with a two-Book review page phenology, seven pages ofNative Orchids of Minnesota is glossary, an extensive five-page bibliography, and the index.Welby Smith’s newest book One might expect such a lavishly illustrated book to be much higher Book by Welby Smith, published presented on the seldom noted subterranean aspects of orchids’ priced, but virtually everyoneby the University of Minnesota lives. This fascinating material is can enjoy having a copy on theirPress, 2012. Softcover, 285 pages; well explained in the book and was bookshelf. MNNPS members alsoseven by 10-inch format; color the main thrust of Welby’s May received a substantial discount onphotos, black-and-white drawings, program. the price.range maps. $34.95Review by Ron and Cathy Huber A one-page preface is followed Excerpt from Native The sign-in sheet for the MNNPS by an extensive introduction. ThisMay monthly meeting showed 126 includes basic orchid biology, the Orchids of Minnesotaattendees, but the actual headcount roles of mycorrhizal fungi, and “[Showy lady’s slippers] do bestwas over 140 — a new all-time habitat discussions. Two pages of in partial shade or direct sunlight, notrecord. The reason? Welby Smith “Frequently Asked Questions about in deep shade. You will most oftengave a fascinating presentation to Orchids” are followed by several find these conditions in a mossy,launch the sale of his new book, pages of pictorial keys to orchid forested swamp under a thin canopyNative Orchids of Minnesota. genera. of conifers, or sometimes in a not- so-mossy swamp under hardwoods Although originally slated The following 237 pages of or tall shrubs. Sometimes showysto be an updated edition of his Genera and Species Accounts can be found in open wetlands suchfirst (1993) book on Minnesota provide the real “meat-and- as seepage fens or sedge meadows.orchids, this new revision is greatly potatoes” of this book, enhanced Into this last category I would putexpanded, treating 49 wild orchids by anatomical drawings, range the odd roadside ditch where showys(six additional from 1993), with maps, and beautiful color photos, sometimes make a brief appearance.emphasis on their identification, showing details of the plants, their I say brief because roadside habitatshabitat, and natural history. underground features and often tend to get scraped or graded on a Exciting new discoveries are their habitats. regular basis.” Ditches are a favorite location for Minnesota’s state flower, the showy lady’s slipper, Cypripedium reginae. Scott Milburn took this photo on Highway 371 south of Cass Lake in Cass County in June 2012. 5
  6. 6. Stalking and findingrare native plantsby Malcolm and Rosemary MacFarlane, volunteers, Minnesota DNRCounty Biological Survey. Our experience with rare native plants has been a 30-year journeywith many side trips, chance encounters, frustrating attempts to acquireexpertise, and a measure of dumb luck. It started with photography andended in moonworts. There was never any grand plan. The photographywas pure entertainment, at least to start. The accumulating images pushedus in directions we had not anticipated nor were we properly preparedto go. Neither of us can claim to be a botanist. But we were enticed byinterests-turned-obsessions, each in its way more compelling than the last,until we found ourselves a part of a long and grand tradition of amateurbotany in Minnesota. As we acquired expertise, our interests slid slowly from the commonto the rare. We were drawn through a series of obsessions with orchids, Botrychium ascendens, alichens, endemic species, relicts, disjuncts and species of exceptionally rare moonwort. Photo byunique and rare habitats. We crossed paths with folks who had a wealth Malcolm MacFarlane.of unique expertise, which they shared most generously. These encounterspresented us with lifelong friendships and opportunities to participate in Range? Yes again, we found B.new ways, in new discoveries. ascendens and B. lineare in 2007. So, is there a chance of finding them So, by way of a very circuitous path, we found ourselves in June of last in other habitats outside the ironyear in the middle of Koochiching County, on hands and knees, in the range? Apparently so. We found B.ubiquitous cloud of black flies, bleeding from the temples, nose to nose ascendens last year all the way up inwith a curious little moonwort. We were having the greatest time. Lake of the Woods County. Part of the allure of moonworts was the flood of new information, new In southeastern Minnesota, there distributions, even new species. was one isolated collection of prairie Only six percent of the moonwort moonwort, B. campestre, from a records in the Natural Heritage bedrock bluff prairie in 1993. Is it Database predate 1990. Significant likely that could be the only place it pieces of the puzzle of moonworts occurs in that part of the state? We in North America were coming searched a number of prairies over from here in Minnesota. a period of six years and found 12 populations in four counties. Each new piece of information prompted new questions. Many of There were no collections of these could be addressed at our level moonworts from Koochiching or of expertise. Three of the most rare Roseau counties, and only three species of moonworts in Minnesota (two species) from Lake of the were first found in tailings basins Woods County. Two of those on the Cuyuna Iron Range — collections, dating from 1894, were Botrychium ascendens and B. from an island in the middle of the spathulatum in 1998, and B. lineare lake. But habitats looked especially in 2005. Could any of these be good, at least to us. We spent a found on mine dumps as well? Yes, long weekend in each of 2009 and we looked and found two of them, 2010 on the hunch that we could Botrychium simplex. Photo by B. ascendens and B. spathulatum, in find them there. We did. In 2011, Malcolm MacFarlane. 2008. And what about the Mesabi we applied for a contract from the6
  7. 7. County Biological Survey, andthat allowed us to spend the entiremonth of June. Plant Lore by Thor Kommedahl with roots attached to grasses. (For this reason some have placed eyebright in the broomrape family.) What is eyebright? Where does it grow? From 2009 through 2011, we Eyebright is Euphrasiamade nearly 200 collections from This native species grows along hudsoniana, in the figwort family, the north shore of Lake Superiorthese three counties, including but the taxonomy is confusing and in rock fissures and ledges, and itnine species of moonworts and a it may be listed as other species, blooms from June to September.rare grape fern. The rarest of these e.g., E. arctica. Of the hundreds ofwere B. ascendens, B. lunaria, B. described species, E. hudsoniana Does it have medicinal uses?minganense, and B. simplex var. is recognized by the Integrated Milton in Paradise Lost suggestedtenebrosum, which was unusually Taxonomic Information System.  it was mankind’s first medicine:robust and significantly west of its Michael from Adam’s eyes theknown range. How did it gets its names? film removed, Eyebright (E. officinalis) was Which the false fruit, that Minnesota is richer in moonwort called “Eyebryghte” by William promised clearer sight,species than anyone would have Turner in England (1548). Had bred; then purged withpredicted just a few years ago. Euphrasia means “good-cheer” in euphrasy and rueDiscoveries of species here that reference to its use in eye lotions. The visual nerve, for he hadwere thought to be limited to the Hudsoniana refers to its being much to see.western states and provinces would found along Hudson Bay — andbeg the question: might there be sometimes called Hudson Bay Eyebright has been a folk remedyothers? We believe that we found eyebright. Arctica (perhaps a for eye ailments, coughs, andone in 2008, B. pedunculosum, synonym) points to its circumpolar earaches. Because the blossomson a mine dump west of Hibbing. distribution. look like eyes, they were thought in medieval times to benefit eyeConfirmation awaits genetic What does the plant look like? maladies. Cotton Mather in Boston,testing, but so far prospects look It is an annual herb and has small, 1724, remarked, “A plain Eye-brightgood. opposite, toothed stem leaves and water constantly or frequently used white to pale-blue flowers that look will continue to the eye-sight a like eyes. Petals have an upper lip brightness to be wondered at.” It that may be two-lobed or notched has been reported in recent times and a lower lip that is three-lobed. that members of this genus contain There are four stamens. Stems are anti-inflammatory and antibacterial hairy. The plant is a semiparasite compounds. Euphrasia hudsoniana var. Euphrasia officinalis (above), European eyebright, is rapidly ramosior. Photo by Peter invading the Arrowhead. Photographer Peter Dziuk says it is almost Dziuk. identical to E. hudsoniana, and the two species may hybridize. 7
  8. 8. Minnesota Native Plant SocietyP.O. Box 20401Bloomington, MN 55420 Summer 2012 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.

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