Minnesota Plant Press The Minnesota Native Plant Society NewsletterVolume 29 Number 2 Spring 2010 Monthly meetings Thompson Park Center/Dakota Searching for the rare green dragon Lodge Thompson County Park 360 Butler Ave. E., West St. Paul, MN 55118 by Derek Anderson Programs The mention of dragons often conjures up images of giant lizard-like The Minnesota Native Plant animals flying, breathing fire and tormenting some kingdom. Usually, Society meets the first Thursday these mythical creatures capture a fair maiden and, in storybook fashion, in October, November, December, there is a chivalrous knight willing to venture into the darkest depths to February, March, April, May, and save her. June. Check at www.mnnps.org for more program information. Did you know that there are dragons living in Minnesota? Luckily, 6 p.m. — Social period these dragons are not nearly as dangerous as those well-known mythical 7 – 9 p.m. — Program, Society creatures. These dragons happen to be plants. business Green dragon (Arisaema dracontium) is a member of the arum family. May 6: “Gardening for You may be more familiar with a relative, the common jack-in-the-pulpitButterflies with Native Plants in (Arisaema triphyllum). The common name of green dragon possiblyMinnesota,” by Pat Thomas, wildlife comes from the deeply divided leaves resembling a dragon’s claw orgarden educator and photographer. perhaps by the tongue-like spathePlant-of-the-Month: Asclepias that grows out beyond the spadix inincarnata (swamp milkweed). the inflorescence. June 3: “Reconstructing Native This plant typically grows toPlant Communities in Minnesota; heights between one and three feetNew Seed Mixes, Planting and is flowering in May and June. Guidelines and Design Tools,” It is found in the wet forests locatedby Dan Shaw, Minnesota Board along rivers. Until recently, it wasof Water and Soil Resources; and thought that this plant was onlyKenneth Graeve, MnDOT Office Continued on page 3of Environmental Services. Plant-of-the-Month: Bromus ciliatus(fringed brome). Plant Sale: In this issue Society news ........................ ...2following meeting. All attendees Conservation Corner .................3may participate. For details, see St. Croix State Park blowdown .4article on page 5. New members ..........................4 Looking at lichens ....................5MNNPS website Plant sale ..................................5 Field trips ................................6 For information about Society Green dragon (Arisaema President’s Column ..................7field trips, meetings and events, dracontium), photo by Derek Plant Lore: Spring-beauty ........7check the website: www.mnnps.org Anderson.
Watch for new North American Prairie Conference is Aug. 1 - 5 MNNPS Boarddisplay and The 22nd North American Prairie of Directorsbrochure Conference will be Aug. 1 – 5 in President: Scott Milburn, Cedar Falls, Iowa, and surrounding email@example.com Elizabeth Heck areas. Its theme is “Restoring a The Minnesota Native Plant National Treasure.” For current Vice President: Shirley MahSociety has a new display to be information, go to the website: Kooyman, shirley.mah.kooyman@used at various events throughout http://napc2010.org mnnps.orgthe year. It highlights our mission Secretary, program coordinator:and the opportunities offered monthly meetings. Andrés Morantes, andres.by the Society and also features To further educate the public about firstname.lastname@example.orgMinnesota’s state flower, the Society activities, the Membershipshowy lady’s slipper, Cypripedium Brochure has been updated. The Treasurer, membership datareginae. base: Ron and Cathy Huber, ron. brochure is designed to print on any email@example.com The display will help engage home or office printer for nominalthose who may not be aware of printing costs, allowing board Derek Anderson, board member,the Society and encourage growth members and officers to print when firstname.lastname@example.org our membership. It is designed needed, and allowing downloads Ken Arndt, board member, fieldto be retractable for easy carrying, from the website for anyone to print trip chair, email@example.com and storage. Look for it at our and share. Michael Bourdaghs, boardSand dunes are fascinating member, mnnps.org michael.bourdaghs@ This year’s annual Society symposium, “Sand Dunes of Minnesota Angela Hanson, board member, and Beyond,” was held March 27 at the University of Minnesota’s Bell firstname.lastname@example.org Museum. It took an in-depth look at the unique sand dune communities which host many endemic and specialized species and increasingly rare Elizabeth Heck, board member, plants. webmaster, elizabeth.heck@mnnps. Speakers described how inland and shoreland sand dunes were org formed; the different shapes of dunes; the plants, birds, mammals, reptiles Dylan Lueth, board member, and amphibians that live on dunes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Upper email@example.com Michigan; and the management and restoration of dunes. 133 people Elizabeth Nixon, board member, attended the all-day event. It also included exhibits by a variety of firms conservation committee chair, beth. and organizations. A highlight of this year’s event was a showing of a firstname.lastname@example.org portion of the film Sand Country Wildlife by well-known naturalist Walter Erika Rowe, board member, Breckenridge. (See our president’s column on page 7.) email@example.com Russ Schaffenberg, board member, russ.schaffenberg@ mnnps.org Field Trips: fieldtrips.mnnps@ mnnps.org Memberships: memberships. firstname.lastname@example.org Historian-Archives: Roy Robison, historian-archives. email@example.com Technical or membership inquiries: contact.mnnps@mnnps. org Minnesota Plant Press Editor: Presenters Dr. Walter Loope (left) and Dr. Kerry Keen discuss dune Gerry Drewry, 651-463-8006; research during a break in the program. Photo by Angela Hanson. firstname.lastname@example.org
Green Dragon(Continued from page 1) Conservation Corner by Beth Nixonfound in the floodplain forests along This is spring wildflower season and also legislative season. It is a goodthe Mississippi River. However, in time to reflect on rules and regulations that might enhance the MNNPS2008, Derek Anderson found a few mission and conservation of native plants across Minnesota.plants on a tributary of the Cedar One of the most important pieces of legislation in a long time startedRiver in western Mower County. a couple of years ago with the constitutional amendment for dedicatedThat same year, Paul Bockenstedt, a outdoor heritage funding for the next 25 years. Its projects can go far tocontractor, found a few plants on the conserve and restore native plants and habitats. It will be up to all of us toBlue Earth River in western Faribault revisit this issue each session an appropriations bill is crafted in the HouseCounty. Derek and Fred Harris and Senate. It is important that the language in future appropriations billschecked into additional locations continues to reflect the importance of native plants as the cornerstone ofin 2009 and found dragons in more restoration projects. The place to speak on behalf of this will continue for the foreseeable future to be the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council, earlylocations on the Blue Earth, Cedar, in the legislative session.North Fork Zumbro, and Straightrivers and Dodge Center Creek. This session’s bill contains the following language for project requirements: “to the extent possible, a person conducting restoration As a result of these finds, we with money appropriated in this section must plant vegetation or sow seedwould like to more thoroughly only of ecotypes native to Minnesota, and preferably of the local ecotype,search these and additional sites in using a high diversity of species originating from as close to the restoration2010 to get a better handle of how site as possible, and protect existing native prairies, grasslands, forests,extensive the plants are in southern wetlands, and other aquatic systems from genetic contamination.” WhileMinnesota. this language appears to quite deliberately have the intent of restoring lands across Minnesota with native plants, it could be made stronger by Are you interested in venturing deleting the first clause, “to the extent possible.”into the dark depths of the green Besides speaking at Lessard Council meetings in the winter (which candragon’s lair? All are welcome, be hard to do during the middle of the work day), it is never too soon forbut this may not be an adventure MNNPS members and others to contact their representatives and ask themfor the faint of heart. Typically the to consider making the language more explicit during the next writing ofhabitat is damp and may require the appropriations bill by deleting this clause.crossing small streams, rivers, and/ The implications of requiring use of native seed or plant material areor backwater channels. Mosquitoes significant. Creating a certain and steady market for native seed throughare usually present, and the stinging the Lessard appropriations ought to allow for expansion of the volumewood nettle is plentiful. produced by suppliers. This in turn can finally bring the volume to levels needed to support native seed supply for other programs, such as roadside If you are interested in this prairies and federal conservation programs, and reduce the use of nonnativeadventure, please contact Derek introduced species for grassland cover (which can still be commonly usedAnderson at Derek.Anderson@ and introduce a bio-stressor to nearby high quality plant communities).state.mn.us For other conservation issues of merit to the MNNPS, visit the Society Blog from the homepage of the website.Would you liketo be an editor? Out-of-print books have been reprinted We are looking for a member who Books about native plants, published by the University of Minnesotawould like to be a back-up editor or Press, that have been out of print are again available. They include:take over the position of producing • Ferns and Fern Allies of Minnesota, by C. O. Rosendahl and F. K. Butters;the Minnesota Plant Press. As with • A Flora of Northeastern Minnesota, by O. Lakela;all of the Society’s positions, this • Minnesota’s Endangered Fauna and Flora, by B. A. Coffin and L.is a volunteer job. The quarterly Pfannmuller;newsletter is currently produced with • Trees and Shrubs of the Upper Midwest, by C. O. Rosendahl; andAdobe’s InDesign program. For • Vascular Plants of Minnesota: A Checklist and Atlas, by G. B. Ownbeyadditional information, e-mail Gerry and T. Morley.Drewry at email@example.com For a complete list of titles, see Minnesota Archive Editions at http://or call 651-463-8006. www.upress.umn.edu/html/backinprint.html 3
Benefits of blowdown in Vegetative responses already observed in the restoration area haveSt. Croix State Park varied from alum root, prairie phlox, hoary and hairy puccoon, veiny pea,by Gretchen Heaser, area resource specialist, State Parks and Trails, DNR. spreading dogbane, frostweed/rockThis is a summary of her talk at the Dec. 3, 2009, MNNPS meeting. rose, wood lily, butterfly milkweed, On July 11, 2008, straight-line winds blew through Pine County, low bindweed, pale vetchling,affecting more than 420 acres of forest in Saint Croix State Park. Although big and little bluestems and otherthe blowdown left thousands of mangled and uprooted trees, it displayed grasses, and prairie forbs.the perfect opportunity to restore some of Minnesota’s rarest ecologicalcommunities. MNNPS welcomes Pine barrens and oak savannas are listed as critically imperiled in the new membersstate and are imperiled globally. These ecological communities depend on The Society gives a warm welcome to 33 new members whofrequent disturbances, such as fire, to maintain the open, unshaded ground joined during the first quarter oflayer and to allow the sun-loving prairie species to thrive. 2010. Historically, St. Croix State Park contained more than 3,000 acres of Listed alphabetically, they are:jack pine barrens and oak savanna habitats. Now only 70 acres remain. Caleb Ashling, Minneapolis;The St. Croix State Park Unit Resource Plan, established for the park in Bruce Beese, St. Paul;spring of 2008, set goals to restore 900 acres of these habitats by 2017. Tiffany Blackwell, Prior Lake; Rosanne Busch, Lonsdale;The blowdown presented the park with an opportunity to jumpstart this Monika Chandler, Falcon Heights;restoration. James Crants, Minneapolis; St. Croix initiated a commercial timber sale in the fall and winter of Heather Cusick, Minneapolis;2008 that harvested and salvaged the 420 blowdown acres and an additional Tracey Dickinson, St. Paul;250 adjacent acres that were outlined in the plan. The timber sale was the Dr. William E. Faber, Brainerd;first step in the restoration effort to selectively remove the downed timber Valerie Galajda, Minneapolis; Jennifer Gillen, Minneapolis;and prepare the area for prescribed fire. The harvest was completed by Lisa Gilliland, Hugo;December 15, 2008, and prescribed burning was carried out in the southern Matthew Graeve, Little Falls;extent of the sale area in the spring of 2009. Additional prescribed burns Melissa Hansen, Golden Valley;are scheduled for the 2010 field season. Bill Hogseth, Menomonie, Wis.; Theresa Klaman, Lino Lakes; Jeanne LaBore, Minneapolis; Beth Landahl, Minneapolis; Doug Livingston, Brainerd; Walter Loope, Munsing, Mich.; Don Luce, Minneapolis; Onen and Sheila Markeson, Bemidji; Nora and Scott McPherson, Hopkins; Keir Morse, Lindstrom; Gordon Murdock, Minneapolis; Bob Neal, White Bear Lake; Anna Peschel, St. Paul; Imke Schmitt, Minneapolis; Molly Schweinfurter, Redwood Falls; Christopher Smith, St. Paul; Carol Strojny, St. Paul; Connie Taillon, Stillwater; Jack pine savanna in St. Croix State Park. Photo by Gretchen Heaser, Virginia Wright-Peterson, courtesy of Minnesota DNR. Rochester.4
Looking at When conditions improve, e.g. when water vapor is available, the lichen immediately begins to be be visualized under a UV lamp. In the lab, we use thin layer or high pressure chromatography to analyzelichensby Imke Schmitt, Ph.D.,assistant metabolically active again. Lichen-forming fungi are lichen compounds. It is not easy to say whether theprofessor, plant biology, University very sensitive to certain human relationship between the fungalof Minnesota. This is a summary of influences. For example, lichens are partner and the photosyntheticher presentation at the Feb. 4, 2010, very sensitive to sulfur dioxide, the partner in the lichen symbiosis isMNNPS meeting. chemical responsible for acid rain. one of mutual benefit. The fungal Lichens are ubiquitous elements Changes in pH value caused by the partner has been described as thein all ecosystems. They can grow presence of this substance can kill dominant partner in the relationship,on various substrates such as rock, the entire lichen flora of a region. because it controls the morphologybark, soil, or man-made surfaces Human activities that cause changes of the lichen body, suppresses sexualincluding abandoned cars, walls, in microclimate, nutrient supply, and reproduction in the algal partners,and metal signposts. Whatever availability of permanent structures and uses structures found also inmaterial the lichen grows on, it has for attachment, such as agriculture parasitic fungi (haustoria) to extractto be in the same place for a long and logging, are also threatening the sugars from its photosyntheticperiod of time. Lichens are very slow lichen flora. Since lichens react to partner. Also, most lichen fungi aregrowing and need substrates that are such influences more quickly than not known to occur as free-livingnot changing much over time (trees vascular plants, they have been used species, whereas the algal partnersin old growth forests, graveyard extensively as biological indicators. thrive well without their fungalstones, old walls). If that condition Many lichens produce so-called symbiont. For these reasons, theis fulfilled, lichens can grow almost lichen substances that give them lichen symbiosis has been describedanywhere, from saltwater spray a vivid color or strong unpleasant as “controlled parasitism.” However,zones, to the tropical rain forest, to taste. Because of the presence of looking at the lichen symbiosiscentral Antarctica, where they live these natural products (secondary from an ecological standpoint, it issubmerged in rock. metabolites), lichens have a variety clear that neither of the two partners Lichens are successful in of traditional and present day uses. can survive without the other in thecolonizing diverse niches in extreme They can be used for dyeing wool and types of habitat they occur in. Thushabitats because they consist of two cloth; they are used as ingredients of most lichenologists today agree thator more symbiotic partners that aid perfumes, or medicines. Animals, a lichen is a mutualistic symbiosis.each other in survival. The main such as reindeer, eat lichens tobody of the lichen is made up of survive the winter, and birds use Plant sale: June 3a fungus, which is using a special lichens as nesting materials. Our annual native plant sale willform of nutrition — it houses Research on lichen systematics be held on the patio outside Dakotamicroorganisms that can use the involves collecting, identifying and Lodge at the end of our June meeting.sunlight to produce sugars through herbarium data-basing specimens, We encourage all who attend tophotosynthesis. The sugars serve followed by molecular analysis. We bring their own native plants to theas food source for the fungus. The sequence and compare fragments sale. Those who donate plants willphotosynthetic microorganisms of the DNA of the fungal partner get the first choices.are single-celled green algae to understand how lichen-forming Bring labeled, potted plants byor cyanobacteria. This mutual fungi are related to one another and 6 p.m. so volunteers have time tosymbiosis makes the lichen, which how they fit into the fungal tree of life. price them and set up the area. Onlyis more precisely called “lichenized We know now that the lichen lifestyle native plants from Minnesota can befungus,” nutritionally independent evolved many times independently included. No cultivars (horticulturalof the substrate it lives on. during fungal evolution. Identifying selection) of native plants should be A second property makes lichen- lichens often requires information brought (e.g. ‘Goldstrum’ black-forming fungi well adapted to about the chemical composition eyed Susan). Plants should beextreme environments — when of the specimen. Simple tests to from your own property, or otherconditions are unfavorable, e.g. identify lichen compounds are so- private property (with that owner’sduring draught or extreme UV called spot tests, where a droplet permission); not from publicexposure, the lichen body dries out of reagent, e.g. bleach, is added to property. Dig your plants two to fourand all metabolic activities stop. the specimen and causes a color weeks before the sale. To volunteer,In this condition, the lichen is very change of the fungal mycelium. contact Ken Arndt at karndt@resilient to environmental stress. Some compounds fluoresce and can ccesinc.com or 651-249-7080. 5
Register Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, the oldest wildflower garden in the country. The 103-year-old garden is Sunday, June 13, 2 to 5 p.m., join Hannah Texler, DNR regional plant ecologist; and Virginia Blakesley,now for a home to over 500 species of plants, all within 14 acres. We will visit the DNR SNA program staff, for an afternoon hike into Uncas Dunesfield tripby Ken Arndt woodland and wetland areas and see many spring wildflowers, including lady’s slipper orchids, hepatica, SNA for a look at sand dune plant communities and the critters that call this place home. Uncas Dunes The MNNPS has planned field bloodroot, skunk cabbage, trilliums, SNA is located within the Anokatrips for spring and summer. A few baneberry, Virginia bluebells, Sandplain near Zimmerman andmore trips are in the planning stages bellwort, marsh marigold, false rue contains a relic dune field associatedfor late summer and fall. You can anemone, blue cohosh, and violets. with Glacial Lake Grantsburg.register for any of the field trips by Saturday, May 22, 9 a.m. to Natural plant communities foundvisiting our website (www.mnnps. 1 p.m., join Steve Eggers, senior here include oak savanna, oakorg) and going to the field trip page ecologist for the St. Paul District forest, and wetland. The trip is aor by attending one of our monthly Corps of Engineers, for a morning follow-up to this year’s symposiummeetings, where sign-up sheets are of wetland plant identification at on sand dune communities and willout for the members. Information Savage Fen Scientific and Natural give participants a chance to seewill be posted on the website as Area in Savage, Minn. Savage Fen this place that was discussed duringdetails become available. SNA is notable for its rare wetland several of the talks. Field trips are just one of the plant community. A series of alkaline Saturday, July 3, 4 to 6 p.m.,benefits of being a member of our seeps and springs emerge from the join Barb Delaney, botanist andSociety. Most trips have a limited base of a bluff formed of calcareous MNNPS member, for a hike intonumber of registrants due to site- glacial deposits, which were left by Wisconsin Sterling Barrens Statesensitive areas we will encounter. the Des Moines lobe at the end of Natural Area located south ofThis year’s field trips will take the Wisconsin Glacial period. This Grantsburg, Wis., for another lookparticipants to several regions of trip will take participants through at sand dune plant communities.the state, where you will see spring a sedge-dominated fen, where you Located in pitted outwash depositswildflowers of forests and wetlands; will be able to observe state-listed laid down by glacial melt-watersand dune communities in Minnesota endangered, threatened and special streams, Wisconsin Sterlingand Wisconsin; and many other concern species, including sterile Barrens State Natural Area containsunique plant communities. sedge and white lady’s-slipper a jack pine-Hill’s oak dry forest Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m. to 1 orchids in bloom; and other showy interspersed with barrens openingsp.m., join Scott Milburn, MNNPS fen species such as northern bog and an extensive wetland of sedgepresident and senior botanist/ violet and shrubby cinquefoil. meadow and shrub-carr. Theecologist for Midwest Natural Thursday, June 10, 6 to 8 p.m., gently rolling barrens openings areResources; and Daniel Jones, join Karen Schik, Friends of the interspersed with prairie species.MNNPS board member and senior Mississippi River ecologist; Tom Several rare forbs are at or near theirecologist for Barr Engineering, at Lewanski, conservation director natural eastern range limit. SterlingNerstrand-Big Woods State Park for FMR; and Dave Crawford, Barrens is owned by the Nationalfor a morning of hiking and plant MNNPS member and “retired” Park Service and the Wisconsinidentification. This fine example of DNR naturalist from Wild River DNR. The site was designated a“Big Woods” is home to many spring State Park, for an evening of prairie State Natural Area in 1979 andephemerals, including bloodroot, plant identification at Hastings Sand expanded to include the St. Croixtrillium, hepatica, rue anemone and Coulee SNA. This is a dry sand Scenic Riverway in 2002.bellwort. Participants will also prairie of about 80 acres located Blooms Day is May 15see the habitat where the federally just beyond the southern edge of Metro Blooms is sponsoringendangered dwarf trout lily grows. Hastings. The largest of a few sand Blooms Day from 8:30 a.m. to 1 Saturday, May 15, 9 to 11 gravel prairies left in Dakota County, p.m. May 15 at Kenny Communitya.m., join Elizabeth Heck, MNNPS it is home to rare plants including School, 5720 Emerson Ave. S.,board member and Eloise Butler James’ polanisia (endangered) and Minneapolis. The group sponsorsWildflower Garden naturalist; and sea-beach needle grass. This is a rain gardens and encouragesShirley Mah Kooyman, MNNPS joint field trip with Friends of the urban native plantings. Forvice president and wild flower Mississippi River and will be limited more information, go to www.enthusiast, for a stroll through the to 18 MNNPS members. metroblooms.org6
Plant Loreby Thor Kommedahl President’s column by Scott MilburnWhat is spring-beauty? Spring has arrived a bit sooner than expected, but is very welcome. As Spring-beauty, also called we enter this season, we can reflect on recent highlights for the Society. WeVirginia spring-beauty, is Claytoniahave just hosted another great symposium, looking at the Sand Dunes ofvirginica, and it has been includedin the purslane family; now single central vein. Shoots grow Minnesota and Beyond, at the Bellsome include it in the Montia from a corm. Seeds are enclosed in Museum. We had a great lineup offamily (Montiaceae). It is called a three-valve capsule. The blooms speakers. I would like to also point“Miskodeed” (an Indian name) are insect-pollinated (mostly bees out the hard work and efforts of and butterflies). my fellow symposium committeein Longfellow’s The Song of members — Erika Rowe, AngelaHiawatha. Where does the plant grow? Hanson, Shirley Mah Kooyman, Saw the earliest flower of Spring- It is a native plant growing in and Daniel Jones. time, rich woods and thickets in the One addition to the symposium Saw the beauty of Spring-time, eastern half of Minnesota, except was the film Sand Country Wildlife Saw the Miskodeed in blossom. the arrowhead. It is an early spring by Walter Breckenridge. WalterHow did it get its names? flower that is gone by midsummer. served as Bell Museum director for Is it edible, medicinal, or Its attractive spring flowers in nearly 25 years. During this time,large patches describe its name. poisonous? he filmed a series documenting theThe species is found westward into It is edible. Native Americans natural history of Minnesota. SeveralMinnesota. Claytonia is named and colonists ate the corms for food; of these films had been transferredfor John Clayton (1694-1773), a the corm has a sweet, chestnut- to digital format. However, one stillnaturalist in colonial Virginia. like flavor. It is not medicinal or remaining on 16 mm film — SandWhat do the plants look like? poisonous. Country Wildlife — was pertinent Has it any economic value? Spring-beauty is a low perennial to the symposium topic. We workedplant with clusters (racemes) of Only in gardens or as ground with Barbara Coffin of the Bell cover; it is spectacular in large Museum, and our board approvedfive pink or whitish petals that arestriped with dark pink veins. Therepatches and may bloom for a month. donating $1,300 of Society funds Seeds mature in early summer and to transfer the film to digital format.are two sepals. It has a pair of grass-like, opposite leaves, each with a can be sown as soon as they ripen. We showed much of the film at the symposium and will show it again at a monthly meeting. This is one of the most important contributions we have made. The film not only documents a component of Minnesota’s natural history, but also a great natural historian. In other news, I thank Angela Hanson for her contributions to the Society. She has been actively involved and is a board member. She has been extremely generous with her time and efforts. Angela will soon be taking a job in Austin, Texas, and will be leaving the board. We will miss her. At a recent board meeting, the idea of paying for memberships and symposium registrations online was discussed. We now have a small group looking into the specifics. I can also announce that Daniel Jones was elected and Russ Schaffenberg Spring-beauty (Claytonia virginica), photo by Shirley Mah Kooyman. re-elected to the board in March. 7
Minnesota Native Plant SocietyP.O. Box 20401Bloomington, MN 55420Spring 2010 Directions: Take MN Hwy. 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.