Spring 2004 Minnesota Plant Press
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Spring 2004 Minnesota Plant Press Document Transcript

  • 1. Minnesota Plant Press The Minnesota Native Plant Society NewsletterVolume 23 Number 3 Spring 2004 Monthly meetings Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Interactive key to Visitor Center, 3815 East 80th St. Bloomington, MN 55425-1600 952-854-5900 Minnesota’s woody 6:30 p.m. — Building east door opens 6:30 p.m. — Refreshments, information, Room A plants being developed 7 – 9 p.m — Program, society business 7:30 p.m. — Building door is locked by George Weiblin, University of Minnesota. He announced this new 9:30 p.m. — Building closes key during his talk at the Feb. 5 meeting. Programs An interactive key to the woody plants of Minnesota is being The MNPS meets the first Thursday in developed at the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University ofOctober, November, December, February, Minnesota with the goal of providing an easy-to-use guide toMarch, April, May, and June. Check the identification of all woody plant species occurring in the state.Web site for more program information. Interactive keys have many advantages over traditional keys, and this May 6: “Recent Research on Little one is designed to be accessible on the Web to anyone with a basicBluestem (Andropogon scoparius);” knowledge of botany. To use the key, go to http://geo.cbs.umn.edu/Plant-of-the-Month: Little Bluestem,both by Mary Meyer. treekey/navikey.html June 3: “Native Ferns,” by Tom Traditional keys involve a series of choices that divide organismsBittinger; Annual plant sale. (See article into smaller and smaller groups, eventually leading to a specieson page 5.) description. Each choice leads further down a particular path, and users become lost if a wrong choice is made at any point. Keys can beSpring Wildflower Guide very difficult if the user does not have complete information at hand, Do you know where to find wildflowers or is not skilled in the art. For example, suppose that a key asks whetherin the Twin City metro area? The MNPS a plant has fleshy fruits or dry fruits, but the plant in question has notbooklet, Guide to Spring Wildflower yet flowered. Information technology provides a robust alternative inAreas, Twin Cities Region, gives the which users query a database according to whatever information islocations and access rules of 42 parks and available.natural areas and lists many of the plantsthat may be seen in each location. The What is unique about the Interactive Key to the Woody Plants ofbooklets cost $5 ($4 for members) and are Minnesota is the web interface that allows anyone with a web browseravailable at all MNPS meetings. free access to this identification tool. We hope to expand this resourceMNPS Web site from 277 species of woody plants to more than 4,000 species of plantshttp://www.stolaf.edu/depts/biology/mnps and fungi recorded in the state. In the future we hope to enhance thee-mail: MNPS@HotPOP.com key with digital images and information on leaves, twigs, flowers, fruits, and fungi.MNPS Listserve We welcome your comments, corrections and suggestions, as we Send a message that includes the word“subscribe” or “unsubscribe” and your are still in the development phase of this project. Please send feedbackname in the body of the message to: to Dr. George Weiblen (gweiblen@umn.edu) or Dr. Anita Cholewamn-natpl-request@stolaf.edu (chole001@tc.umn.edu). 1
  • 2. Welcome, new members Two field trips our members. If you are renewingby Jason Husveth, president Greetings, Native Plant Society after a brief hiatus, I want to welcome planned in Maymembers! Spring is finally here, and you all back to the society as well. MNPS members have organizedit’s time to start enjoying the native We currently have two field trips two field trips in May. One is aplants and natural areas that make planned for the spring season, and weekend at Whitewater State Park,Minnesota so special. The skunk several others in the works. Doug May 7 - 9; the other is a botany walkcabbage is flowering, and I have Mensing and Joel Dunnette have through Louisville Swampheard that snow trillium is in bloom taken the lead on planning our Spring Management Area, near Jordan, onat Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. Wildflower Weekend in Whitewater May 22. I am pleased to report that our 2004 State Park in southeastern MinnesotaSymposium, “Our Historic for the weekend of May 7 - 9. If you Doug Mensing and Joel DunnetteLandscape, The Ecology of were unable to make the trip last year, will lead several wildflower walksWoodlands and Savannas in the I highly recommend you join us in during the Spring WildflowerMinneapolis / Saint Paul exploring the flora of Whitewater Weekend, May 7 – 9, at WhitewaterMetropolitan Area,” was a great State Park and Whitewater Wildlife State Park in southeasternsuccess. I would like to especially Management Area. The spring Minnesota. The society has reservedthank all of our speakers, who ephemeral displays are magnificent. camping area #2. Participantsgraciously gave their time to prepare Doug Mensing, Scott Milburn, and should bring their own campingand present a varied and informative I will lead a day trip to the Louisville equipment and food. The society isselection of topics concerning the Swamp Management Unit of the only providing the campsite andecology of these habitats. The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife guides. A fee of $5 per person willsociety owes a debt of gratitude to Refuge on Saturday, May 22. Otherall who contributed to the planning be collected to cover the cost of the members are working on organizing group campsite. For moreand preparation for the symposium. additional field trips throughout the information, contact Doug Mensing In October 2003, Karen Schik took summer. These will be announced at dougm@appliedeco.coma lead role in planning and pulling at the May and June membershiptogether much of this year ’s meetings, as well as on the MNPS Jason Husveth, Doug Mensing andsymposium. Shirley Mah Kooyman, Web site. Mark these dates on your Scott Milburn will lead the LouisvilleLinda Huhn and I assisted Karen calendar and join us in the field. Swamp walk on May 22. It willwith the planning, arranging In addition to field trips, be sure to begin at 9 a.m. at the trailhead, whichspeakers, and advertising the participate in our native plant sale, is about 4.5 miles south of Shakopee.symposium. A special thank you to which will be held immediately Take Hwy. 169 to 145th St, go pastRon and Cathy Huber, who stepped following our June 3 meeting at the the Renaissance Festival entrancein and masterfully handled the duties Minnesota Valley National Wildlife and cross the railroad tracks. Theof registration when Shirley became Refuge. We will hold the plant sale Louisville parking lot will be on yourill. We are grateful to Ken Arndt, out of doors this year, to allow for left. The walk will end at about 2Janet Larson, Scott Milburn, Doug more space to arrange and display the p.m., so bring a lunch. This event isMensing and many others who plants that our members donate.volunteered their time and energy on limited to 30 participants. Morethe day of the symposium to make There are many ideas in the works details are on the MNPS Web site.sure everything went as smoothly as for the future of the society. I have To sign up, contact Jason Husveth atpossible. Finally, a debt of gratitude begun discussing holding our regular jhusveth@ccesinc.comto the Anoka Conservation District monthly meetings through thestaff for generously allowing us the summer, possibly on Saturdays, in privilege to serve as president of thisuse of their computer projector when various natural areas. This would diverse and growing society. Iwe were unable to get ours to work! provide opportunities for our encourage each of you to contact me membership to experience and learn or a board member if you have ideas Maybe the most exciting thing about our native flora and natural for ways to make the society evenabout the symposium is that we had areas first-hand in the field during the better. I hope you all enjoy theover 50 new memberships and growing season. I would enjoy beautiful spring weather, and I lookmembership renewals! If you are hearing from the membership forward to seeing you at the monthlynew to the society, I want to welcome regarding regular summer meetings meetings and on this spring’s fieldyou on behalf of the board and all of starting in 2005. I consider it a trips. 3
  • 3. 2004 symposium is a great successby Karen Schik, symposium chair gophers are a keystone species. changing nature of savannas and how The Minnesota Native Plant Many animals depend on them either this means different things toSociety has a history of excellent as a food source or for the different people. He also discussedannual symposia, and this year was underground shelter they create. restoration efforts and showed howno exception. On Saturday, March some components of the system are After a wonderful lunch of organic often overlooked. Forbs, for27, nearly 160 participants packed food, the equipment was finally example, often regenerate well, butthe Bunker Hills Activity Center to ready for our keynote speaker. Dr. grasses and sedges do not. Groundattend “Our Historic Landscape: The Ed Cushing, University of cover also establishes well at dryEcology of Woodlands and Savannas Minnesota, gave a stimulating and sites, but not at mesic sites becausein the Minneapolis/St. Paul intriguing geologic history of the there is more weed competition andMetropolitan Area.” plant communities. Using maps, he damage from grazing. The day got off to a rocky start with showed how they are very strongly Fred Harris wrapped up the dayPowerpoint projector difficulties, the tied to the soils in the area, which with a discussion of an oak savannabane of new technology. Fortunately, formed from different glacial and prairie restoration project at Pinestaff from Anoka Conservation processes. Oak barrens occur on Bend Bluffs along the MississippiDistrict saved the day by fetching sandy soils, maple-basswood forests River in Dakota County. The mosttheir projector from their nearby occur on heavier till soils of sand, challenging exotic plant to control atoffice. Once underway, participants gravel and silty clay. Topography the site has been cheatgrass (Bromuswere treated to an entire day of was also a strong influence, with tectorum). Carefully timed burningthoroughly interesting and prairie in flatter areas. Fire, which seemed to provide the best results.informative presentations. Hannah also shapes plant communities, wasDunevitz became the first speaker, determined in part by the topography. In addition to the speakers, manydue to the technical difficulties. Her people contributed huge amounts of Steve Chapman gave an overview time and energy to helping make thedescriptions of savannas and of native American uses for many symposium a success. Special thankswoodlands provided an excellent native plants and showed how go to Jason Husveth and Shirley Mahoverview of these communities and important their discoveries were to Kooyman, co-chairs of thelaid the groundwork for the present day uses of plants. Some symposium committee and MNPSfollowing talks. No doubt there will plants, such as wild rice, are more board members. Jason, in particular,be many new visitors this season to important regionally, but others, such donated countless hours in manyall the wonderful places she as corn and squash, are used months of planning, organizing, anddescribed where native savanna and worldwide. trouble-shooting. When Shirleywoodland remnants can be found. became ill, Cathy and Ron Huber Degrading factors of woodlands Dr. Cynthia Lane, Ecological jumped in to take over the and savannas was the next topic,Strategies, followed with a more registration work. Board members presented by Doug Mensing, Applieddetailed look at the insect world of Linda Huhn, Dianne Plunkett- Ecological Services. He gave a clearsavannas, especially focusing on the Latham, Doug Mensing, Scott synopsis of the characteristics of ainteresting life history of the karner Milburn, Joel Dunnette, Ken Arndt healthy system, causes ofblue butterfly, a state endangered and David Johnson all helped with degradation, and subsequent effects.species. Because savannas and preparation tasks and the event itself. One interesting slide showed thewoodlands are now rare plant Members who volunteered at the dramatic decline of plant and birdcommunities in the state, they also event include Kathy Colla, Dorothy species in natural communities afterharbor numerous rare plant species. Paddock, Mary Nolte, and Melissa buckthorn invasion. Doug alsoBarb Delaney provided interesting Arikian. Many thanks also go to all outlined basic restoration anddetails and wonderful photographs of the people who attended the event. management strategies.many of those rare plants. John The result of all this good energyMoriarty, Ramsey County Parks and Kim Chapman, also from Applied was that the society raised overRecreation, finished the morning Ecological Services, followed with $2,000 from the symposium andwith a comprehensive view of most a more philosophical view of lessons gained 58 members. These fundsof the vertebrate animals that find learned from savanna restorations in will go far toward continuing toresidence in savannas and the Midwest. He introduced the term promote outreach and educationwoodlands. He demonstrated how “polymorphous” to describe the about Minnesota native plants.4
  • 4. Would you like some Plant sale to be held outdoorssawdust with that? The annual MNPS native plant saleby Ethan Perry will be held June 3 at the Minnesota Remember last year when the Minnesota Legislature threatened to Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Forprohibit the Minnesota Department of Transportation from using native the first time, the sale will be heldseeds in roadside planting? Well, researchers from the University of outdoors, rain or shine.Minnesota Department of Agronomy have published a study that Plants will be arranged on the lowdemonstrates yet another benefit of roadside prairies: weed control. Dana walls near the building entrance. TheyBlumenthal and his colleagues compared weeds in plots of seven-year-old will be grouped according to habitatprairie restoration to plots of well-established old field on sandy soils. (sun or shade). Woody plants will beWeeds had declined by 94% in the restored plots. (Weeds were defined in a separate area. In order to provideagriculturally, so old field grasses — Kentucky bluegrass and smooth brome more time for the sale, we need the— were not considered weeds, while some natives, such as ragweed and cooperation of every member. Thehorseweed, were.) June meeting will start early, at 6:45 These researchers also looked deeper into factors that give either weeds p.m. The sale will start at about 7:30or prairie species a competitive advantage over the other. In a study that p.m., after Tom Bittinger’s talk onhasn’t been published yet, they added weed seeds to the same experimental native ferns.plots. As expected from the first study, many fewer weeds became Plants must be delivered early.established in the prairie plots. When they added nitrogen to the soil, Bring your plants after 5 p.m. and nohowever, the benefits of restoration were reduced. Nitrogen is often a later than 7 p.m. Each plant must belimiting nutrient for plants. The experiment suggests that prairies can individually potted and labeled.exclude some weed species because prairie plants are better competitors Include your name, the location wherefor scarce nitrogen. When nitrogen is plentiful, the weeds have a better the plant was grown, the plant’schance. This also explains why restoring prairie is often easier on sandy common and scientific names, and anysoil than on nitrogen-rich loam. other pertinent information, such as How can we use our knowledge of nitrogen to help restorations? In a seed source. Do not put a price on thethird study, the researchers tilled various amounts of carbon (in the form plant. However, you may designateof sawdust) into the soil before planting both prairie and weed seeds. Soil special plants to be considered for themicrobes respond to increased carbon by immobilizing nitrogen, reducing silent auction. Plants that arrive afterthe amount available to plants. The highest level of carbon addition resulted 7 p.m. or are not potted and labeledin fewer weeds and more prairie. on arrival may not make it into the sale. Most other carbon enrichment experiments have not been so successful,but researchers at the U of M Department of Horticulture have just published Dave Crawford, park naturalist ata study of carbon enrichment to control reed canary grass. Rank mats of Wild River State Park, and Gerrythis grass have smothered acres and acres of wetlands across the Midwest. Drewry are co-chairs of the plant sale.Laura Perry and her colleagues grew reed canary grass and a native sedge Dave will price the plants, select some(Carex hystericina) together in a greenhouse. In untreated wetland soil, for the silent auction, ensure that onlyreed canary grass had five times the biomass of the sedge, but when sawdust native plants are in the sale, andwas added, the sedge was six times more abundant than the grass. specify the habitat if there are Is it just coincidence that of the few studies finding a benefit to carbon questions. If you would like to helpenrichment, two were conducted in Minnesota? Actually, no. Laura, who at the sale, call Gerry at 651-463-8006.happens to be my sister, and Dana, who happens to be her husband, pointout that they both used much greater amounts of carbon than previous Biodiversity exhibitstudies. Even if adding carbon to soil proves impractical for actual May 2 will be the final day to seerestoration projects, we can still reduce nitrogen inputs in order to benefit the exhibit “Biodiversity 911: Savingnative species. Buffer vegetation around wetlands can significantly reduce Life on Earth” at the Bell Museumthe amount of nitrogen reaching them in runoff. We can also try to minimize of Natural History on the Universitythe amount of nitrogen released by burning fossil fuels, which then falls in of Minnesota Minneapolis campus.the rain. But maybe, bizarre as it sounds, site preparation for some future For information, call 612-624-7083.restorations will include tilling sawdust into the soil. 5
  • 5. Native plant species Plant Lore by Thor Kommedahlabound in Papua What is goldenseal? Goldenseal is Hydrastis canadensis, in the buttercup family.New Guineaby Dr. George Weiblen unique situation is a challenge for Other names include ground raspberry. How did it get these names?Assistant Professor, Department of biologists confronted by a rising tide Hydrastis is made up of two wordsPlant Biology, Curator of Flowering of species extinction in tropical meaning water and to act, referringPlants, Bell Museum of Natural forests worldwide. Tribal land to the plant’s active juice. TheHistory, University of Minnesota. ownership in Papua New Guinea goldenseal name comes from theThis is an abstract of his talk at the means that a botanist can’t so much yellow scars left on the rhizome byFeb. 5 MNPS meeting. as set foot in the forest without the stem that emerges each spring. It The tropical island of Papua New intruding on somebody’s backyard. has been called ground raspberryGuinea is about as far from the Local people share the names and because of its resemblance.Minneapolis neighborhood that I call traditional uses of native plants withhome as you can get. New Guinea’s botanists like me in the hope that this What does the plant look like?forests are one of the last great information can be preserved for It is a low, perennial herb withbiological frontiers on earth, and future generations in the face of leaves and fruit similar to raspberry,their incredible diversity is what first tremendous cultural change. has a fleshy rhizome with yellowattracted me to this far-away place. Additional information is available interior, hairy stems, two alternate at http://geo.cbs.umn.edu leaves that are palmately five- to For instance, the island has at least seven- lobed, and flowers with three20 times more species of plants than sepals but no petals and mostlyare found in Minnesota. Nobody Volunteers needed greenish-white stamens. The fruit isknows exactly how many because a globose berry made up of manymuch of Papua New Guinea remains to search for rare miniature, one- to two- seededunexplored. Countless new species drupes.await discovery, if only biologists lilies and orchids by Linda Huhn Where does the plant grow?can locate them before it’s too late. It thrives in rich soil of shadyThis tropical forest wilderness is Could you help find rare dwarf trout lilies or orchids? Nancy Sather woods and moist places at the edgesslightly larger than the state of Texas, of wooded lands. It flowers from is again conducting the Naturalan area that continues to shrink under April to May and fruits in June. It isintense pressure from industrial Heritage and Nongame Research Program’s rare plant search and native to Minnesota in southeastlogging and a growing local counties. Because of overharvesting, monitoring program.population. it is almost extinct. The hunt for dwarf trout lilies will I first went to Papua New Guinea start April 20 in Nerstrand State Park Did American Indians use thisin 1992 in an effort to catalogue the and other locations in Rice and plant?diversity of tropical trees, but I keep Goodhue counties. It will continue The Indians valued the root as areturning because of the people I met tonic, to improve digestion, to treat through the month of April.there. Over the years, my botanical eyes, and as a dye. Pioneers adopted Orchid work will be conducted the goldenseal in their folk medicine.research has developed into anongoing exchange with local July 5 - 14, primarily in Polk, Does it have medicinal uses? Pennington and Kittson counties in Root teas were made to treatresidents whose future criticallydepends on the fate of the forest. northwestern Minnesota. membranes in mouth, throat, and People with GPS capabilities are uterus, and a tea (wash) was a remedy Papua New Guinea doesn’t have for eye infections. Until the 1980s,national parks protecting its especially needed for both projects. To volunteer, contact Nancy Sather root components were part ofbiological riches. Instead, 98 percent commercial eyewash preparations.of the country is owned according to at nancy.sather@dnr.state.mn.us Goldenseal may help in treatment oftribal tradition, which means that Send her your e-mail address, phone tuberculosis, according to a 1998environmental protection is the sole number and specific information on study. It contains the alkaloidresponsibility of landowners. This when you could work. berberine.6
  • 6. Memories of Western train went from St. Paul through the town of Nerstrand and Illinois botanist toNerstrand Woods on into Iowa. It left St. Paul at 8:30 teach about grasses,by Jean McIntosh. She was a a.m. and took an hour or so to reach sedges and rushes Nerstrand. It was just a mile hikesecretary in the University of by Scott A. Milburn west to the woods. The family whoMinnesota Department of Botany for A growing number of plant lived on the southwest corner of themany years. identification courses offered around crossroads halfway to the woods let As a botany major at the University the country are not affiliated with us use their pump to get drinks ofof Minnesota, I joined the Linnaean academic institutions. These courses water. It wasn’t until the early ‘50sClub and participated in its activities, tend to be targeted towards an that any paths or picnic facilitiesespecially field trips. In the spring were put in. We brought our lunches, audience of wetland regulators andof 1939, Bruce Ledin introduced us and carried vasculums to collect wetland consultants, and are usuallyto Nerstrand Woods. He never could samples of all the plants that grew taught by professors who have nowremember which road to take out of there. The collection was later transitioned into trainingNorthfield, so we approached the donated to the Herbarium of the professionals in such a manner.woods from all different directions. Botany Department.(There weren’t many road numbers One of the most prominent of theseon country roads.) I finally made a We usually hiked back to town by professors is Dr. Robert H.chart of the road on the return trip so4:30 or 5 p.m. and bought quarts of Mohlenbrock, who has retired fromwe could go the most direct route. ice cream at the little store. The clerk Southern Illinois University.The club members lobbied the cut them in half, and we each ate a He will come to Minnesota in June pint out of the carton. The train toLegislature, and we think we helped to teach, in partnership with Jason St. Paul came at about 6 or 6:30 p.m.make the area a state park in 1945. Husveth and Scott Milburn, a class The fare was very reasonable. One During the latter years of World trip it rained part of the day, and we on the grasses, sedges, and rushes ofWar II, there was gas rationing (1943, were a bedraggled bunch when my Minnesota. For more information1944), so we couldn’t drive down mother picked us up at the depot in regarding the course, contact Jasonthere. However, the Chicago Great downtown St. Paul. or Scott at 651-433-4410. Minnesota Native Plant Society Member RegistrationName ____________________________________________________________________________________Address __________________________________________________________________________________City _____________________________________________ State ____________________ Zip ____________Phone (work) _____________ Phone (home) _____________ e-mail ________________________________New member? _____ Renewal? _____ Is this a gift? _____ From __________________________________$12 _________ Individual $15 ________ Family (2 or more related persons, one address)$ 8 _________ Student (full time) $ 8 ________ Senior (62 or over or retired)$20 _________ Institution $25 ________ DonorPlease complete the form above, check the appropriate membership category, and enclose your check made payableto the Minnesota Native Plant Society. Mail this form and your check to the Minnesota Native Plant Society,University of Minnesota, 250 Biological Sciences Center, 1445 Gortner Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108 7
  • 7. Minnesota Native Plant Society University of Minnesota 250 Biological Sciences Center 1445 Gortner Ave. St. Paul, MN 55108Spring 2004 Issue