Minnesota Plant Press The Minnesota Native Plant Society NewsletterVolume 27 Number 4 Summer 2008 Monthly meetings Thompson Park Center/Dakota Lodge The mystery of the elms in the Thompson County Park 360 Butler Ave. E., West St. Paul, MN 55118 Kandiyohi forest 651-552-7559 (kitchen) Programs The MN NPS meets the first Thursdayin October, November, December, by Mark Stennes, plant pathologist with S & S Tree Specialists, andFebruary, March, April, May, and June. Lee Frelich, research and associate director of the University ofCheck the website for more program Minnesota Center for Hardwood Ecology. This is an abstract of theirinformation. presentation at the April 3, 2008 MN NPS meeting. 6 p.m. — Social period An unusual forest dominated by elms, especially rock elm (Ulmus 7 – 9 p.m. — Program, society thomasii), but with some American elm (Ulmus americana) and redbusiness elm (Ulmus rubra) in central Minnesota, just south of the town of Kandiyohi was highlighted. This is also the only old growth elm Oct. 2: Program and Plant-of-the- forest we have seen, with trees up to 250 years old. A lush groundMonth to be announced. layer is present, probably because the deer herd is kept at eight to 10 Nov. 6: Program to be announced. deer per square mile. The site also has archaeological and historicalSeed exchange to be held following the significance with artifacts from Native American and Europeanprogram. settlements and the first house built in the area. Also present is Dec. 4: Program and Plant-of-the- “Capitol Hill” between the tracts of forest, which was at one timeMonth to be announced. slated to be the site of the Minnesota State Capitol. Feb. 5: Program and Plant-of-the- Stennes talked about Dutch elm disease and the normalMonth to be announced. epidemiological model that should have resulted in the near complete Mar. 5: Program and Plant-of-the- destruction of this forest in the 25 to 30 years that the pathogen hasMonth to be announced. been present on the site. All three elm species that dominate the site are normally susceptible, but the mortality due to Dutch elmPrairie conference disease is abnormally minimal. The probability of natural geneticis Aug. 4 - 8 in Winona resistance appearing in all three The 21st North American PrairieConference will be held at Winona State species on one site at one time, without evolutionary exposure to In this issue Proposed amendment .........2University Aug. 4 to 8. For information the pathogen, is fundamentally Society’s purpose ...............2or to register, go to http://bio.winona. zero, so how are the trees Acorn project .....................3edu/NAPC/index.htm surviving? There is certain to be a Thor Kommedahl award .....4 combination of factors, but pests/ Erika Rowe, board member .4MN NPS website parasites of the insect vector is President’s column .............5 For current information about MN NPS potentially one, while fungus ‘Bringing Nature Home’ .....6 competition, suppression and/or Plant Lore: Bluebead lily .....7field trips, meetings, and other events, Kilen Woods Park events ....7check the website: www.mnnps.org Continued on page 3
Constitutional amendment MNNPS Boardwould aid environmentvoters pass of Directors scott. Wildlife habitats are among areas to be protected if Minnesota President: Scott Milburn, email@example.com Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the State Constitution Vice President: Shirley MahNov. 4. Kooyman, shirley.mah.kooyman@ The amendment, which was discussed in the State Legislature for more mnnps.orgthan 10 years, would increase the state sales tax 3/8 of 1 percent, generating Secretary: Sean Jergens, sean.about $276 million per year for 25 years. firstname.lastname@example.org The new revenue would be divided as follows: Ken Arndt, board member, field • 33 percent for water quality; trip chair, email@example.com • 33 percent for wildlife; Peter Dziuk, board member, • 19.75 percent for arts funding; firstname.lastname@example.org • 14.25 percent for parks. Daniel Jones, board member, The Legislature passed the proposed amendment in February. email@example.comConstitutional amendments do not need the governor’s approval, but go Beth Nixon, board member,directly to the voters. A “yes” vote on more than half of all ballots cast in conservation committee chair, beth.the November election is necessary for an amendment to be passed. Blank firstname.lastname@example.org are “no” votes. Erika Rowe, board member, email@example.com Former Sen. Bob Lessard, DFL-International Falls, started the campaignfor hunting and fishing funds in the late 1990s. The original proposed Russ Schaffenberg, boardamendment was similar to one passed in Missouri in the 1970s that has member, russ.schaffenberg@mnnps. orgprovided dependable revenue in that state. The federal government hasmandated that states clean up their waters, and this amendment would Treasurer: Ron and Cathyprovide funds to do that. Arts funding was added during the legislative Huber, firstname.lastname@example.org to broaden support for the amendment. Linda Huhn, program coordinator, 612-374-1435 The proposal is backed by groups representing environmentalists, Listserv Coordinator: Charleshunters, anglers and the arts. Opponents include the Taxpayers League of Umbanhowar, email@example.comMinnesota, which says the tax increase is “bad fiscal policy.” Field Trips: fieldtrips.mnnps@ mnnps.org Memberships: memberships. Minnesota Native Plant Society’s purpose firstname.lastname@example.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. email@example.com 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; firstname.lastname@example.org Minnesota. 5. Study of legislation on Minnesota flora, vegetation, ecosytems. 6. Preservation of special plants, plant communities, and scientific and Reminder: Do not take plants from the wild. natural areas. It is against the law to take plants 7. Cooperation in programs concerned with the ecology of natural 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
Kandiyohi forest Annual plant sale Youth groups areContinued from page 1disease of the pathogen is another. goes on in spite collecting oneHowever, something bigger and of severe weathe million acorns rcertainly more complicated from an “It was a dark and stormy night,” The Million Acorn Challengeecological point of view is happening but 40 dedicated members came to is a five-year effort by Great Riverin this unique elm forest. the 2008 plant sale and brought or Greening to restore oak savanna purchased plants. The event was communities across the Twin Cities Recent work with elm cultivars held in the entry area of Dakota by planting a million acorns byhas shown that there are several Lodge.genetically controlled defensive 2010. Youth groups in grades six There were no auction plants to 12 are invited to help them reachmechanisms that the trees can this year. Proceeds were $450. Last this goal by collecting acorns.employ against the Dutch elm disease year’s total was $842.pathogen, and, although very rarely, The group that collects the most Ken Arndt was committee chair; acorns between Aug. 18 and Sept.can combine and occur in American Dave Crawford was the expert who 17 will win $500 in cash prizes andelm at levels high enough to impart identified plants and priced them. eco-adventures. The prizes will bea substantial level of tolerance. awarded at the Great Weigh-In and‘Princeton’ and ‘Valley Forge’ are Planting Party at Afton State Parktwo cultivars of American elm that on Sept. 20.are becoming available in the trade The Million Acorn Challengeand can be fairly characterized as is open to school, faith-based,tolerant of Dutch elm disease. community, and neighborhood Frelich talked about past and youth groups, as well as Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.future significance of this forest. Itmight be a relict of a much more Acorns can be collected from Aug. 18 through Sept. 17 on publicextensive forest that, as indicated by or private property, but participatingthe paleoecological record, covered youth must have permission frommillions of acres in southern the landowner before they removeMinnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and acorns from any site.Illinois 9,000 years ago. As the Great River Greening has Dave Crawford and Lindaclimate warmed towards the mid- Huhn, program coordinator, approval from the City of Saint PaulHolocene optimum (7,500 years explain the plant sale logistics. Parks and Recreation Division tobefore present), the elm-oak forest Photo by Richard Johnson. collect in Saint Paul public parks;largely disappeared. It was likely groups that collect in these parks willreplaced by savanna and prairie of sedimentary deposits would be receive a collection permit once theyas fire frequency increased in the necessary to confirm this hypothesis, register. Groups collecting outsidewarming climate. since it is also possible that the elm this area will receive a permission request letter to use when contacting Then the climate began to cool, forest disappeared for a while and city or county landowners.and remaining elm forests were then came back. Pre-registration is required byreplaced with sugar maple as it In addition to rock, red and Aug. 1. Contact Mark Turbak atmigrated west. However, three American elms, the Kandiyohi 651-665-9500, ext. 11, or e-mailtracts of Kandiyohi forest were on forest also has hackberry (Celtis email@example.com or surrounded by lakes occidentalis), American basswoodso that the prairie fires may not (Tilia americana), green ash climate Minnesota may be headedhave reached them during the warm (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), Kentucky for by the end of the 21st century, ifperiod, and also sugar maple did coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioica), climate mitigation is not successful.not quite make it to the area during bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) The Kandiyohi forest is therefore anthe period of cooling climate. and bitternut hickory (Carya ecosystem blueprint for forests thatThus the Kandiyohi elm and oak cordiformis). All of these species might exist or be created in muchforest could have remained as a have a maximum abundance in of Minnesota in a future warmerrelict from ancient times. Studies eastern Kansas, which is the same climate. 3
Introducing ErikaRowe, MN NPS Thor Kommedahlboard member receives lifetime Erika Rowe , the Society’s newestboard member, is a plant ecologist membership awardwith the DNR’s Minnesota County by Gerry Drewry teachers plants that are in theirBiological Survey. She has worked In appreciation of his years of schoolyards. During one field tripfor the DNR since 2001 — five of service to the Society and his work to several Minneapolis schools, with native plants, Thor Kommedahl he showed skeptical participants,those years with MCBS. The focus was awarded a lifetime membership who thought nothing grew byof her current work has been on in the Minnesota Native Plant Society their buildings, about 100 differentnative plants and plant communities April 5, during the symposium. plants and trees.of west-central Minnesota. Thor joined the Society in the He also volunteers one day She currently lives in South early 1990s, when he learned about every week at the Science MuseumMinneapolis. Erika grew up in the young organization. Because he of Minnesota, preparing a website,St. Paul and then spent eight years had edited other newsletters, he was “Boghopper,” for secondary mathexploring and living in California, soon asked to edit the Minnesota and science teachers.Colorado, and Utah. Ultimately, Plant Press. He changed it from a mimeographed or copied collection New baby boom tothis Western wanderlust motivatedher to move back to the Midwest of unedited articles to a professional-and study what she loves most: looking newsletter. He served as editor through 1998. increase pressurenatural resources, ecology andconservation. Since then, Thor has proofread on environment every issue of the newsletter. He has by Gerry Drewry Erika has been a member of MN been especially helpful in catching A record number of babiesNPS for almost one and a half years. misspellings of Latin names and — 4,315,000 — were born inShe decided to become a board errors involving botanical rules, the United States in 2007. Themember because she felt she wanted botanical capitalization and previous record was in 1957, atto take it one step further and be grammar. the height of the baby boom. Thea part of this growing society of Thor served one term on the MN country’s overall population is nowvaried and remarkable individuals, NPS Board of Directors, participated nearly double that of the 1950s,and help the Society continue to in field trips and symposiums, and but the birth rate has slowed. Then attended many meetings. the average mother had about fourgrow to its finest potential. children; now that average is close Before coming to Minnesota, hePhenology data taught two years in Ohio. In 1990, to two. Immigration has been a major factor in this baby boom.being collected after 44 years at the University of Minnesota, he retired as a professor Mark Mather, demographer The USA National Phenology in the Department of Plant Pathology. from the Population ReferenceNetwork is facilitating systematic Thor taught about diseases of plants Bureau, talked about environmentalcollection and free dissemination and pesky plants — weeds and effects of this baby boom. “Weof phenological data from across poisonous varieties. He taught already have scarce resources in athe United States. Their primary veterinary medicine students about lot of areas,” he said. “It’s going topurpose is to support scientific plants poisonous to animals. affect, potentially, our water supply,research concerning interactions the quality of our air. Places that Thor still conducts two-day are already crowded are probablyamong plants, animals, and the workshops for the College oflower atmosphere, especially going to get more crowded in the Education, teaching elementary future.”the long-term impacts of climate school teachers and graduate studentschange. Additional information, about the plants of Minnesota. He This outlook makes the missionincluding local lists of plants they has conducted these workshops in of the Society even more urgent —are studying, is on the network’s Rochester, at the Minnesota Valley “education of the public regardingwebsite, www.uwm.edu/Dept/ Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, and environmental protection of plantGeography/npn/mission.html at the St. Paul campus. He shows life.”4
Maps of native plant President’s columncommunities areavailable Conservation beyond The Minnesota County BiologicalSurvey has prepared maps or Minnesota’s 150 years by Scott Milburnprovides electronic data about many This year marks an important milestone in the history of Minnesota, asof the native plant communities in we celebrate 150 years of statehood. In that time, the Minnesota landscapeMinnesota. In addition, MCBS has has seen many changes as a result of industry, agriculture, and overallpublished a report of their work in development. While I have only lived in Minnesota the last seven years,the Minnesota River Valley. I have come to truly appreciate its natural history. There is no greater This report, “Native Plant feeling than traveling around the state, encountering the rich flora. It isCommunities and Rare Species easy to focus on the negative aspects of anthropogenic landscape changes,of the Minnesota River Valley but we need to remember that there is still much around us. In lookingCounties,” includes a CD with two at my own appreciation of the Minnesota landscape, I have to considerseries of maps of the region. To whether this appreciation would have developed had my profession beenobtain a copy, contact MCBS at different. The reason to evaluate this point is that most people do not have651-259-5100, or ecoseervices@ an occupation that requires them to know much about natural history.dnr.state.mn.us or write to: This point is important to ponder, because we need to consider howDivision of Ecological Resources others view the natural world around them. Perhaps we can generalize andMinnesota Department of Natural state that most folks do care about these things, but they just don’t have theResources knowledge or experience to appreciate them to the fullest. These are the500 Lafayette Rd., Box 25 folks that we need to attract. Our approach should be to open the door forSt. Paul, MN 55155 these individuals, showing them an entire world they would have ignored To download maps or to see a list except for the occasional weekend camping trip. I feel we have a lot toof printed maps that are available, go offer for an organization that is run entirely by volunteers.to the DNR website, click on Maps As stated in other columns, we need to stick with what works.and scroll down to the bottom of the Programming and field trips are pivotal to the success of the Society, butpage. we need to look at new ways to attract members. It can be debated whetherSymposium has net programming over the last several years has had a nice balance of pieces we are too technical as an organization or not technical enough. Theprofit of $2,512 that serve to inform the Society very well. Our programming chair, Lindaby Gerry Drewry Huhn, has done a nice job of setting up the programs, and I look forward Treasurers Ron and Cathy Huber to what is in store this upcoming year. Field trips are another thing we doreport that the net proceeds of the very well. To those leading field trips, we thank you for doing so. YourApril 5 symposium were $2,511.52. efforts are appreciated, especially our field trip coordinator, Ken Arndt.Dues totalling $3,361 were the New field trip ideas are always welcomed.largest source of income from Jan.1 to June 30, 2008. During that In the upcoming year, the board will be tackling the issue of how to growperiod, income exceeded expenses while keeping within the mission set forth by the Society founders. Weby $5,448. will be looking at such issues as online outreach and the obvious problem The Society has total assets of of excess funds. We have quite a few opportunities to do some great things$27,725, including $8,361 in CDs. with these funds, and we will be sure to share these with you in upcoming As Scott Milburn wrote in the newsletters. All of these issues come back to our mission and the issue ofadjoining column, the MN NPS conservation.Board of Directors is discussing themost effective ways in which to use We need to keep discussing and promoting the issue of conservation assome of this money. Members are we surpass 150 years. Minnesota has numerous natural resources that areinvited to send their suggestions to quite special and need to be preserved for the future. What should be theScott at firstname.lastname@example.org role of our Society in that preservation? 5
Book review Volunteers are‘Bringing Nature Home’ needed at SNAsBringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens, Would you like to help aby Douglas W. Tallamy, published by Timber Press, Inc., Dec. 2007. Scientific and Natural Area? TheReviewed by Joel Dunnette, former MN NPS president. Minnesota DNR uses volunteers for I’m a nature nut, and I enjoy native plants for themselves and for their site management work, including collecting seeds, planting seedlingsembodiment of our place in the world. I started liking native plants for the and controlling exotic species.wonder and variety of interesting insects they attract and support. But I Volunteers also take photographs,now have another reason to plant, maintain and encourage the use of native write articles and do other tasks.vegetation. MN NPS has “adopted” Grey In Bringing Nature Home, Dr. Tallamy explains in an entertaining way Cloud Dunes SNA, but membershow the diversity of our native plants supports a much wider variety and are encouraged to help at any SNA.volume of insects than non-native plants. So why should people care about Most workdays are Saturdays, fromthis? Well, although more people enjoy birds than insects, the availability 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next scheduledof an abundance and variety of insects is critical to birds as they raise their workdays are at Lost Valley Prairieyoung. Baby birds eat a lot — and insects are what they mostly eat . SNA Aug. 23 and Sept. 27, and at Hastings Sand Coulee SNA Sept. Gardens of exotic flowers are starving the wild birds so many of us love. 27.Yards of mowed grass, with a few non-native shrubs, are no place to raisea bird family. For additional information, read the newsletter on the volunteer Native plants have evolved to live with native insects. Each species section of the DNR website, www.has its own kinds of insects that live on and with it. These insects not only dnr.state.mn.us/snas/index.html oruse native plants, but do so without destroying them. Native plants support call 651-259-5249. Walking in Thoreau’s pathsproduction of two to five times moreinsect food than do non-natives.Non-native flowers are unfamiliar toour insects, and may be “pest free,”but what many people call pests areessential to raising young birds. Infact, most insects are not harmful tohumans or crops. We assume guiltby association, so most people tryto kill nearly every insect they see.This harms the birds we love! If we want a world filled withwonder and a variety of creatures,and we continue to take up nearlyall productive land with our housesand shopping malls, then we needto provide the native plants thatare essential for the survival of thespecies we value. This book is full of usefulinformation, but is also fun to read.Dr. Tallamy is an entomologist More than 60 people “Walked with Thoreau” in Red Wing May 24.who truly loves nature, and clearly They retraced Thoreau’s exploration of Barn Bluff and located manycommunicates that love. If you care of the plants and flowers he recorded in his journals and letters. Theabout birds even a little, you will bluff towers over the Mississippi River. This field trip ws sponsored byenjoy reading this book. the Anderson Center in Red Wing. Photo by Ken Arndt.6
Plant Lore Is it a garden plant? It has been cultivated in Events plannedBy Thor Kommedahl moist, shady, woodsy places and on Labor Day weekend at KilenWhat is bluebead lily? propagated by division of rhizomes Bluebead lily, also known as or by planting seeds.corn lily, is Clintonia borealis in thelily family. Woods State Park Join Nancy Sather, MinnesotaHow did it get its names? County Biological Survey ecologist, Bluebead lily is named for its for a series of Sesquicentennialround, bright, steel-blue berries. natural history events at KilenIts leaves resemble corn leaves. Woods State Park on Labor DayClintonia is named after DeWitt weekend. The park is north of Lakefield in Jackson County.Clinton (1769-1828) who wrotebooks on natural history, was Activities will include forestresponsible for the construction of and prairie hikes, pioneer crafts and evening presentations aboutthe Erie Canal, and was governor landscape history and rare plants ofof New York. Borealis comes from the Des Moines River Valley. Comea Greek word meaning “of the the day before or stay an extra daynorth.” and help the DNR with prairie bushWhere does the plant grow? clover monitoring in the park. It is native to Minnesota among For additional information, checkother northern states and occurs the DNR Parks website at www.dnr.throughout the state in cool, moist state.mn.us/state_parks and go towoods and wooded bogs, in open the three-month events calendar. To volunteer with bush clover, send anshade. e-mail to: email@example.com.What does the plant look like? mn.us It is a perennial spreading byrhizomes, from 6 to 16 inches tall, Clean water tourwith two or three basal leaves. The shows native plantsbell-like flowers are pale yellow in Native plant installations thatumbels, three to eight on a leafless protect water quality are featured instalk. Flowers appear in May and the second annual Shoreview GreenJune, but steel-blue berries are Community Awards Tour, fromprominent late summer to fall. 12:30 to 5 p.m. Aug. 2 and 3. Clintonia borealis flowers,Parallel veins are conspicuous in This free, self-guided tour of berries. Both photos were takenleaves residential properties includes by Peter Dziuk. shoreline buffers that preventHas it any medicinal or edible lakeshore erosion, plus rain anduses? Society memberships habitat gardens that beautify yards American Indians applied fresh will be due in January while infiltrating storm runoff.poulticed leaves to burns, sores, MN NPS membership renewals Properties are in Shoreview andbruises, and rabid-dog bites. Roots are due in January, not in October the Grass Lake watershed portioncontain diosgenin (plant steroid as in past years. When the Society’s of Roseville. Maps are available board of directors voted in January at the Shoreview City Hall andused in synthesis of cortisone and to change to a calendar year, theyother steroid products). Very young Community Center and online at extended current memberships by www.ci.shoreview.mn.us. For moreleaves have been eaten as a potherb three months. information, call 651-483-3935. Theand fresh in a salad. The berries A membership form for renewals tour is sponsored by the Shorevieware tasteless. Though reported as and new members will be included Environmental Quality Committee,mildly poisonous, this has not been in the next issue of the Minnesota with assistance from the Sierra Clubconfirmed. Plant Press. North Star Chapter. 7
Minnesota Native Plant SocietyP.O. Box 20401Bloomington, MN 55420Summer 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.