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.
Dale

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