Minnesota Plant Press The Minnesota Native Plant Society NewsletterVolume 21 Number 2 Winter 2002 Monthly meetings Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Buckthorn has become Visitor Center, 3815 East 80th St. Bloomington, MN 55425-1600 a pernicious invader 952-854-5900 By Janet R. Larson, Consulting Arborist and Master Gardener 6:30 p.m. — Building east door opens (Part 1) 6:30 p.m. — Refreshments, About 150 years ago, a new immigrant was welcomed to North information, Room A America by a few well-meaning people. This immigrant was seen as 7 – 9 p.m. —Program, society business 7:30 p.m. — Building door is locked an attractive, problem-free addition to our nation that would enhance 9:30 p.m. — Building closes and beautify our gardens and landscape. But, over the decades, this immigrant would come to be seen as a pernicious invader and a threat to our natural ecosystems. The welcome immigrant-turned-invader Programs is buckthorn. The MNPS meets the first Thursday inOctober, November, December, February, After the primary loss of native plant habitat to development andMarch, April, May and June. Check the agriculture, our native plants of the forest under-story are declining inWeb page for additional program many areas. Throughout Minnesota and 26 other states, commoninformation. buckthorn has been quietly invading. The under-story species of ourFeb. 7: “Fire and Plants in the Boundary remnant woodlands and savannas, parks and woodlots, wetlands andWaters Canoe Area Wilderness,” by fencerows, are not secure from this very successful competitor.Daren Carlson, DNR forest ecologist;Plant of the Month: Reed canary grass, Buckthorn is an aggressive invasive species that has escaped fromby Julia Bohnen of the University of cultivation and has been thriving unchecked for decades. BuckthornMinnesota Landscape Arboretum. has insidiously reached a critical mass and now occupies the under- story of valuable woodlands all across Minnesota, especially nearMarch 7: “Dwarf Mistletoe;” Plant of urban areas. Our native species — both woody and herbaceous —the Month: Witch Hazel, both by Don have all but disappeared from the lower canopies of the most severelyKnutson, Biological Lab Services. infested areas. This is a problem.April 4: “The Gypsy Moth in The buckthorn conference: “The Buck Stops Here!” was held OctoberMinnesota,” speaker to be announced; 3, 2001, at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum inPlace of the Month: Katharine Ordway Chanhassen. It was the first of its kind in Minnesota and was veryNatural History Study Area, by Janet well attended. Approximately 150 people learned about not one, butEbaugh. two species of buckthorn invaders: Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus — formerlyMay 2: “Gardening for Butterflies;” Rhamnus frangula), includingPlant of the Month: A butterfly host or Tallhedge, Columnar, and Fernleaf The 2002 MNPS cultivars. Information onnectaring species, both by Dean Hanson. symposium, “Preserving buckthorn’s, biology, history, range,June 6 and Restoring Native and control was covered. Case Wetland Flora,” will be studies were described for projectsSpeaker to be announced; Plant Sale Saturday, April 6, at the initiated by the city of Minneapolis, Arboretum. See details on neighborhood groups, volunteerMNPS Web site page 5 of this issue. coordinators, and property owners.http://www.stolaf.edu/depts./biology/mnps Continued on page 4
Tell us about your The Minnesota MNPS Board ofconservation issues Native Plant Society Directors Do you know of a conservationissue affecting native plants in The Minnesota Native Plant President: Joel Dunnette, 4526Minnesota that deserves more Society is a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) Co. Rd. 3 S.W., Byron, MN 55920;attention? Other members would organization as determined by the 507-284-3914 (W); 507-365-8091like to know more about it. Some of U.S. Internal Revenue Service. (H); email@example.com may get involved or write lettersto the appropriate government Dues for regular members are $12 Vice-President: Harriet Mason,officials or the press, informing them 905 5th St., St. Peter, MN 56082-of our views. But we can’t act unless per year; students and seniors, $8;we know what’s going on out there families, $15; institutions, $20; 1417; 507-931-3253;in the rest of the state. donors, $25. All dues include a firstname.lastname@example.org Let Ethan Perry know about any newsletter subscription. Four issues Secretary: Deborah Strohmeyer,relevant issues (see contact are published each year. Make Education and Outreach Chair, 7900information on this page), and they checks out to: Minnesota Native Wyoming Ave. S., Bloomington, MNwill be posted on the Conservation Plant Society. Mail them to:Committee page of the MNPS Web 55438; 952-943-9743; Minnesota Native Plant Society, 220 email@example.com (www.stolaf.edu/depts/biology/mnps/cc.html). You can visit the site Biological Sciences Center, 1445anytime to see what other members Gortner Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108.Meredith Cornett, Conservationhave posted and how you can help Committee Co-Chair, 1520 N. 9thour native plants. Minnesota Plant Press Ave. E., Duluth, MN 55805; 218-Joint shrub order offered The Minnesota Plant Press is the 728-6258; firstname.lastname@example.org Deborah Strohmeyer will be quarterly newsletter of the Minnesota Linda Huhn, 2553 Dupont Ave.ordering shrubs from the Outback Native Plant Society. Articles are S., Minneapolis, MN 55405; 612-Nursery this spring and have them welcomed. Write the editor, Gerrydelivered to her house. You may 374-1435dovetail into her order. You would Drewry, at 24090 Northfield Blvd., Jason Husveth, 1284 N. Avon St.,be responsible for the full price of Hampton, MN 55031. Her phone is St. Paul, MN 55117; 651-488-2692;your order and for picking them up 651-463-8006; fax, 651-463-7086; email@example.com her house. Call Deb at 952- e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Janet Larson, 7811 W. 87th St., Bloomington, MN 55438; 952-941-Minnesota Native Plant Society’s purpose 6876; email@example.com (Abbreviated from the bylaws) Esther McLaughlin, Biology This organization is exclusively organized and operated for educational Dept., Augsburg College, and scientific purposes, including the following: Minneapolis, MN 55454; 612-330- 1074; firstname.lastname@example.org 1. Conservation of all native plants. 2. Continuing education of all members in the plant sciences. Ethan Perry, Conservation 3. Education of the public regarding environmental protection of plant Committee Co-Chair, 1520 N. 9th life. Ave. E., Duluth, MN 55805; 218- 4. Encouragement of research and publications on plants native to 728-6258; email@example.com Minnesota. Treasurer: David Johnson, 6437 5. Study of legislation on Minnesota flora, vegetation and ecosystems. Baker Ave. N.E., Fridley, MN 55432; 6. Preservation of special plants, plant communities and scientific and 763-571-6278; natural areas. firstname.lastname@example.org 7. Cooperation in programs concerned with the ecology of natural resources and scenic features. Listserve Coordinator: Charles 8. Fellowship with all persons interested in native plants through meetings, Umbanhowar, email@example.com lectures, workshops and field trips. Editor: Gerry Drewry, 651-463- 8006; firstname.lastname@example.org
Educating the ‘Think Native’ program topublic about focus on Bloomington gardensnative plants by Deborah Strohmeyerby Joel Dunnette, MNPS President We are pleased with the first year’s results of the Think Native program. One of the stated purposes of In brief, the intent of this program is to encourage the awareness and use ofMNPS is to educate the public about native plants. We assist homeowners with creating native plant gardens. Anative plants. And boy, the public portion of those who participate may also receive a “grant” of native plants.does need education! I find that mostfolks have little understanding about Think Native has a decentralized structure where project administratorsplants, much less native ones. When take responsibility for overseeing a defined area. This program also has apeople hear that I burn my prairie, designated fund (meaning administrative costs are borne by MNPS) formost ask how I seed it for the coming purchasing plants.year — they don’t know aboutherbaceous perennials — even existence, then they can be motivated In 2001 we began a pilot programthough that is what they have in their to take supportive actions. Their which Dave Crawford administeredown lawns. With so little actions may be simple and not very in the White Bear Lake area. Weunderstanding, it is easy to see why well informed, but like a childthere is little public demand for learning that 5 is bigger than 2, it is a found the most difficult part of theconserving native plants. step on a learning path. program was getting the word out so that people would apply. We had So what does the public need to Seeing the tremendous diversity of roughly 10 applications and werelearn about native plants? And what a native plant community is another able to award six grants of plants,is our role in teaching them? Keep good starting point. Knowing the each worth $200. Congratulations toin mind that most folks know very details of plant families is not needed Peter and Diane Gits, Robinlittle; not much beyond that you mow to gain a sense of wonder andlawns, trees grow for a long time, and appreciation. Villwock, Carole Buchanan, Evafarmers and gardeners grow crops Shipley, Deb Gardner, and Patand flowers and vegetables that you Seeing some real examples and Dahlman.plant from seed each year. having experiences is a mode that is more powerful than words or images. Partly because of the unusually hot When I talk to groups about prairie, Personal experience is often the best weather, the gardens were planted inmost are surprised to hear and see the teacher. the fall. Dave took “before” picturesdiversity and beauty of native prairie. and will be taking “after” picturesThey don’t realize the number of There are many people who in their this next year.different plants, the variation with hearts favor conservation. But theyhabitat conditions, and the wide may lack the courage to stand alone In 2002, we will target the city ofvariety of ways of living that plants in support of the natives. Sharing your convictions can bring support Bloomington, and Janet Larson willhave. from surprising sources. be our program administrator. The public’s knowledge of native Deborah will be putting programplants is much like a kindergartner’s Helping people see and take these details and applications on the MNPSknowledge of higher math. We don’t and similar steps is well within the website. We encourage MNPSneed to show them the beauty of ability of every MNPS member. I members to apply. Please spread thetrigonometry or calculus — they are will do my part. How about you? word we are now acceptingjust learning to count! So where dowe start? applications. Plymouth Expo Remember also that donations to I feel that starting with the simple The City of Plymouth Yard andconcept of native (or at least native this program are 100 percent tax Garden Expo will be held Saturday,pre-settlement) natural communities April 6, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at deductible. We welcome feedbackis one simple yet powerful concept. Plymouth Creek Center. For from any member. Further detailsIf a person understands this, and information, call Kris Hageman at may be obtained by contactingcomes to value their continuing 763-509-5506. Deborah Strohmeyer.
through their droppings. On the reduced. (However, some propertyBuckthorn other hand, glossy buckthorn has owners like the privacy buckthornContinued from page 1 been sold in numbers as high as provides.)Following are some conference 60,000 per year from wholesalers in • If left uncontrolled, it will turnhighlights. Minnesota and Wisconsin for the last native woodlands into near- 30 years. monocultures Common buckthorn, also called • It is expensive and time-European buckthorn, grows in Why it is so successful consuming to remove once it reachesupland woods, parks, fencerows, • No predators eat the twigs or a critical mass.yards, gardens, and waste places. It seedlings; • After removal of adults, a groundwas first imported from Europe in the • Longer growing season than our cover of seedlings can emerge from1800s and was used primarily in natives, up to 58 days longer; the large seed bank in the soil;hedge plantings, but it’s been used • Fibrous root system with therefore, a long-term commitmentin shelterbelts and wildlife plantings, mycorrhizal benefits; is needed with eradication efforts.too. The plants shear nicely, which • Grows in many habitats due to • Its hard, dense wood dulls sawcan reduce flowering and fruiting. its tolerance of a wide range of soil blades and is tiring to haul.The species became a problem when and light conditions; • Thorns on twig ends makehomeowners quit shearing. Shrubs • Rapid growth rate; handling dangerous.that have been allowed to grow • Vigorous re-sprouting after being • The spread of the speciesnaturally become small trees. cut, up to 6 feet in one season; threatens the future of our woodlandsFemale plants produce vast • Copious fruit and seed producer; and wetlands.quantities of black fruit that are • Glossy buckthorn producestransported through bird droppings. flowers and fruit from June through One good featureThe result is what we now see in the September on good sites (4 months!); Buckthorn is a beautiful golden-woods and neighborhoods of 68 of • Seeds are spread by birds; orange to yellow and brown, denseMinnesota’s 87 counties. • Seeds remains viable up to six wood with a nice grain. Wood years in the soil; workers make beautiful carvings Glossy buckthorn and its cultivars • High seed germination rate. from this wood. Carvings andhave been used as upland landscape turnings were on display at theshrubs; they thrive primarily in moist Why buckthorn is bad conference. We hope an industry willand wet soils. This species has spread • It out-competes our native plants emerge that will utilize this species.through wetland areas and adjacent for light, moisture, and nutrients;woods wherever there is a nearby allelopathic chemicals are said to be Control or reduction?seed source. In heavily infested in the fruit and leaves, inhibiting Where buckthorn has notareas, both common and glossy germination and growth of natives. completely infested an area, controlbuckthorn will grow together in • Its fruits are not a preferred food is a reality. Where it has created aupland and lowland habitats. We source for birds, but they are eaten near-monoculture throughout aobserved this along the Bog Board when other foods have diminished. sizable area, reduction might be aWalk and the Green Heron With native fruit-bearing plants on better reality than control. A singleArboretum trails. Eighty years ago, the decline, there’s not much else to stem of buckthorn cut down to theMinneapolis school teacher and eat. ground, and not chemically treated,botanist Eloise Butler wrote about • Its fruits are messy and a laxative will re-sprout from the stump andthe invasiveness of glossy buckthorn for birds; they stain cars, decks, grow many new stems up to 6 feet inin her wildflower preserve. concrete. a single season. • Nesting birds are more prone toBanned from nursery trade predation in the lower canopy of Time to apply 2001 was the first year that glossy buckthorns, so bird nesting success For larger buckthorn controlbuckthorn and its cultivars could no rate is lower. projects, some type of chemicallonger be sold in Minnesota. The • It creates a nearly impenetrable treatment is the best control method.Minnesota Department of thicket, and dark under-story with no It is important NOT to treat duringAgriculture placed common herb-layer. the spring-flush growth period. Thisbuckthorn on the “Restricted • It has no fall color; leaves remain is a time when the plant is using itsNoxious Weed List” in 1999 and green until November. stored energy reserves to grow, fromincluded glossy buckthorn effective • It is an alternate host for crop the break of dormancy in late MarchJan. 1, 2001. Common buckthorn pests: soybean aphid and crown rust until about June 1.hasn’t been sold since the 1930s, fungus of oats.when research proved it was the • It causes a safety concern for [Part 2 of this report, in the nextalternate host of oat crown rust. park users in urban woodlands, issue, will discuss buckthorn controlHowever, birds continue to spread it because visibility is severely in more detail.]
Three members nominated for New plants are appearing in Nebraskapositions on society’s board Several plants are expanding their ranges in Nebraska, according to Bob Members will fill three board focused on land use and watershed Kaul, a friend of MNPS memberpositions at the March meeting. urbanization impacts to Minnesota’s Tom Morley. Kaul is plotting theBiographies of those nominated at native wetland flora and fauna. He movements of Crepis tectoriumthis time follow. holds a bachelor’s degree in (narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard), Environmental Planning and Design/ which is spreading southwestwardDon Knutson Landscape Architecture from from Iowa into northeastern Don Knutson is a former board Rutgers University. He is self- Nebraska. Exotic woody plants thatmember and past president of the employed as a landscape ecologist are expanding fast are RosaMinnesota Native Plant Society. His and botanist. As a board member, multiflora, Ailanthus altissima,professional work at Biological Lab he is most interested in providing Elaeagnus umbellate, and LoniceraServices concerns mold fungi. He numerous opportunities for members maackii. Morus alba and Macluraperforms mold-fungi analysis in to experience Minnesota’s native pomifera are already at “alarmingbuildings and tests manufactured flora in the field and to provide levels.” Tree-of-heaven is formingproducts for susceptibility to fungal access for members to learn about the dense thickets and invading nativedegradation. many native plant-related resources. prairies in the countryside. Don is working on the natural Douglas Mensing “Prunus serotina, originally nativehistory of black spruce dwarf Douglas Mensing is a senior here only near the Missouri River,mistletoe, with emphasis on seedling ecologist and manager of the Twin has spread madly westward to theinoculations: “The idea is to have a Cities office of Applied Ecological central counties,” Kaul wrote.‘forest’ of infected spruce seedlings Services, Inc. He has 10 years of “Another native plant that’s spreadin pots so as to be able to study tree- field and research experience in from riverside counties is the dreadedmistletoe interactions as a function ecological, biological, and honeyvine, Cynachum leave, whichof host nutrition, day length and environmental sciences. is as bad as bindweed but growstemperature and so on,” he wrote. much larger, climbing 30 feet into the“Are mycorrhizal associates the Doug is a Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) certified by the trees. It’s strangling soybeans andsame on infected and uninfected corn in the fields, and here in Lincolnblack spruce? Are sex ratios altered Society for Wetland Scientists and aby environmental influences? Like volunteer supervisor for Great River it drapes shrubs and fences.”most native plants, we know so littleGreening restoration events. He received a bachelor’s degree in Conferences scheduledabout this one that studies neednecessarily to be concerned with Environmental Science from Medicinal, aromatic plantsbasic biological information.” Don Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, The PCA’s Medicinal Plantwill speak about this project at the Ind., and a master’s degree in Working Group will hold its firstMarch 7 MNPS meeting. Conservation Biology from the symposium, “Industrial Leadership University of Minnesota. At for the Preservation of Medicinal andJason Husveth Minnesota, his graduate research Aromatic Plants,” Feb. 26 and 27 in Jason Husveth has been a member assistantship under Dr. Susan Philadelphia, Penn. Information isof the Minnesota Native Plant Galatowitsch focused on assessing available on the Web at:Society since 1998 and a board wetland quality using ecological w w w. p l a n t c o n s e r v a t i o n . o rg /member since the summer of 2001. indicators. His independent research mpwgconference.He is responsible for organizing involved investigating the effects offield trips for 2001-2002. He led a human activities on the biodiversity Michigan wildflowersfield trip to the Anoka Sand Plain of riparian wetlands and on spatio- The 15th annual Michiganand a winter botany workshop at the temporal changes in wetland Wildflower Conference will beWildlife Refuge in 2001. Jason vegetation community patterns. March 3 and 4 at Michigan Stateassisted with producing and University, East Lansing, Mich.illustrating the 2001 MNPS “I would be honored to represent Information is available atsymposium brochure, and has a more this organization as a Board member www.wildflowersmich.org.active role in planning this year’s in order to further the Ephemeral wetlandssymposium. He has spoken at accomplishments of the Society,” The EPA Region 5 Midwestseveral meetings. Doug wrote. “In particular, I would like to increase field trip Ephemeral Wetlands Conference Jason moved to Minnesota in 1995 opportunities and increase the will be in Chicago Feb. 20 and 21.to pursue his master’s degree at the MNPS’s exposure through more Information is at www.epa.gov/University of Minnesota. His thesis outreach and educational activities.” R5water/ephemeralwetlands
Fighting Urban Sprawl Plant Lore(Notes from MNPS talk Oct. 4, 2001 by Lee Ronning, President and CEO by Thor Kommedahlof 1000 Friends of Minnesota) What is Labrador tea? Minnesota is losing approximately 12,000 acres of farmland every year Labrador tea is Ledumto urbanization. Nationwide, the loss is 1.5 to 2 million acres per year. This groenlandicum in the heath family.loss is especially ominous because urban-influenced counties produce 87 Recent DNA studies may lead to itspercent of our nation’s fruit, 86 percent of our vegetables, 79 percent of our being renamed a species ofmilk, 47 percent of our grain and 45 percent of our nation’s meat products. Rhododendron.Because of this urban sprawl, the U.S. will cease exporting food by 2025, Why is it called by this name?according to David Pimentel of Cornell University. All of our food products Ledum is an old Greek name forwill be needed to feed our own population. rockrose (Cistus) which produces a Suburban sprawl in Minnesota is increasing faster than our population is similar fragrance. Tea is brewed fromgrowing. From 1992 to 1997, average annual population growth in the dried leaves by the native peoples ofseven-county metro area was 1.4 percent; average annual increase in acres Labrador and elsewhere. Thoreau inof land converted to urban uses was 5.3 percent. Statewide figures are similar. 1858 noted that “it has a rather agreeable fragrance, between 1000 Friends of Minnesota is leading the Smart Growth campaign. This turpentine and strawberries.”organization is seeking to bring together a network of diverse groups to stopurban sprawl and create smart regional patterns of development in the Twin What kind of a plant is it?Cities and throughout the state. “Smart Growth” accepts the fact that growth It is a low northern shrub (1-3 feet)is happening, and attempts to find a balance between growth and other with leathery, evergreen leaves thatcommunity values, such as environmental preservation and social equity. have rolled edges and white or rustySmart Growth is collaborative in nature, and includes business partnerships. hairs underneath. Twigs are also hairy. Small white flowers are seen Smart Growth tools available for protecting natural resources and in clusters in May-June or later.agricultural lands include comprehensive planning, conservation zoning Leaves are fragrant when crushed.techniques, Right-to-Farm ordinances, tax incentives, agricultural economic Where is it found?development and farm transfer planning . Three incentive-based tools It grows in sphagnum bogs andthat are relatively new in Minnesota are conservation easements, purchased other wet habitats usually in woodsdevelopment rights and transfer of development credits. in Northeastern Minnesota (north of Conservation easements are voluntary agreements that permanently restrict the tension zone) and elsewhere infuture development while retaining other property rights. The land remains subarctic Canada and in Greenland.in private ownership and on the tax roles; no public access is required. The Is it edible, toxic, or medicinal?easements are held by a land trust or government agency to ensure long- Its use as food is limited to tea. Teaterm monitoring and protection. Purchased development rights are often from leaves are rich in vitamin C. Aestablished by units of government to provide a mechanism to pay for toxic substance known as “ledol”conservation easements. This incentive-based tool helps keep the agricultural occurs in European species but haseconomy viable. The land remains in private ownership and on the tax not been reported for Northroles. The Minnesota Legislature recently passed enabling legislation. American species. American Indians Transfer of development credits simultaneously protects open space while used the plant as a tonic, and to treatallowing more compact development in areas best suited for it. Development colds, arthritis, and headaches.credits are purchased from “sending areas” and applied to “receiving areas,” Are there other uses?where greater density is allowed. The price is set by private markets. Leaves have been used to repel In addition to its work with Smart Growth, 1000 Friends is working with moths in clothes, and put in grain tothe Green Corridor project in Chisago and Washington counties, the repel mice. Decoctions kill lice andFarmland and Natural Areas project in Dakota County, the Department of other insects, but plants are browsedAgriculture and the Department of Natural Resources. by caribou and moose.
Minnesota Native Plant Society NON-PROFIT ORG.University of Minnesota U.S. POSTAGE220 Biological Sciences Center PAIDSt. Paul, MN 55108 Minneapolis, MN Permit No. 2233Winter 2002 Issue