Minnesota Plant Press The Minnesota Native Plant Society NewsletterVolume 24 Number 1 Fall 2004 Monthly meetings Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge MNPS awards lifetime Visitor Center, 3815 East 80th St. Bloomington, MN 55425-1600 952-854-5900 membership to botanist 6:30 p.m. — Building east door opens 6:30 p.m. — Refreshments, Dr. R. H. Mohlenbrock information, Room A 7 – 9 p.m — Program, society business by Scott A. Milburn 7:30 p.m. — Building door is locked The board of the Minnesota Native Plant Society recently awarded 9:00 p.m. — Building closes famed Illinois botanist Dr. Robert H. Mohlenbrock and his wife Beverly lifetime memberships in the society in recognition of Bob’s Programs contributions to the botanical sciences. The MNPS meets the first Thursday inOctober, November, December, February, Bob grew up in Murphysboro, a rural southern Illinois town locatedMarch, April, May, and June. Check the near Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale. During hisWeb site for more program information. youth, he had little interest in the subject of biology. However, during his junior year at Murphysboro Township High School, Bob Nov. 4: “Biological Control of Invasive apprehensively signed up for his first course in biology. He wasPlants in Minnesota,” by Luke Skinner,DNR Coordinator for Purple Loosestrife fortunate to have as his biology teacher that year (1947) Miss E. EsterProgram. Seed exchange. Put seeds of Smith, whom Bob credits for opening his eyes to an entirely differentnative plants in small packets, labeled world. Bob describes Miss Smith as being very dedicated to thewith common and botanical names and subject of teaching, encouraging the students to work in her lab aftersource of seeds. school, and taking them on field trips over weekends and during the Dec. 2: “Habitat Selection of summer months. Dr. Mohlenbrock and six other cohorts under theGrassland and Woodland Birds,” by tutelage of Miss Smith went on to receive doctoral degrees in eitherTom Cooper, wildlife biologist, Minnesota botany or zoology and to teach at major university institutions. BobWaterfowl Association. Plant-of-the- went on to dedicate his book on Ferns from the Illustrated Flora ofMonth: Viola lanceolata, by Scott Illinois series to Miss Smith, acknowledging her as the person “whoMilburn. first instilled within the author a love for nature.”Feb. 3: To be determined Dr. Mohlenbrock received his Ph.D. from Washington UniversityMarch 3: “Wetland Restoration at (St. Louis) in 1957 and immediately joined the botany faculty at SIU.Pioneer Park in Anoka County,” by He taught for 34 years, serving as chairman of the Botany DepartmentJason Husveth, Critical Connections for 16 years and as major professor for 90 masters and doctoral students.Ecological Services, Inc. A number of these students also went on to have very successful careers. They include Gerould Wilhelm,author of Plants of the Chicago Region;MNPS Web site Tom Elias, director of the U.S. National Arboretum and author ofhttp://www.stolaf.edu/depts/biology/mnps Complete Guide to the Trees of North America; and Larry Stritch, chiefe-mail: MNPS@HotPOP.com botanist, U.S. Forest Service. Dr. Mohlenbrock received many academicMNPS Listserve honors, has published nearly 50 books and 500 scientific papers, and has served as chairman of the North American Endangered Species Send a message that includes the word Committee for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature“subscribe” or “unsubscribe” and your for 14 years. He also writes a series,“This Land,” which he started inname in the body of the message to:firstname.lastname@example.org Continued on page 3
Plant Lore Study of genetic diversityby Thor KommedahlWhat is leatherwood?Leatherwood is Dirca palustris in the will help restorations by Kristine Moncada, graduatemezereum family, a small family of student, Applied Plant Sciences Dr. Mohlenbrockshrubs with an acrid, tough, and Program, University of Minnesota continued from page 1fibrous bark. It is the only member This is an abstract of her talk at the 1984, for Natural History Magazine.of this family native to Minnesota. April 1, 2004, MNPS meeting. These articles describe important Genetic diversity of native plantsWhat do its names mean? is an important biological property natural areas in North America. Dr.Dirca is named for Dirce, wife of to study, particularly as it relates to Mohlenbrock is best known for his restoration. By analyzing the series of the Illustrated Flora ofLycus, who after her brutal murder, genetics of a natural population, we Illinois. The project was started inchanged into the fountain Dirce in 1960, with the objective ofThebes (Greece). Palustris means are able to determine patterns of relatedness. These patterns give us publishing a complete illustrated“of swamps.” Another name is clues of what plants are adapted to account of every plant occurring inwicopy, a Cree name for the inner what sites. In restoration, we can Illinois. To date, 16 volumes havebark of basswood. Because thongs then choose seeds from which area been published or are in process.were made from the bark, it was or zone would be most appropriate This remarkable series is extremelycalled leatherwood. to that location. valuable to the Midwestern field The goal of restoration is to botanist. He is currently working onWhat does the plant look like? a three-volume work dealing with the establish self-sustaining populationsIt is a yellowish, largely-branching that have the capacity for future Asteraceae of Illinois and a four-shrub from 3 to 6 feet tall. The wood adaptation. By discovering the volume set of places to visit withinis white, soft, and brittle. The bark is patterns of variation, we can then the National Forest system.remarkably tough and fibrous. more closely emulate naturally Since his retirement from SIU, BobLeaves are alternate and more or less occurring populations to ensure long- and Beverly travel. He teacheselliptical. Note the jointed twigs. term success for a restoration. wetland plant identification coursesFlowers are honey yellow, pendant, My research is funded by the across the country. These classesand give rise to clusters of 3-4 green, Minnesota Department of fill a void in what has become a Transportation to aid in developing recent trend in the academic world,yellowish, or reddish drupes, each guidelines for seed collection forwith large seeds. an absence of biological field their restoration projects. In this courses. I first met Bob by takingWhere do the plants grow? project, I am studying the genetics one of his wetland plantIn Minnesota, shrubs are found in of four native species: big bluestem identification courses in Chicago arich woods near streams, in springy (Andropogon gerardii), purple few years ago. He recently taught a prairie clover (Dalea purpurea), field course in the Twin Cities,woods, or in swamps; hence the prairie cordgrass (Spartinaname palustris. focusing on grasses, sedges, and pectinata), and Joe-pye weed rushes, and he will be back again nextDoes it have medicinal (Eupatorium maculatum). I have collected these species throughout June to teach a class on wetland plantproperties? identification. their range within Minnesota.American Indians used the plant totreat toothache and drank bark tea as Through analyzing the variation at Learn to identify plants ina laxative. However, contact with the DNA level, we hope to find the winter on Nov. 13 field trip patterns of natural diversity. We can Jason Husveth will lead a winterbark causes severe blisters and sores. then be able to develop seed transfer botany field trip at the TamarackThe fruits, if eaten, cause violent zones, which are geographical Nature Center in White Bear Twp.,vomiting, stupor, and vertigo. regions in which individuals of a Ramsey County, Saturday, Nov.13,Does it have any practical uses? native species can be transferred with from 9 a.m. to noon. He will focus no negative effects on the vigor of on the identification of wildflowers,American Indians used the flexible the population. It is important to trees, and shrubs from persistentshoots to make baskets and the bark know what seed is best for a winter characteristics. Register earlyfor rope, thongs, bowstrings, and fish restoration project. It can determine at email@example.com. Space islines. Deer and moose graze on the success or failure of long-term limited to 30 people. Details willfoliage and twigs. plant establishment. be posted at www.mnnps.org. 3
What we saw on field trips Humane Societyby Doug Mensing applies Think The MNPS sponsored two spring field trips in 2004, participated in Native grant to newMinnesota’s first Bio-Blitz, and co-sponsored one field trip over the summer. Spring was welcomed by approximately 18 native plant enthusiasts who memorial gardencamped for the weekend or just joined the group for day hikes in and around by Dianne Plunkett LathamWhitewater State Park over the weekend of May 7-9. Participants enjoyed The Wright County Humanethe lush and diverse wildflowers of southeastern Minnesota at this special Society has sent a letter of thankstime of year. Several rare plants were also seen in their wild environments. for the MNPS $200 Think Native grant. The money was applied to On May 22, approximately 20 participants met to hike and botanize at their Memorial Garden, on whichLouisville Swamp. Prairies, savannas, wetlands, floodplain forests, and they worked all summer. Theirwoodlands were among the native habitats we explored, identifying species objective was to be ready for theiras we went. As with last year, new records of threatened kittentails wereidentified near the trail. High water added to the excitement as we waded fall festival Oct. 10.across a flooded berm. It was enjoyable to see the benefits of restoration By that time they anticipatedefforts. Bloodroot and other native species were growing in areas recently having the southeast corner of thecleared of buckthorn and in areas that recently experienced prescribed burns. garden completed. This area includes natural pathways, two Minnesota’s first Bio-Blitz was held on June 11-12 at Tamarack Nature flowerbeds and the lawn area aroundCenter. This was a 24-hour “blitz” to identify as many living things within them. They expect to plant the nativethe nature center as possible. 707 species were identified (insects, mammals, grasses and the grass area around thebirds, etc.), including 277 plant species (many contributed by MNPS wall, plus native pond plants beforemembers who surveyed portions of the park). Thanks to all who contributed Oct. 31. The other beds will beto this important inventory of biodiversity. developed and memorial plaques On Aug. 28, the MNPS collaborated with the Cedar Lake Park Association installed in the spring.to host an educational hike in this Minneapolis park. Keith Prussing, CLPA The Wright County Humanepresident, led approximately 16 participants on a tour, conveying the history Society invites MNPS members toof the park area and the restoration efforts that have been going on there tour the garden. Call Eva Forcier atfor over a decade. The restored prairies were seen in their prime-season 320-963-4991 or Paula Savage atcolor. We witnessed results that can emerge from active, concerned citizens. 763-479-1918. Minnesota Native Plant Society Member RegistrationName ____________________________________________________________________________________Address __________________________________________________________________________________City ____________________________________________________ State ________ Zip ______________Phone (W) _________________ (H) ____________________E-Mail _______________________________Membership category (New ______ Renewal ______)Individual $15 Senior (62 or over, or retired) $ 8Family (2 or more related persons at same address) $15 Student (full time) $ 8Institution $20 Donor $25Please fill in this form and check the appropriate membership category. Your check should be made payable to theMinnesota Native Plant Society. Mail the completed form and your check to the Minnesota Native Plant Society,University of Minnesota, 250 Biological Sciences Center, 1445 Gortner Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108.