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Summer 2006 Minnesota Plant Press


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Summer 2006 Minnesota Plant Press

  1. 1. Minnesota Plant Press The Minnesota Native Plant Society NewsletterVolume 25 Number 4 Summer 2006 Monthly meetings Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Natural prairies hold Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd. East Bloomington, MN 55425-1600 952-854-5900 key to sustainable fuels By Deane Morrison. Reprinted with permission from UMNnews, 6:00 p.m. — Building east door opens University of Minnesota. 6:00 p.m. — Refreshments, As gas prices inch higher, the search is on for renewable, plant- information, Room A 7 – 9 p.m — Program, society business based fuels that don’t require fertilizer or pesticides, which both 9:00 p.m. — Building closes require energy to produce. Programs A solution may be at hand, from University ecologist David Tilman The MN NPS meets the first Thursday and two colleagues: Instead of growing a single fuel-source crop,in October, November, December, grow many species together, because such plantations yield moreFebruary, March, April, May, and June. total vegetation — and do it more reliably — than any growing justCheck the website for more program one species.information.Oct. 5:”Semi-Natural Grasslands for The most cited ecologist in the world, Tilman has long been singingBiofuel and Ecological Services?” by Dr. the praises of biodiversity, as the coexistence of many species isNicholas Jordan, professor, Department of called.Agroecology, Agronomy and Plant In May, he and two colleagues (University forest resourcesGenetics, University of Minnesota. Plant professor Peter Reich and Johannes Knops of the University ofof the Month: to be determined. Nebraska) published a paper in the journal Nature in which theyNov. 2: “The Importance of Native Plants sum up 12 years of experiments at the University’s Cedar Creek Natural History Area. The longest-running experiment of its kind, itin the Streamside Environment,” by Brian shows unequivocally that plots of land with numerous speciesNerbonne, stream habitat specialist, MN produce much more “biomass” and suffer less from fluctuations inDNR Central Region Fisheries. Annual productivity than plots with only one or a few species. This makesseed exchange. diverse plantings the likeliest candidates to drive the “bio” revolution.Dec. 7: “Growth Pressures on SensitiveNatural Areas in DNR’s Central Region,” Think species diversityby Sharon Pfeifer, regional planner, DNR The paper is a call to everyone who wants to extract energy from biomass to start thinking in terms of species diversity. Biomass canCentral Region. be either burned for energy or refined to produce concentrated energyFeb. 1: “Recent Highlights in the in the form of biofuels, such as ethanol, or synfuel gasoline andMinnesota County Biological Survey,” by diesel. The greater the yield ofCarmen Converse, county biolgical survey biomass per acre, the better, andsupervisor, DNR. In this issue data from Cedar Creek show that Presidents’ columns.......2, 3MN NPS website diverse plantings fill the bill. Field “Diverse prairie grasslands aree-mail: Art Hawkins..........................3 240 percent more productive than Hastings prairie.....................4MN NPS Listserve grasslands with a single prairie SE Minnesota sites................5 Send a message that includes the word species,” says Tilman, a Regents Mad dog skullcap..................6“subscribe” or “unsubscribe” and your Professor of Ecology in the Arden Hills restoration............6name in the body of the message Continued on page 4 Membership form..................7
  2. 2. From the president MN NPS Boardby Scott Milburn I would first like to start off by memberships, rather than having to renew each year. of Directorsrecognizing the great job done by our President: Scott Milburn, Additionally, we need to look for president@mnnps.orgoutgoing president, Jason Husveth. ways to increase our membershipThe Society has gained a good deal numbers. One way that folks can Vice President: Shirley Mahof momentum under Jason’s help with this is to publicize the Kooyman, vp@mnnps.orgleadership, focusing on exciting field Society’s monthly meetings by Secretary: Daniel Jones,trips, symposia, and monthly posting a list of meeting topics and secretary@mnnps.orgmeetings, along with increasing times at your neighborhood plant Treasurer: Ron Huber,membership numbers and revenue. nursery or grocery store. The Society treasurer@mnnps.orgLooking forward, it is important for must also increase committee Ken Arndt, board member,the Society to keep focusing on what involvement by the membership, karndt@mnnps.orghas led to this gain in interest while including the Symposium Jason Husveth, board member,continuing to grow. Committee, Field Trip Committee, The Society is dependent on the etc. Sandy McCartney, boardinvolvement of our membership. This upcoming year’s monhly member, smccartney@mnnps.orgMany members have been stepping programming, symposium, and field Program Coordinator: Lindaup in the past few years to lead field trips look very promising. I would Huhn, 612-374-1435trips and organize a social hour like to thank Linda Huhn for the greatbefore the monthly meetings. In the Listserv Coordinator: Charles job she has done organizing speakers Umbanhowar, ceumb@stolaf.edunext year, we should look for ways for this upcoming year. Theto maintain our existing members, Symposium Committee is also Field Trips:increase our membership, and starting to prepare for next year’s fieldtrips@mnnps.orgincrease committee involvement by meeting, with several potential Memberships:the membership. topics, including the Prairie Coteau.; 651- We need to continue to offer our Furthermore, it looks like another 739-4323excellent services (programming and good year for field trips under the Historian/Archives:field trips), but we also need to direction of Ken Arndt. In closing, I president@mnnps.orgmodify how we deal with am looking forward to this Technical or membershipmemberships. One idea that has been opportunity to serve as the president inquiries: contact@mnnps.orgtalked about for the past year at of the Society and welcome input Minnesota Plant Press editor:board meetings is to offer three-year from our members. Gerry Drewry, phone, 651-463- 8006; plantpress@mnnps.orgMinnesota Native Plant Society’s purpose Updated plant (Abbreviated from the bylaws) identification CDs are This organization is exclusively organized and operated for educational now available and scientific purposes, including the following: Flora ID Northwest, LLC announces that its Minnesota and 1. Conservation of all native plants. Great Plains plant identification CDs 2. Continuing education of all members in the plant sciences. for PCs have been updated. MN NPS 3. Education of the public regarding environmental protection of plant members who have purchased either life. or both of these CDs can get the latest 4. Encouragement of research and publications on plants native to update for $6 shipping and handling. Minnesota. Contact Bruce S. Barnes, Flora ID 5. Study of legislation on Minnesota flora, vegetation and ecosystems. Northwest, LLC, 731 NW 5th, 6. Preservation of special plants, plant communities and scientific and Pendleton, OR 97801; call 541-276- natural areas. 5547 (FAX 541-276-8405) or email: 7. Cooperation in programs concerned with the ecology of natural resources and scenic features. New users may purchase updated 8. Fellowship with all persons interested in native plants through CDs from the Society at $70 meetings, lectures, workshops and field trips. (Minnesota) and $150 (Great Plains).2
  3. 3. From the former president Take an eveningby Jason Husveth, president, 2003 - Sandy McCartney is working on tour of Hastings2006 developing an annual scholarship for Sand Coulee July 18 Greetings members! I hope you are Minnesota students. Many thanks toall enjoying Minnesota’s native flora Gerry Drewry for keeping us on task by Elizabeth Storey, riverand wealth of natural areas during with the quarterly newsletter, and to stewardship coordinator, Friends ofthese warm summer months. I have Linda Huhn for coordinating the Mississippi Riverhad the honor of serving as your fantastic speakers and topics for our Join Friends of the Mississippipresident for the past three years. monthly meetings. River Vermillion Stewards for aWith the help of an energized and It has been a pleasure to serve as prairie tour of the Hastings Sandtalented board and enthusiastic your president for the past three Coulee Tuesday, July 18, from 6:30members, we have accomplished a years. I will continue serving on the – 8 p.m. Karen Schik, restorationgreat deal in this time. I want to board through 2007, and I look ecologist for Friends of thethank all of you for making my term forward to helping the society growas president so rewarding and, I hope, Mississippi River (FMR), will well into the future.productive. introduce us to this rare dry prairie Thank you! that has survived since the early As many of you may know, a newslate of officers was elected at the Art Hawkins dies 1800s. Karen prepared the stewardship plan that has determinedJune 2006 board meeting. Scott Conservationist Art Hawkins, 92,Milburn will be taking over the reins the course of action for efforts to died on his property at Lake Amelia return the coulee to its pre-settlementof president, and I am certain he will March 9. As a United States Fish condition.excel in this role. and Wildlife manager in Minnesota, Shirley Mah Kooyman was elected Hawkins developed many of the Technically a sand-gravel prairie,vice president, and her professional research protocols and waterfowl this special place is home to severalskills and considerable experience on rare habitat types; endangered plant management plans used by thethe board will serve her and the species including James’ polanisiasociety well. I am excited to see the agency. He was a member of the Commissioners Advisory Committee (Polanisia jamesii), sea-beach needlenew directions that our senior grass (Aristida tuberculosa), andofficers will take us. to Scientific and Natural Areas for almost 20 years. kittentail (Besseya bullii); and the After several years on the board threatened blue racer snake (Coluberand serving as secretary, Karen Schik Hawkins held a bachelor’s degree constrictor). The 2.5-mile-longhas stepped down to pursue and from Cornell and a master’s degree coulee is a former glacial streamdevelop local conservation initiatives from the University of Wisconsin,in her community. Among her many valley identified by Minnesota where he worked under Aldo County Biological Survey as one ofcontributions, Karen has served as an Leopold. He was one of Leopold’sinvaluable resource on the board and the most biologically important sites last surviving students. in Dakota County.has volunteered countless hours toplanning our annual symposia for the Like Leopold, Hawkins restored Space is limited. To register,past several years. I wish to thank his land to a wildlife preserve. contact Elizabeth at Friends of theKaren for her exceptional service to Hawkins placed some of the first Mississippi River, estorey@fmr.orgthe society. She will be missed (and nesting platforms for osprey on hiscalled upon in a pinch). or 651-222-2193, ext. 16. This event land and kept a diary or journal about is free of charge. Daniel Jones was elected as the property for nearly 50 years.secretary and continues to offer his The MN NPS has started a Newsletter is available bytalents and passion to the society.Ron Huber will continue to serve as memorial fund for Art Hawkins. If E-mail or regular mail you wish to contribute, make your This newsletter is available in twotreasurer, and he and Cathy are doinga fine job at managing the society’s check out to the Society, mark it for formats — printed and e-mail. If youassets and financial concerns. Ken the Art Hawkins memorial, and mail wish to change to the other format,Arndt continues to raise the bar with it to Minnesota Native Plant Society, just send an e-mail tofield trip planning and coordination, P.O. Box 20401, Bloomington, MN or phoneand will continue on the board. 55420. 651-739-4323. 3
  4. 4. Biodiversity Now that the value of biodiversity Hastings turnsContinued from page 1 has been shown, the next step should be an economic analysis, saysCollege of Biological Sciences,which operates the Cedar Creek field Tilman. It remains to be seen whether industrial park biomass farmers, along with energystation. “That means that if a plotwith one or two plant species producers and the people who transport biomass from one to the into a prairieproduces 100 pounds of vegetation other, can each make money if they by Karen Schika year, a plot with 16 species [the put the vision that he and his A drive on Eddy St. frommost diverse plots planted at Cedar colleagues have into practice. For downtown Hastings to Lock andCreek] will produce 340 pounds. optimal results, each region of the Dam Number Two used to include aThis huge advantage comes when country and the world would have to drive past a series of petroleumyou plant numerous grasses and be studied to determine what mix of storage tanks owned by Flint Hillslegumes and various prairie flowers plant species would work best in that Resources. In 1995, the tanks weretogether.” particular soil and climate. removed and a portion of the land was given to the City of Hastings. Findings from Cedar Creek suggest “In Minnesota, there are over a What was once an unsightlythat plantings of multiple species of million acres of abandoned farmland industrial park is now being slowlyprairie plants will produce fuels, such in the Conservation Reserve transformed into mesic prairieas ethanol, with greater net energy Program,” says Tilman. “That land through a native planting completedgains per acre than corn, soybeans, is mainly planted with just a few in 2003 by Friends of the Mississippior even switchgrass, which has been grass species” and so may hold River (FMR).touted as a promising source for potential as a future site of biomassbiomass. plantations. Although some Minnesotans are But the higher energy gains aren’t Planting more species should allow able to recognize the hallmark nativejust from higher productivity. not only bigger yields of vegetation, plants of a wet prairie and meadow,Diverse plantings require little or no but more predictable yields. As the others may only recognize the formerinputs of fertilizer or pesticides, both Cedar Creek experiments show, tank farm as a grassy field. In anof which require lots of energy to yields of vegetation fluctuate less effort to raise consciousness of themake and apply. Experiments now from season to season if the area as a restoration site, the City ofunder way in Germany and the vegetation contains many species. Hastings erected a sign welcomingNetherlands are yielding similar This kind of reliability is important, visitors to the Hastings Natureeffects of diversity on yields, says because no one wants to see boom Preserve.Tilman, even though they use totally and bust years in the energy supply. In the spring of 2006, a group ofdifferent species. “This paper suggests there might Hastings High School students, in Also, because prairie plants are be an unsuspected benefit to partnership with the city and FMR,perennial, they would not have to be restoring land to a more native planted native grasses and forbsreplanted year after year. Farmers condition,” Tilman says. “Restoring around the sign. Now a signwould need only to mow their fields land so it can produce biofuels is a surrounded by beautiful native plantsin the fall. new idea, but there are many reasons will highlight the area and attract to do it. We need a stable and visitors even more effectively.Biomass could replace some coal productive source of bioenergy. If burned, biomass could replace Biodiversity can give us this on The project partners would like tosome of the coal that now pumps abandoned agricultural land around thank the Minnesota Native Plantcarbon dioxide and mercury into the the world, and it doesn’t have to be Society for the “Think Native” grant,atmosphere. just grasses. As we get away from which helped in purchasing the plant “You can burn prairie grass using fossil fuels, we’re going to have to materials.the fluidized bed technology of have a diversity of approaches.” This was a great educationalexisting coal-fired power plants, and Plant sale results project for the students andcan mix it in with coal,” says Tilman. Treasurer Ron Huber reported net something they can take pride in“The energy density of biomass is 60 income from the June 2006 plant sale every time they pass the 70 percent that of coal. If power was $789. Non-auction plants sold Getting students and otherplants wanted to buy biomass and for $749. Profit from the auctioned community members to participatefarmers wanted to grow it, it could orchids was $40. The late Tim in restoring their local natural areashappen, but it will take much work Wallace’s trees brought in $73, which is one of the best ways to ensureto get there.” has been added to his memorial fund. long-term protection of such areas.4
  5. 5. Protecting native plants Botanyin southeastern Minnesota by Berton Braley, “Science News Letter,” March 9, 1929by Daniel Tix, biodiversity area writing plans to guide managementreview team leader, MN Chapter of of these areas. The draft plans have There should be no monotony proposed such management In studying your botany;the Society for Conservation Biology activities as timber harvest, It helps to train At this year’s MN NPS annual And spur the brain —symposium in April, we explored the prescribed burns, and set aside of small areas around rare species. In Unless you haven’t gotany.incredible biological riches of the“land that glaciers forgot,” the some cases, especially in the forested It teaches you, does Botany,driftless area of southeastern communities, proposed management To know the plants and spotany,Minnesota and adjacent portions of will unduly jeopardize the quality of And learn just whyWisconsin and Iowa. For native some of the highest quality native They live or die —plant enthusiasts, this region is a plant communities in the region. In case you plant or potany.treasure trove of rare species and The public comment period on You learn, from reading Botany,interesting native plant communities. these management plans presents a Of wooly plants and cottony It is also a region whose significant opportunity for MN NPS That grow on earth,management could significantly members to voice support for strong And what they’re worth,benefit from the input of Native Plant protection of native plant species and And why some spots have notany.Society members. In fact, there have communities. Voicing support is as You sketch the plants in Botany,been few better opportunities for easy as reading an 8- to 12-page draft You learn to chart and plotanythose interested in native plant management plan and writing a Like corn or oats —conservation to inform management comment letter during the 30-day You jot down notes,decisions impacting rare plants and public comment period. Unlike If you know how to jotany.diverse native plant communities. many other issues, these plans receive few comments, so each letter Your time, if you’ll allotany, In southeastern Minnesota, the can be very important. Six plans Will teach you how and whatanyCounty Biological survey have already been completed, but Old plant or treehighlighted 13 areas with biological seven are still to be released for Can do or be —values that merit special protection public comment. And that’s the use of Botany!on state lands. Having been selected If you are interested in reviewing Note: Thor Kommedahl submittedfrom 917 sites surveyed in six these plans, go to this poem, which he found in his files.counties of southeastern Minnesota, are truly exceptional areas for subsection/blufflands/index.html Bluffland managementtheir large concentrations of rarespecies and highest quality examples From this link, you can e-mail Jon guide is available Nelson and ask to be notified about Conserving Your Blufflands, aof the rare native plant community the public comment period for eachtypes. management guide for the St. Croix high biodiversity area management River bluffs, has been completed by These communities include moist, plan in southeastern Minnesota. If Great River Greening ecologists. Itsmoderate cliffs, algific talus slopes, you would like more information or goal is to help decision-makers anddry oak savanna, maple-basswood talking points to inform your landowners conserve the bluffs’forest, and northern hardwood- comment letter, feel free to contact ecological value and beauty and helpconifer forest and occur on land me at halt the decline of the water quality.already owned by the Minnesota Seedling plant guide will Great River Greening developedDepartment of Natural Resources.Rare plant species include false be printed in August the guide under a contract with the The Prairie Seedling & Seeding Minnesota DNR. It will bemermaid (Floerkea Evaluation Guide will be available distributed by the DNR and theprosperpinacoides), goldenseal in August 2006. It is expected to cost National Park Service in the St. Croix(Hydrastis canadensis), Jame’s about $5, plus shipping and handling Valley. Copies are available throughsedge (Carex jamesii), and rough- and will be available through the the DNR Information Center, 651-seeded fameflower (Talimum Bonestroo & Associates website. For 296-6157 or 888-MINN DNR, andrugospermum). additional details, contact author from Deb Gagner at Great River As part of regional forest Paul Bockenstedt at 651-604-4812 or Greening, 651-665-9500, ext. 10, ormanagement planning, the DNR is 5
  6. 6. Plant Lore Restoration of twice during the summer of 2002 (late June/early July and mid-by Thor Kommedahl Arden Hills site August). Multivariate statistical analyses of the vegetation surveyWhat is mad-dog skullcap? Mad-dog skullcap is Scutellaria studied data revealed relationships between vegetation and soil texture,lateriflora, a Minnesota native plant by Wade J. Hammer, wetland vegetation and shallow depth toin the mint family. ecologist, Svoboda Ecological ground water (within one meter), andHow did it get its names? Resources. This is an abstract of his individual plant species and fire It was reported in the 1770s as a talk at the April 6 meeting. frequency. The intended use of the The Arden Hills Army Training findings is to improve managementcure for rabies; hence, the name mad- Site (AHATS) is a 1,786-acre of designated tallgrass prairiedog. Scullcap refers to the flower military installation in Arden Hills, restoration sites at the AHATS.shape, which resembles a helmet Minn. It is located in Township 30N,with the visor raised. Scutellaria Range 23W, within Sections 9, 10, Pale or cream gentianmeans dish, referring to the pouch on 15, and 16 in Ramsey County. The This is a summary of the April 6the fruiting calyx. Lateriflora refers Original Land Survey, completed in Plant-of-the-Month talk by Wade the one-sided flower racemes the late 1800s, makes note of bur oak Hammerborne in leaf axils. and white oak woodlands, with some Gentiana flavida, pale or cream tamarack swamps in the low areas in gentian, grows one to three feet tallWhere does the plant grow? the approximate vicinity of the and is typically unbranched. The It grows in moist woods, meadows, property.and swampy areas throughout the leaves and stems are yellowish-green Thirty home sites were displaced and glabrous; the flowers are creamstate. when the land was purchased in 1941 or white. It is found in moist prairiesWhat do plants look like? by the federal government for use as and open woodlands in the Upper They are perennials; one to three a military installation. The majority Midwest and Great Lakes states.feet tall; paired, opposite, toothed of the construction at the site began Pale gentian flowers in lateleaves on four-sided stems; and have prior to World War II. Active summer to early fall, andslender rhizomes. Its blue munitions production took place bumblebees are its primary(sometimes, pink, violet, or white) there for 22 years, through the pollinators. Its small seeds areflowers appear in one-sided racemes Vietnam War. At its peak, 26,000 dispersed by wind and water. people were employed as part of thefrom leaf axils (distinguished from military munitions facility. Due to Bob Djupstromcommon skullcap which has a single the industrial use of the site and thebloom in the axil). It flowers from solvents discarded on the property, retires as head ofJuly to September. it was listed as a superfund site in SNA programHas it any medicinal value? 1983. Clean-up of remnants of the Bob Djupstrom retired March 2 as Its use for rabies treatment has industrial production at the site head of the Scientific and Naturalsince been discredited; however, continues. Areas Program. He led it for 24 ofplants contain scutellarin, a flavonoid Tallgrass prairie restoration its 33 years and oversaw the projects have occurred at the AHATS acquisition of 125 of its 140 sites.with sedative and antispasmodic The program now encompassesproperties. It has been used for since the early 1990s. As part of a 184,635 acres — more protectedtreatment of epileptic seizures. masters of science project, a study assessing the relationships among acreage than any other state.Skullcap was once listed in the US management (seeding and burning), In the SNA newsletter, Bob sentPharmacopeia and the National vegetation, and environmentalFormulary for treatment of nervous factors (soil, aspect, and slope) was “an open thank you to the many folksdisorders. who volunteered their time and completed. energy to the SNA program over theIs it poisonous? The study included completion of years. I hope the cadre of volunteers Not likely. Where cases of toxicity 75 vegetation surveys, consisting of out there will continue, will expand,have been reported, the poisoning has three random plots in 25 purposively and take an even greater interest inbeen attributed to adulterants such as placed grids. The surveys consisted preserving our existing sites as wellwood sage added to commercial of cover class data for all plant as assisting in having new sitessupplies of skullcap. species. The surveys were completed established.”6
  7. 7. Hastings High Nature exhibits at Bell MuseumSchool, Oakdale Botanical art and Jim Brandenburg’s prairie photos are featured in exhibits at the Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota.receive grants “Bloom,” an exhibit of botanical art, will be on display at the museumby Karen Schik through Aug. 27. It features approximately 60 drawings, paintings, prints, The Minnesota Native Plant books, botanical models, and fine crafts from public and private collections.Society has awarded two Think the planting in the long term. Friends “Bloom” includes magnificent hand-Native Grants. of the Mississippi River, which has colored prints and books from theHastings High School Biology conducted the restoration work at the golden era of botanical art in the 18thClass park since 2003, will manage the century; stunning botanical wall A $200 grant was awarded to Joe grant and oversee the project. charts, beautiful in themselves andBeattie’s biology class for the an important means of teaching plant City of Oakdale science; and contemporary drawingspurchase of native plants to install in The City of Oakdale received the and paintings that exemplify thea prairie planting at the entrance to leftover plants from the plant sale and living traditions of botanical art asthe Hastings River Flats Park. will receive the leftover seed from well as imaginative interpretations ofBeattie’s students have worked on a the seed exchange to be used at their plants and ecosystems.lakeshore planting at the same restoration sites. They will utilizelocation in the past two years, as well them to enhance the public wetland “Touch the Sky,” an exhibit of Jimas other restoration projects in buffer areas adjacent to the Brandenburg’s photos of theHastings. community streetscape projects and/ American prairie, will be displayed As part of a class project, they or as ground cover materials in their from Oct. 1 – Dec. 31. This exhibitinstalled prairie plants at the site buckthorn removal areas. The is a tribute to the vistas and creaturesentrance and will return to help weed contact person is Ron Rogstad, that live in the tallgrass prairies ofand water them over the next year. administrative services director, City Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa andThe City of Hastings will maintain of Oakdale. North and South Dakota. Minnesota Native Plant Society Member RegistrationName __________________________________________________________________________________Address ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________City __________________________________________________ State ________ Zip ______________Phone (work) __________________ (home) ___________________ E-mail newsletter? Yes___ No____E-Mail __________________________________________________________________________________Membership category (New ______ Renewal _______)$15 Individual$15 Family (2 or more people at same address) $8 Student (full time) $8 Senior (over 62 or retired)$20 InstitutionThe membership year starts Oct. 1. Please fill in this form and check the appropriate membership category. Makeyour check payable to the Minnesota Native Plant Society. Bring the completed form and your check to theOctober meeting, or mail them to the Minnesota Native Plant Society, P.O. Box 20401, Bloomington, MN 55420. 7
  8. 8. Minnesota Native Plant Society P.O. Box 20401 Bloomington, MN 55420 Summer 20068