Minnesota Plant Press The Minnesota Native Plant Society Newsletter www.mnnps.orgVolume 30 Number 4 Fall 2011 Monthly meetings Thompson Park Center/Dakota Lodge Fires play critical role in Thompson County Park 360 Butler Ave. E., West St. Paul, MN 55118 ecosystem of BWCA by Scott Milburn Programs It has been very interesting following the events and discussion regarding the Pagami Creek Fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The Minnesota Native Plant Society meets the first Thursday There is obviously concern for the well-being of those directly affected. in October, November, December, Yet, we need to examine the situation for what it is. February, March, April, May, and The majority of the fire, which impacted more than 92,000 acres, was June. Check at www.mnnps.org contained at the time of writing this piece. It has been my impression, based for more program information. on quotes and commentary in the print media, that some members of the 6 p.m. — Social period public believe fire suppression should be reconsidered as a management 7 – 9 p.m. — Program, Society tool, and there is a great deal of outrage towards the Forest Service for business allowing this fire to evolve. What appears lost is an understanding of the Nov. 3: “For Love of Lakes,” role and importance of fire on the landscape, particularly in the BWCA.by Darby Nelson, Ph.D. Plant-of-the-Month: Watershield (Brasenia I find the political theatre by members of the legislature suggesting thatschreberi), also by Dr. Nelson. Fall the Minnesota attorney general and the DNR sue the Forest Service asseed exchange: After the meeting; sad. Their point is that this fire is responsible for damages to state forestsee details below. lands and lost revenue. The timber itself is an agricultural commodity and Dec. 1: To be announced. should be thought of in terms of crop success and failure. Farming is by no means a safe financial bet, with good years followed by bad years. It is Feb. 2: To be announced. also disappointing that these legislators do not appear to demonstrate an understanding of ecology, particularly in the districts they represent.Seed exchange Nov. 4 Members are encouraged to Fortunately a great deal of research has been ongoing in the BWCA,collect seeds from native plants on much in part due to the past work of Bud Heinselman. Bud stressedtheir own property and bring them the importance of fire on this landscape. The general concept is easy toto the tables just inside the lodge understand – it is a nutrient-poor system that relies on fire to release nutrients.before the meeting. In this issue His work is a must read. Despite the Seeds must be packaged in significant landscape change we areenvelopes or small containers and now seeing, this system is a resilient Conservation Corner................2labeled with the plant’s name, one and one to truly appreciate. 30K celebration ......................3scientific name (if known), habitat Arden Aanestad ......................3type, location of source, and name Miron (Bud) Heinselman Bud, a former forest ecologist New members ..........................3of donor. State wetland survey ..............4 with the U.S. Forest Service, Ken Arndt is in charge of the advocated for the preservation Peatlands studied.....................5exchange. He needs volunteers New state record plant ..............5 of Minnesota’s Boundary Watersto receive the seeds, help arrange Lake Vermilion Park plants ...6 Canoe Area as wilderness.them, answer questions, and take Plant Lore: Diervilla lonicera ..7down the tables. Continued on page 7
Conservation Corner MNNPS Boardby Beth Nixon of Directors Autumn is a time to drum up ideas with your friends and fellow MNNPS President: Scott Milburn, scott.members to advance habitat and native plant conservation measures in email@example.com proposals for the next session. Vice President: Shirley Mah Some of our best conservation is occurring from the ongoing slowdown Kooyman, shirley.mah.kooyman@in land conversion to suburbia. However, might there be other strategic mnnps.orgapproaches to this conservation by default? We have financially incentivizedprivate lands stewardship, but how about smart community planning that Secretary, program coordinator:reverses the decades-old suburbanization of every little town across the Andrés Morantes, andres.state? firstname.lastname@example.org I’ve been following strongtowns.org this year and their wise and rational Treasurers, membership data base:arguments for long-term fiscal sustainability of local government. This also Ron and Cathy Huber, ron.huber@turns out, in my view, to be a perfect vehicle for advancing a conservation mnnps.orgagenda. Ken Arndt, board member, field What land conservationist hasn’t railed against the demise of a local trip chair, email@example.com or other undeveloped remnant by foolishly conceived local planning?The economic squeeze is not an evil — it is forcing change from local Michael Bourdaghs, board member,governments’ revolving door with local officials and local landowners who firstname.lastname@example.org together to concoct quick bucks from land development plans. Otto Gockman, board member, The economic squeeze will hopefully continue to force out land- email@example.com, poorly planned, sprawling towns. But those who stand to lose Elizabeth Heck, board member,usually can’t be expected to go webmaster, firstname.lastname@example.org. Take some time this fall to Black walnuts aplenty orgread up on the progressive ideas at Naturalists in southeastermstrongtowns.org and consider how Minnesota are reporting a bumper Daniel Jones, board member,you can get your elected officials harvest of black walnuts. Dave email@example.com embrace change, and, by default, Palmquist, naturalist at Whitewater Mike Lynch, board member, mike.adopt land-planning practices that State Park, said it’s the best crop he’s firstname.lastname@example.org open areas. seen in 38 years at the park. Elizabeth Nixon, board member, conservation committee chair, beth. email@example.com Minnesota Native Plant Society’s purpose Erika Rowe, board member, erika. (Abbreviated from the bylaws) firstname.lastname@example.org This organization is exclusively organized and operated for Field Trips: fieldtrips.mnnps@ educational and scientific purposes, including the following. mnnps.org 1. Conservation of all native plants. Memberships: memberships. 2. Continuing education of all members in the plant sciences. email@example.com 3. Education of the public regarding environmental protection of plant life. Historian-Archives: Roy Robison, 4. Encouragement of research and publications on plants native to historian-archives.mnnps@mnnps. org Minnesota. 5. Study of legislation on Minnesota flora, vegetation, ecosytems. Technical or membership 6. Preservation of native plants, plant communities, and scientific and inquiries: contact.mnnps@mnnps. natural areas. org 7. Cooperation in programs concerned with the ecology of natural Minnesota Plant Press Editor: resources and scenic features. Gerry Drewry, 651-463-8006; 8. Fellowship with all persons interested in native plants through firstname.lastname@example.org meetings, lectures, workshops, and field trips. Questions? Go to our website: www.mnnps.org2
30K celebration at Bailey Reminder: It’s time to payHerbarium is Nov. 15 your duesat St. John’s University The MNNPS operates on a calendar-year basis, so dues are The Colleges of St. Benedict/St. John’s University Bailey Herbarium payable in January. Members maywill celebrate its 30,000th specimen with a program and tours at 6:30 p.m. pay at the November or DecemberTuesday, Nov. 15. meeting, if they wish. (We do not “A herbarium is a collection of pressed, dried, labeled and identified meet in January.)plants; in essence, a reference libraryof plants,” said Stephen G. Saupe,CSB/SJU Biology Department Remembering We do not send out dues notices, so this reminder will be the only one that you receive.professor and herbarium curator. The 30K Day festivities will be Arden Aanestad Download the membership form Arden Aanestad of Edina, aheld in Peter Engel Science Center, long-time member of the Minnesota from our website (www.mnnps.org)Room 373, on the campus of Saint Native Plant Society, died Aug. 27 or fill in one at a meeting. Mail theJohn’s University, Collegeville, at age 86. He received a bachelor form or just send the informationMinn. The program will begin of science degree from North and your check to:with a brief welcome at 6:30 p.m, Dakota State University, and a Minnesota Native Plant Societyfollowed by a presentation entitled master’s degree in entomology P.O. Box 20401“What is the Bailey Herbarium and from Washington State University. Bloomington, MN 55420.Why Celebrate?” by Dr. Saupe. His career centered on agricultural Membership categories This will be followed by a chemicals; he co-founded the • $15 - Individualpresentation entitled “A Botanist successful Castle Chemical Co., • $15 - Family (Two or moreLoose in the Herbarium” by Michael which he later sold. individuals at the same address)Lee, a Minnesota DNR botanist An early retirement enabled • $8 - Student (Full time)who has worked extensively in the Arden to dedicate his time to his • $8 - Senior (Over 62 orherbarium. love of nature. He was a park retired) His presentation will be naturalist at Richardson Nature • $20 - Institutionfollowed by a ceremonial stamping Center in Bloomington for nearly • $25 - Donorof the 30,000th specimen, which 30 years and was named Minnesota • $300 - Lifetime memberis a moccasin-flower orchid Tree Farmer of the Year in 2009.(Cypripedium acaule) collected by Include your name, full address, He was active in many nature telephone number (work and/orMichael Lee. Welby Smith, botanist organizations and especially lovedwith the Minnesota DNR and the birds. He was a past president of home) and e-mail address.author of Orchids of Minnesota, Izaak Walton League, Ruffed Grousewill be the keynote speaker and will Society, and the Lake Washburndiscuss Minnesota orchids. Association, and for 25 years MNNPS welcomes Tours of the herbarium will contributed to Cornell University’s new membersfollow the presentations, and visitors Project Feeder Watch. Arden was a The Society gives a warm welcomewill have the opportunity to make master bird bander, mentored bird to eight new members who joinedsouvenir herbarium magnets. banders, taught bird-watching, and during the third quarter of 2011. This program is free and open to led many bird-watching trips. He did Listed alphabetically, they are:the public. For more information, most of his bird banding in northern Gary A. Carson, Brainerd;contact Dr. Stephen Saupe, CSB/SJU Minnesota, on his tree farm.Biology Department, Collegeville, Arden belonged to many nature Paul Dubuque, Duluth; CarolAnn Hook, Burnsville;MN 56321, or 320-363-2782, or organizations, including the Naturesend an e-mail to ssaupe@csbsju. Conservancy, the Minnesota Thomas Huette, Cass Lake;edu. Mycological Society, and the Kathleen Jones, Wayzata; Minnesota Arboretum. He liked to Sheila Marfell, Oakdale; This program is jointly sponsored hunt and fish, and traveled to many Kathryn Resner;by the Saint John’s Arboretum and countries in the world. Ed Wehling, Coon Rapids.CSB/SJU Bailey Herbarium. 3
MPCA Begins Statewide ‘Barney’ trapsWetland Quality Survey reveal spreadby Michael Bourdaghs of ash borer effort conducted by the U.S. This summer, staff members Environmental Protection Agency Three-sided purple “Barney”from the Minnesota Pollution and will support Minnesota’s goal traps are being used to detect theControl Agency (MPCA) have of achieving no net loss in the leading edges of the emerald ashbeen busy sampling vegetation in quantity, quality, and biological borer infestation. The traps, whichwetlands across the state. It’s part diversity of wetlands by providing are named for the cartoon dinosaurof a statewide wetland condition the first comprehensive statewide of the same color, are baited with aassessment aimed at measuring estimate of wetland quality. It will chemical lure and coated with glue.the overall quality of Minnesota’s also complement an ongoing survey They were developed by the U.S.wetlands. from the Minnesota DNR that tracks Forest Service, which distributed The survey works much like a the status and trends of wetland 61,500 to state and local conservationpolitical poll, where the opinions of a quantity in the state. groups in all 48 states this year.group can be estimated by randomly From June to September, Since the beetles were discoveredsurveying a limited number of crews traveled to sites from Eagle near Detroit in 2002, they have spreadindividuals. First, wetland sites of Mountain in the far northeast to to 15 states and Ontario. Forestersall types were selected at random Pipestone County in southwest no longer consider eradication athroughout the state. Sampling and many points in between, possibility; instead, they want tocrews then visit the sites and conduct sampling vegetation in all varieties slow the spread to protect as manya detailed vegetation survey and, of swamps, bogs, fresh meadows, of the nation’s 9.5 billion ash treesat a subset of sites, collect more and marshes. Many of the state’s as possible. The Barney trap is thedetailed data such as soils and water wetland orchids were observed, and strategy’s centerpiece. If officialschemistry. a modest number of listed species know where the beetles are and This information will then be records were made. where they are going, they have aused to make an assessment of The highlight of the field season chance to slow them down.wetland quality at the site based on was accessing nine sites in thepreviously established metrics and Each side of the trap is corrugated peatlands of north-central Minnesota plastic, 14 inches wide by 24 inchescriteria. Because all of the sites via helicopter. The linear-leavedare selected at random, the results high. They are tinted a deep purple (Drosera linearis) and English (D. (the color the beetles preferred),should reflect the overall quality of anglica) sundews, which only occurMinnesota’s 10+ million acres of folded to form a prism and coated in the patterned fens in the heart of with glue. The chemical lurewetlands. these vast wetland complexes, were This work is being done in includes manuka oil from a tree in both observed at a few of the sites. New Zealand. Each trap costs aboutconjunction with a similar national To date, the MPCA has sampled $9; the lure packet costs $5. over 100 of the 150 sites targeted for the survey, with sampling scheduled New York State has spent $1 to be completed in 2012. million this year to survey and slow the spread of the beetles. Research grants Campgrounds are among the target Prairie Biotic Research is again areas. offering grants of up to $1,000 to Foresters are using information individuals for the study of prairies from 6,560 Barney traps and making and savannas. This all-volunteer “sink trees.” They remove a strip Wisconsin nonprofit was established of bark about six inches wide all in 2000 to foster basic biotic research around the trunks of the designated Bog at sunrise with Tussock in prairies and savannas. cotton grass (Eriophorum sink trees. Great numbers of the vaginatum ssp. spissum) and Many previous grants have beetles are drawn to these locations Bog rosemary (Andromeda supported graduate student research. instead of spreading throughout a polifolia var. glaucophylla) in Proposals must be received by Jan. forest. In winter, the sink trees will bloom, Pine County. Photo by 5, 2012. For additional information, be cut down, and most of the larvae Michael Bourdaghs. go to prairiebioticresearch.org will die.4
Peatlands many problems with accessing these remote places.are focus of The Red Lake Peatland has been of particular focus for the past twocounty surveys summers because it is the largest and most diversely patterned peatlandby Erika Rowe, MCBS plantecologist in the United States. It is also the As part of the ongoing statewide southernmost of the boreal peatlandssurvey by the DNR’s Minnesota in North America. Its southerlyCounty Biological Survey (MCBS), position makes it a bellwether forrecent attention has been focused the impacts of climate change onon the patterned peatlands of northern peatlands.northwestern Minnesota. One of the most pressing Peatlands cover over six million concerns is that climate changeacres, or more than 10 percent of will dry peat surfaces, causingthe state, and are internationally rapid decomposition of peat andrecognized for their ecological the release of large quantities ofsignificance. In addition to their carbon dioxide and methane intoecosystem-level importance, the atmosphere.Minnesota’s peatlands provide During the past two summers, This Botrychium crenulatumhabitat for over two dozen rare plant MCBS has worked with Dr. Paul plant was discovered in thespecies, including linear-leaved Glaser, University of Minnesota,sundew, English sundew, twig-rush, to set up permanent vegetation Chippewa National forest.and montane yellow-eyed grass. monitoring plots at a variety of sites Photo by Otto Gockman. MCBS plans surveys in many within the peatland. Many of theseof the peatland communitiesthroughout northern Minnesota in plots represent sites where he and Botanist G. Wheeler collected data State recordthe coming field seasons, despite in the late 1970s and early 1980s. plant is first found east of the Rockies It is always big news when a new state record plant is found. It is especially exciting news if this is the first time the plant has been found east of the Rocky Mountains. Botrychium crenulatum was a surprising discovery this past June in the Chippewa National Forest. The species was observed with Botrychium ascendens, also marking the first time for that species to be located in a native plant community in Minnesota. Apart from this being a major Patterned fen, called the western water track, in the Red Lake range expansion for B. crenulatum, Peatland stretches for approximately 14 miles and makes up the it is hoped that this discovery will western-most extent of the peatland. The linear bands are ridges of shed more light on the presence of peat called strings, and the pools of water are called flarks. Photo B. ascendens, a species of hybrid by Erika Rowe, DNR. For more information, go to http://files.dnr. origin between B. crenulatum and state.mn.us/eco/mcbs/peatland_poster either B. campestre or B. lineare. 5
appear to be common this far northNative plant communities of in the state. More study is needed why this plant community is presentLake Vermilion State Park in the park. Not surprisingly, over 50 percentby Tavis Westbrook, Minnesota (BWCAW) and Quetico Provincial of the park is wetland and peatland.DNR resource specialist, Division Park to the north and east, you have Most of the wetland systems weof Parks and Trails a pretty good idea of what I am mapped can either be classified as On June 8, 2010, Lake Vermilion describing. wet ash forest (WFn64), wet cedarState Park became Minnesota’s Next, we used a Geographic forest (WFn53), or beaver wetlandnewest state park. Situated near Information System to obtain other complex. Even in the wetlandsSoudan, Lake Vermilion State relevant data that also existed for there was clear evidence of logging,Park is roughly 3,000 acres in size the parcel: streams, lakes, wetlands, most likely for cedar and tamarackand is directly adjacent to Soudan topography, and soils data were posts. With that said, many of theseUnderground Mine State Park. particularly helpful. Additionally, wetlands are in good condition,Both parks combined boast nearly color infrared photography was with cedar regenerating quite well10 miles of undeveloped shoreline essential when determining land in areas not flooded regularly byon the east end of Lake Vermilion cover types because of the way beaver. Interestingly, there is veryand about 4,000 acres of land. different plant communities, even little acid peatland in the park. The The mapping of the native plant tree species, have different photo rugged terrain, small basin size, andcommunities of Lake Vermilion signatures. After acquiring and beavers all likely contribute to thisState Park began in earnest in analyzing all of the data, it was fact.early 2010. We knew some of the then up to park resource specialists, Lastly, there are dozens ofrecent land-use history on the parcel with help from the DNR County small to medium rock outcropalready: Biological Survey, to go in the field and cliff features that give the • It had been owned by US Steel and verify (or “ground truth”) our property variety, relief, scenery, andsince the late 1800s; assumptions that we made from the botanical interest. It is likely that • It had been managed for timber GIS analysis and supporting data. some of these features may harborcontinuously through the 20th ‘Ground truth’ results less common plant species. Again,century; and We identified 21 different more survey work will be needed to • It contained very rugged upland plant community classes in eight confirm this hypothesis.terrain as well as many hundreds different ecological systems in Lake To conclude, this is just oneof acres of open and wooded Vermilion State Park. aspect of the inventory workwetlands. The vast majority of the uplands conducted by the Minnesota DNR We also were able to look at its were classified as Northern Mesic at Lake Vermilion State Park. Welandscape position and make some Mixed Forest (FDn43). The anticipate many different surveys ofassumptions about its physical dominant tree species were aspen the flora and fauna will be conductedcharacteristics using the Ecological and birch, with some pockets as the division develops the park forClassification System developed by dominated by young red and jack recreational use. A new state parkthe Minnesota DNR. pine. The stand ages throughout comes along maybe once in a career, That hierarchical system told us most of the park were young to very and I have been fortunate to be onthat the park was in the Border Lakes young, confirming that most of this the ground helping the division inSubsection. This subsection consists land was logged in the late 1970s its initial natural resource inventoryof “scoured bedrock uplands or and early 1980s. This is a fire- efforts.shallow soils on bedrock, with large dependent plant community, but firenumbers of lakes. Topography is was not at all frequent historically, averaging over 200 years between Treasurers’ reportdominantly rolling with irregular Ron and Cathy Huber reportslopes and many craggy outcrops of significant fire events. that on Sept. 30, the MNNPS hadbedrock.” Another term commonly One anomaly discovered during total assets of $19,763, includingused within this subsection and our field reconnaissance was $10,769 in the checking account,certainly for this park would be the presence of small pockets of $8,939 in CDs, and $55 cash.“Canadian Shield” topography Northern Mesic Hardwood Forest Income for the nine months totaled If you have visited the Boundary (MHn35). This plant community $11,094. Expenses totaled $8,192.Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is common statewide but does not Net income was $2,902.6
Plant Lore birch or balsam fir logging near Duluth. BWCA fires Continued from page 1by Thor Kommedahl Are they edible, medicinal, orWhat is northern bush poisonous? Earlier in his career, he studiedhoneysuckle? The Potawatomi Indians made the ecology of black spruce and the Bush honeysuckle is Diervilla tea from rhizomes or leaves for use extensive patterned peatlands oflonicera in the honeysuckle family, as a diuretic. They are neither edible northern Minnesota.native to Minnesota. nor poisonous, although one report He then turned to the much moreHow did it get its names? is that leaves contain a narcotic complex task of deciphering the Diervilla was named after a principle that induces nausea. ecology of northeastern Minnesota’sFrench surgeon, Dr. Diéreville, Is bush honeysuckle useful in coniferous forests. The BWCA’swho visited Canada and brought other ways? vast stands of virgin forest enabledthe plant to the French botanist Deer and moose browse shrubs Heinselman to identify andTournafort in 1699. Lonicera refers in winter. They are useful as a tall document the forest dynamics –to the resemblance of the leaves ground cover and to hold banks from particularly the major role fires haveto honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.). erosion. Plants can be propagated played in determining the structureLonicera was named after the by seed or cuttings. Seed can be and composition of the wildernessGerman botanist Adam Lonitzer. stored. forest.Where does the plant grow? Heinselman wrote several Bush honeysuckle grows mainly books about the Boundary Watersin wooded areas, often in Jack pine Canoe Area. Limited numbers ofstands, in dry, or rocky, well-drained The Boundary Waters Wildernesssoil. It is often associated with hazel, Ecosystem, published in 1999, aredogwood, alder, chokecherry, and still available.blueberry.What does the plant look like? Diervilla lonicera It is a low shrub two to four feet Top left: Closeup of flowers,tall with slender, ridged twigs and photo by Shirley Mahopposite, finely toothed, egg-shaped Kooyman.leaves. It has funnel-shaped, yellow Center left: Blooming branch,flowers, often reddish in spring. photo by Peter Dziuk.Bumblebees, butterflies, and mothspollinate the flowers. Leaf colors Bottom left: Bush, photo byin fall are yellow, orange, and red. Shirley Mah Kooyman.Fruits are long-pointed capsules. Below: Moose damage on IslePlants spread mainly by rhizomes, Royale, photo by Peter Jordan.and plants regenerate rapidly after afire or after logging, e.g., after paper 7
Minnesota Native Plant SocietyP.O. Box 20401Bloomington, MN 55420Fall 2011 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.