Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013, Ramble Report

First, some links to items of interest:

Gary Crider called my attention to this wonderful video about the 17yr cicadas:

The tree book I referred to today is Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America by Donald Culross Peattie. It is now, unfortunately, out of print in both the original hardback and paperback editions. Peattie also wrote a companion volume for the Western NA trees. There is new hardback edition that combines the two original volumes, BUT – it omits many of the tree species that Peattie originally included. The two original volumes totaled over 1000 pages; the new edition is only ~500 pages and it doesn’t tell you that it is an abridgement! Seek out the paperback originals if you can find them. (An example: I checked out the table of contents on Amazon and discovered that this new combined edition omits the Loblolly Pine.)

Links to Peattie book at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Todays reading was Advice From a Tree by Ilan Shamir (read by Lili Ouzts):

Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud.
Sink your Roots deeply into the Earth.
Reflect the Light of your own True Nature.
Think long term.
Go out on a Limb.
Remember your place among All living beings.
Embrace with Joy the changing seasons.
For each yields its own abundance:
The Energy and Birth of Spring;
The Growth and Contentment of Summer;
The Wisdom to let go like leaves in the Fall;
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter.
Feel the wind and the sun and delight in their presence.
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you and the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek Nourishment from the Good Things in Life.
Simple pleasures:
Earth, Fresh Air, Light.
Be Content with your natural beauty.
Drink plenty of Water.
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes.
Be flexible.
Remember your Roots!
Enjoy the View!
Our route: Past the edge of the Dunson Native Plant garden, then on to the White trail, then the Green trail to the old road and down to the Mimsey Lanier Center and then following the new road back through the Dunson garden.
We had such a large group today that it was hard to remember everything that we saw. I’m sure I’ve omitted several observations, so please make your additions in the comments.
At the Dunson garden the Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa) was blooming. (An older generic name for black cohosh is Cimicifuga, which literally means bedbug repeller, suggesting that this plant might have been used to keep bedbugs away from bedding. The plant has other medicinal properties and is threatened because of over-collecting in the wild.)
Along the white trail we stopped to look at the leaves of Hop hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) and pointed out the difference between it and American Beech. Hop hornbeam leaves are fuzzy and the edges of the leaves have teeth while beech leaves are smooth, thin and papery to the touch. Their leaf edges are wavy, not toothed.
Further along the trail we looked at some Spiderworts (Tradescantia sp.) and discovered the basis for another common name: snotweed. (Break off a leaf or stem and the sap is sticky and slimy, like Okra.
We examined a sapling to refresh our memory of what a compound leaf was and what the opposite arrangement of leaves looks like. Those of us who have learned our trees from Dan Williams remembered which tree species have opposite leaves by reciting the ditty that starts: “MADogs with Beards and Buckeyed Cats. . .” [Maple, Ash, Dogwood, Old Man’s Beard, Buckeye, Catalpa] We were looking at a Green Ash (Opposite leaf arrangement, compound leaves with 5 leaflets.)
We also found a Redbud that had been worked over by Leaf-cutter bees. These bees carve semi-circular pieces out of the Redbud leaf and take them back to line the cavity of their nest where they raise their young. They are not restricted to using Redbud, but they do seem to favor it.
On the green trail we focused on bark characteristics and found several Shagbark Hickories (Carya sp.) with their flaking bark and Sourwood (Oxydendron arboreum) with its distinctly ridged bark, crooked trunk growth, long leaves with tapering ends and wonderfully delicious honey. (The honey, of course, is made by bees from the nectar of the Sourwood flowers.)
One of the girls found a wonderful insect on a decaying log– a Bess Beetle (Odontotaenius disjunctus)! These beetles have a social life! They care for their young, actually feeding them like human parents feed their babies (well, maybe not exactly like that, but you get the idea). They live in small social groups and communicate with each other by sound. Many of us were able to listen as the captive beetle expressed its alarm at being restrained. The sound is produced by rubbing the tip of the abdomen against the hard wing covers. This was a great find!
Ella also discovered an Oak Apple Gall and a snail shell. The gall is made by a wasp laying an egg in an oak leaf. The leaf produces a large spherical, hollow structure, about the size of a golf ball, in response to the egg’s presence and the wasp larva feeds on the leafy tissue safe and snug inside it’s tiny, spherical house.
We need the sharp young eyes to find things for us – bring them back often!!
Further on we came across the skeletal remains of an Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) in the middle of the road. The only thing left was some patches of fur and parts of the skull, pelvis and vertebral column, plus a few scattered ribs. Something had a good meal!

The old road took us past the Florida Cedar (Torreya taxifolia) recovery location. This plant is sometimes called Stinking Cedar. Regardless of the name, its existence is threatened so specimens have been sent to several botanical gardens to insure that the species does not become extinct. On the other side of the road we found Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron strigosum) in bloom. Judging from the name this might be a plant that repels insects (fleas perhaps?).
Past the Lanier Center we found a Red Mulberry(Morus rubra) with ripening fruit that some of us enjoyed sampling.
We stopped to look at the Ash just beyond the mulberry. It is probably a Green Ash, but the fruits are not mature enough to definitively identify it.
Then it was back to Donderos’ for our usual coffee and conversation. And – the awarding of the book. The winner was Kaye Giese who was only one off the secret number.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013, Ramble Report

First we had a reading by Dale Hoyt from Donald Culross Peattie’s An Almanac for Moderns:

A man need not know how to name all the oaks or the moths, or be able to recognize a synclinal fault, or tell time by the stars, in order to possess Nature. He may have his mind solely on growing larkspurs, or he may love a boat and a sail and a blue-eyed day at sea. He may have a bent for making paths or banding birds, or he may be only an inveterate and curious walker.

But I contend that such a fellow has the best out of life -he and the naturalists. You are ignorant of life if you do not love it or some portion of it, just as it is, a shaft of light from a nearby star, a flash of the blue salt water that curls around the five upthrust rocks of the continents, a net of green leaves spread to catch the light and use it, and you, walking under the trees. You, a handful of supple earth and long white stones, with seawater running in your veins.

Second I read a short item from Aldo Leopold’s, A Sand County Almanac, page 110. 

Finally there is Draba, beside whom even Linaria [Toadflax] is tall and ample.  I have never met an economist who knows Draba, but if I were one I should do all my economic pondering lying prone on the sand, with Draba at nose-length.

This is personally interesting to me, since I was an economist from 1959 to 1995, and during the last few years I was prone on the ground counting Draba, a rare plant at Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area.  It is only about 6 inches high and can really only be seen when it goes to seed.  Never did want to think about economics that way.

Our ramble today was through the International Garden to the Endangered Plant Area and the Pitcher Plant Bog.  Then on to the Purple Trail down to the River.  Connected to the Orange Trail.  Stopped at the Mountain Laurel Bluff.  Then the rest of the way on the Orange Trail to the Upper Parking Lot.

In the Endangered Plant Garden we saw Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica), Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum), a beardtongue (Penstemon spp.), and Cooly's meadow rue (Thalictrum cooleyi).  Overlooking the pitcher plant bog we saw  the leaves of yellow trumpet (Sarracenia flava), and the white topped pitcher plant (Sarracenia leucophylla), as well as the flowers of Sweet Pitcherplant (Sarracenia rubra) and Parrot Pitcherplant (Sarracenia psittacina).

Down the Purple Trail, Dale found Turkeytail mushrooms to admire.  We showed some new participants the very tall persimmon tree.

At the Middle Oconee River, Wade Seymour and his crew were moving the trail where three feet of the bank had slipped into the river after the last high level of the river took it from the bank.

Walked up to see how much of the beautiful mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) was still blooming.  We once again commented on the way in which the anthers with pollen are spring loaded in the petals, so that when wind or an insect knock it, the anthers spring with force and send off the pollen, some of which attaches to the insect.

Moving around the beaver pond, we spent some time discussing a fern by the boardwalk.  It is either Sensitive Fern or Netted Chain Fern. The problem is that the distinctive characteristic to separate them is the fertile frond.  Only last year's was available.  We decided again that it is probably Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis).

A spittle bug was discovered feeding on a blackberry.  The insect, a leaf hopper, uses it's piercing-sucking mouthparts to suck juice from plants. Plant juice is rich in sugar but low in protein, so the spittle bug has to suck a lot of it to get the protein it needs to grow. The excess is kicked into a froth, creating the spittle covering that hides it from parasitic wasps.  Dale uncovered the insect, so all could see it.

In the beaver pond, Tim Homan pointed out the leaves of duck potato (Sagittaria latifolia).

Next we found the leaves of cut leaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata).  Nearby was the beginning of the many summer bluets (Houstonia purpurea var. purpurea) that we saw all along the Orange Trail.

At the stump where the tree fell across the stream there were several stems of wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) with one in full bloom.

Just past the little bridge over a creek (that I know as copperhead creek), sweet spire (Itea virginica) was blooming.  Above it was the fruit of muscle wood (Carpinus caroliniana).  Then we stopped to admire the broad beech fern (Thelypteris hexagonoptera).

The last bloom of the day was the wild garlic (Allium canadense).

We did stop to ask Dale about the huge number of suckers from the bottom of the trunk of a Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).  The tree was dying at the top, so that the leader was no longer controlling growth. It puts out a hormone that inhibits new growth lower in the tree.  When the leader is gone, the inhibition is released and the plant tries to grow elsewhere.  In this case it will probably not work because the tulip tree cannot grow in the shade of other trees and the new stems will probably die.

The next stop was Donderos for food and conversation.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16, 2013, Ramble Report

Before the walk today Emily and I saw a rather bedraggled fox on the powerline cut.

We had a very large group today, 23 people.

Jack read a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "This Lime-tree Bower, My Prison." 

We started down the walk to the Dunson garden and stopped by a Bottle-Brush Buckeye to refresh our memory of leaf structure and terminology. These leaves were palmately compound and they were arranged opposite on the twig. (Later we would see alternate, pinnately compound leaves when we found some hickory saplings.) 

Next stop was to examine Witch Hazel Conical Galls. Earlier Emily and I saw a squirrel helping itself to a nibble of one of the galls. The tree was well-infested -- almost every leaf bore one or more of the conical structures. They are produced by aphids, which can be seen if you cut a gall open and examine the hollow interior with a hand lens. Some of the inhabitants have wings and are capable of flying out to seek out an alternate host plant, a Birch. The Birch is infested by the aphids in late summer and autumn. They lay their eggs on the Birch and die. The eggs overwinter, and the new generation of aphids fly off to find the Witch Hazel in the spring.

At the beginning of the Dunson garden we found Solomon's Plume (Smilacina racemosa) in flower. Further along the path we found two hickory saplings near on another. These enabled us to see what alternate leaved, pinnately compound leaves look like. One of the small hickories had a stout, fuzzy petiole and 9 leaflets on each leaf. This is Mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa); the other had thin, smooth petiole and only 7 leaflets on each leaf -- a not-Mockernut hickory (probably Carya glabra, Pignut Hickory).
Our big surprise: we found Ashe Magnolia (Magnolia ashei) in bloom. Some authorities consider this to be a variety of Big-leaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla). Several people sniffed the huge blossoms with their floppy, elongated petals, each with a reddish purple blotch on the bottom.

Along the way we examined several ferns: New York Fern (Thelypteris novaboracensis), Netted Chain Fern(Woodwardia areolata), Southern Grape Fern (Botrychium biternatum ) and Marginal Wood Fern (Dryopteris marginalis). There were also many fresh leaves of Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) covering the ground. The Goldenseal ()  was no longer in bloom, but many plants had developing fruits. We were also surprised to see a Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum canadense) with its maple-like leaves and  nearly-gone-by flowers. Next to the Birdfoot violets was a flowering specimen of Fringed Campion (Silene polypetala), a very rare plant that is endangered where ever it is found.

At the bottom of the Dunson garden we noticed that the Yucca (Yucca filamentosa) had finally sent up its flowering stalks, but the buds are still tightly closed. Last year at this time the Yucca were all flowering. These might flower within the next two weeks.

The wooden fence below the Dunson garden and next to the road always has some surprises. Today the blackberries were in bloom and there were a few that had almost ripened. We also found Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana) and Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra), although they will bloom much later in the summer. Blooming today were a few plants of Heliotrope (Heliotropium europaeum) with their curled inflorescence bearing light purple flowers.

Our next stop was through the fence via the powerline path. The recent rains that produced the immense chorus of Eastern Spadefoot toads left temporary pools to the right of the path. Earlier Emily and I dipped out mosquito larvae and pupae to show to everyone. Many people have seen mosquito "wrigglers," but few have seen their pupal stage. (Insects can be divided into two types: those with what is called incomplete metamorphosis and those with complete metamorphosis. Like butterflies and moths, mosquitoes have complete metamorphosis -- their life cycle includes an egg, a larval stage, a pupa and, finally, an adult. In butterflies and moths the larva is called a caterpillar, the pupa a chrysalis or cocoon. With mosquitoes the larval stage is the wriggler and the pupal stage is, well, the pupa. The wriggler is a longish organism that hangs from the surface of the water and, if disturbed, twitches back and forth. The pupa also hangs from the surface but looks like a small, rounded lump. When it is disturbed it detaches from the surface and darts around until it tires. Then it floats back to the surface. The adult mosquito will emerge from the pupa in a few days.

Due to the overcast there were few flowers open on the path to the river. We managed to find a patch of Venus Looking Glass (Triodanis perfoliata), with pretty purple flowers, 1 per stem. At the end of the bridge on the White trail we saw the white flowers of Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) open in small inflorescences. 

Then it was back to Donderos' via the Orange spur trail where we relaxed with our favorite beverages.


Monday, May 13, 2013

May 9, 2013, Ramble Report

Today we started with a recording of the Eastern Spadefoot frog calls that occurred in the flood plain at the beginning of the week.  It really brought back the machine like calls.  One or two frogs was interesting, but the chorus was incredible.

Bob Walker brought a reading from Daniel Chamovitz, WHAT A PLANT KNOWS: A Field Guide to the Senses.  (New York:  Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2012)
The ramble today was long.  Through the Shade Garden out the White Trail to the power line right of way.  Up the power line right of way to the fence, along the fence to the white trail again at the deer fence gate, through to the right, past the radiation control site, down the hill past the wetlands to the White Trail again.  Then turning right on the White Trail we went to the Yellow Trail (cutoff), connected up with the White Trail again.  Turning left we followed the White Trail through the ravine to the Red Trail.  Going left up the Red Trail, connected up with the White Trail, which we used to return to the Arbor in the lower parking lot.

The day was gorgeous so everyone lingered over our finds.  Right in the Shade Garden were some native plants:  Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum), Black Cohosh (Actea racemosa), and Pale Yellow Trillium (Trillium discolor).  The trillium is restricted in the wild to the Savannah River drainage.  Next were Piedmont azalea (Rhododendron canescens).  Followed by the yellow sweet shrub (Calycanthus floridus) 'Athens.'  Michael Dirr heard of this plant in the Brumby's yard in the Bedgood neighborhood in Athens.  He got a cutting and developed the cultivar we saw today.  Before leaving the Shade Garden we went by Alumroot (Heuchera villas) and the sweet spire (Itea virginica).

As we went by the old flower garden we noted the spiderwort (Trandescantia virginica) and an Iris cultivar blooming.  Where we connected up with the White Trail coming down from the upper parking lot we found One-flowered Hawthorn (Crataegus uniflora) in bloom.  At the power line right of way, we stopped to admire the Southern (or Small's) ragwort (Packera anonyma).  Up the right of way we looked for the Annual Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium rosulatum), but they were closed up and hard to see.  Beside the trail, however, a larger blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium sp) prevailed, but it was also closed up.  The flower of the day to remember were the robust patches of Nettle-leaf Sage (Salvia urticifolia).  It has opposite nettle like leaves, and blue to lavender petals, two lipped corolla, upper lip hood like, and a white stripped lower lip with three lobes.   At the relatively dry site where we saw Birdfoot Violet several weeks ago, we discussed the  lichens:  Dixie reindeer lichen (Cladonia subtenuis), Pixie Cups (Cladonia chlorophaea). and British Soldiers (Cladonia cristatella).  Just before leaving power line, we stopped to discuss Dwarf Cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis). One can distinguish it from the Common Cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex) by the fact that Dwarf Cinquefoil's first flower usually comes off the axil of the first well developed stem leaf.  The Common Cinquefoil's first flower usually comes of the axil of the second well developed stem leaf.  These flowers are also known as Five Fingers.

Approaching the radiation site on the other side of the deer fence, we passed cat's ears (Hypochaeris radicata).  Going down the hill we talked about the blackberry in bloom and the ugly Autumn Olive (Eleagnus umbellata) now considered to be an invasive plant, but which has been extensively used as wildlife food and cover.  James Miller and Karl Miller, in their FOREST PLANTS OF THE SOUTHEAST AND THEIR WILDLIFE USES, notes that the fruit provides food for Northern Bobwhite, Mourning Dove, Ruffed Grouse,Wild Turkey, and numerous songbirds. The fruit is also consumed by Raccoon, Stripped Skunk, Virginia Opossum, BlackBear, and other mammals.

Dale discussed the spittle bug.  This bug sucks juice from a plant and obtains more than it needs.  The surplus is used as a white foam cover for the bug to avoid the attack by parasitic wasps.

At the wetland we noted the sedges and the beginning of cattails and the dried stems of  wool grass (Scirpus cyperinus).  Turning right on the White Trail there was lyre-leaf sage (Salvia lyrata), summer bluet (Houstonia purpurea).  Needle grass (Piptochaetium avenaceum) was also in bloom.

Our next stop was for rattlesnake weed (Hieracium venosum).  Then to the resurrection fern (Polypodium polypodioides).  This fern usually grows on trees, but can grow on rocks.  The rock cap fern (Polypodium virginianum) grows only on rocks.  The distinguishing characteristic is that the resurrection fern stipe (stem to the first leaf) is densely scaled, whereas the rock cap fern is smooth and green.  Turning round we found the first of a number of deer berry (Vaccinium stamineum) shrubs that had just bloomed overnight.   We noted that the leaves of the crane fly (Tipularia discolor) orchid has now disappeared.  The flower will bloom in the summer.  At the turn for the yellow trail we discussed whether a tree there is a Red Mulberry or Basswood tree.  The consensus was that it is a Red Mulberry tree.

At the bridge across the ravine connecting again the yellow trail with the White Trail, Emily and others found a plant we never did identify.  Here though we found Solomon plume (Maianthemum racemosa) blooming.  Along this stretch of trail through the ravine we also saw the fertile fronds bearing sporangia of the Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides).  Just before the next bridge, tucked in beside a tree trunk was giant chickweed (Stellaria pubera).

As we climbed  out of the ravine, green and gold (Chrysogonum virginianum) was tucked on the backside of a beech tree. After crossing the power line and returning to the woods we discovered in bud Pipsissiwa (Chimaphylla maculatum) also known as Spotted Wintergreen.

Turning left up the Red Trail we noted Rattlesnake Fern (Botrychium virginianum).  Connected up with the White Trail again.  Returned to the deer fence, and then scooted back to the Arbor along the White Trail.

It was way past time for visiting Dondero's where we reviewed all the wonderful things we saw.  Gary and other birders did spot several Indigo Buntings and a Bluebird.  They also heard a Red-eyed Vireo.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

May 2, 2013, Ramble Report

We had a large group on this misty, almost drizzly, morning.  Don read an excerpt entitled Extinction by Flowers from The Year of the Moon Goose by T. W. Burger.  We then left the Arbor for the Dunson Native Plant garden to see what changes had occurred since we last visited it.

There were still some Trillium in bloom; especially the Pale Yellow Trillium (T. discolor). There are many of these scattered throughout the garden. We were surprised to see a few bunches of Chattahoochie Trillium (T. decipiens) still in flower. Some Solomon's Plume (Smilacina racemosa, a.k.a. False Solomon's Seal) have almost mature inflorescences. Emily noted the differences between this species and "true" Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum biflorum). The latter has 1-3 flowers hanging below the stem at each leaf axil while Solomon’s Plume has an inflorescence at the end of the stem. The stem of Solomon's Plume is also more "zig-zaggy". Also flowering in this part of the garden is False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve). Nearby the Early Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dioicum) has lost its flowers, but it looks like some seed will be set. We also noticed that the Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) has appeared, but the flowering stalk is nowhere to be seen as yet. We were also surprised to see a few flowers on the Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum).

Further along the garden a few Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon meadia) still had rather ratty blossoms, but, for the most part, these have all gone by and only the flowering stalks remain. Scattered through this bed are two color forms of Hairy-stemmed Spiderwort (Tradescantia hirsuticaulis); one has purple flowers, the other,pink. Avis spotted a lonely Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) flower.

We puzzled over the distinction between Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) and Netted Chain Fern (Woodwardia areolata). Discrimination of these two species hinges on whether the pinnae (fern-speak for leaflets) are nearly opposite (Sensitive) or alternate (Netted Chain). Our assessment  of this character seemed to be very subjective and inconclusive. The arrangement of the spore-producing structures on the fertile fronds is also very different between the two species, but the fertile fronds are just beginning to emerge we couldn't come to any decision. I guess we'll have to wait until next week.

Another surprise was a group of Birdfoot Violets (Viola pedata), freshly planted. (The Birdfoot Violets we saw two weeks ago on the power line are no longer blooming.)

The Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) inflorescences (which bear pale yellow flowers here) are nearly gone.
We also spotted a Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus) in bloom. The flowersare green and not nearly as noticeable as the fruit from which the wonderfully evocative regional name, "Hearts-a-Bursting-With-Love," is derived. If you didn't get a good look at this flower today it's worth a separate trip to the garden just to examine them.

As we passed the "tip-up" (the root ball of a fallen tree) we noted the Green-and-Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum) in full flower next to a Yellow Wood Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)that has many developing fruits. The juxtaposition of colors and textures of the leaves, flowers and fruits of these two plants is wonderful to look at.

The Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) has finished blooming and there are developing fruits on the plants that have two leaves. We also saw Violet Wood Sorrel (Oxalis violacea) – no flowers yet.

At the bottom of the garden we looked for the flowering stalks on the Yucca (Yucca filamentosa), but failed to find any. (Several of the Yucca in our yard have sent up stalks already.)

We then headed up the power line and stopped to look at the more abundant plants of this disturbed area. Due to the overcast sky some were not open but both Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis) with the tiny pink-purple flowers and Low Hop Clover (Trifolium campestre) with the small, yellow clover blossoms were very conspicuous. Barbara asked if the Field Madder could be used to dye cloth, as the name implies. The Wikipedia entry states that its root gives a red color that is inferior to that of true Madder.

The Hop clover is so-named because as the individual florets in the flower head turn brown they resemble dried hops. This plant was introduced to North America from Eurasia as fodder and for soil improvement. Like other clovers, which are legumes, the roots harbor nitrogen-fixing bacteria. This plant-bacteria symbiosis takes nitrogen gas from the air and "fixes" it into nitrogen compounds that are released into the soil when the plant dies.

On the way up the power line we saw many Lyreleaf Sage (Salvia lyrata) in bloom. This is a common plant in the mint family, often seen along roadsides and other disturbed areas. Off to the side someone located Wild Chervil (Chaerophyllum tainturieri) which can be confused with Corn Salad (Valerianella radiata) because both have small clusters of tiny white flowers. But the Chervil has lacy, carrot-like foliage and Corn Salad does not.

Yellow Crownbeard (Verbesina occidentalis) was just starting to come up. The plants are only about one foot tall but the combination of opposite leaves and"wings" on the stem make identification easy. The other two wingstem species that grow in the power line have alternate leaves.

Two exotic trees were seen at the edge of the power line, but we were unable to identify them. Both were flowering. One was almost certainly in the bean family -- it had doubly pinnate leaves similar to Honey Locust (Gleditsia sp.)and an inflorescence of large, bright yellow flowers. The other tree was tall, with white flowers high up on the trunk and branches. It had compound leaves lacking the terminal leaflet. This area of the garden is near the old part of the garden that is no longer maintained. It was filled with horticultural varieties and many non-native species. These trees are probably escapees.

The reason for going up the power line was to see an addition to the Garden’s list of species: Annual blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium rosulatum). But due to the cool, overcast weather the plants were not cooperating – all the blossoms were tightly closed. This is a very pretty species and worth a visit on a sunny day just to see it.

We returned back to the White trail where two weeks ago we saw the egg of a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly(Papilio glaucus) on the leaf of a Black Cherry (Prunus serotina). That egg has hatched and we saw the caterpillar on the same leaf today. It is only about 1/8 inch in length, dark brown with a white saddle. Some think this is protective coloration and that the caterpillar resembles a bird dropping when it is motionless on a leaf.
As the caterpillar grows it will molt its skin. After the 2nd or 3rd molt the color will change from brown with a white saddle to green with two false eyespots. Then, after two or three more molts it will metamorphose into a chrysalis (the pupal stage) from which the adult butterfly will emerge after a few weeks.

Then it was time to visit Donderos’ for beverages and conversation. It’s a nice day when you see almost 30 species!


April 25, 2013, Ramble Report

The reading today was from John Burroughs, "Nature Near Home.” The walk was through the International Garden to the Purple Trail.  Then on to the Orange Trail to the river bluff with Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia).  After that we walked the Orange Trail to the upper parking lot to finish.

In the International Garden in the Endangered Plant area, we discussed the blooming Plum Leaf Azalea (Rhododendron prunifolia).  It is early for it to be blooming.  It's bloom time is June to September.  Actually, one of the original reasons for establishing Callaway Gardens was to preserve the habitat for this plant found in that area. We have seen it at the bottom of the canyons at Providence Canyon State Park, which is south of Columbus, GA.

Just before the Purple Trail in the Indian Plant section, we found Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum).

We must have missed the blooms of horse-sugar (Symplocos tinctoria) which grows on the Purple Trail because the flowers are supposed to come before the new leaves.  Those new leaves were just coming out today.

Out the deer fence, we found the leaves for violet wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea), as well as green and gold (Chrysogonum virginianum).  At the Oconee River turning on the Orange Trail, lyre-leaved sage (Salvia lyrata) was blooming.  Climbing up the bluff along the river we talked about the flowering mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia).  The anthers are tucked into the petals at the red mark.  The pollen is dispersed when the stamen springs out.  It can do it on its own, or if an insect knocks it.  In the latter case the pollen is dispersed on the bee or other pollinator.  Surprisingly, the rattlesnake weed (Hieracium venosum) was also in bloom.  I think of this as a summer plant, but its bloom time range is April to August!

The Orange Trail from the Oconee River to the upper parking lot yielded many gems:

Rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) was still blooming after three months.
Sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis) which is distinguished by its fertile frond so different from that of netted chain fern, which we did not see.
Hooked buttercup (Ranunculus recurvatus)
Kidney-leaf (Ranunculus abortivus)
Violet wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea) was blooming in several places.
Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
Cut-leaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) was only leafing out.
Yellow three parted violet (Viola tripartite)
Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
Rattlesnake fern (Botrychium virginianum)
Broad beech fern (Thelypteris hexagonoptera)
Piedmont Azalea (Rhododendron canescens)
Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus floridus)
Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
Common wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta)
Blue star (Amsonia tabernaemontana)
Atamasco lily (Zephyranthes atamasca)

We retired to Donderos for Coffee and Conversation.