Winter Solstice Field Trip and Hooley, 2014

Revelers in Rich Cove Forest at Ferry Hill, Washington County, Maryland. Photo by Steve Young.

Many thanks to all the participants, over 60 in all, who made the December 21, 2014 Winter Solstice Field Trip and Hooley at Ferry Hill, Washington County, Maryland such an enjoyable and memorable outing! This event, traditionally held at one of the region’s old-age forest communities, is always a great way to welcome the winter… [Read More]

Landscapes of Memory

Imagine a whole "sea" of these Rose pogonias! (Pogonia ophioglossoides)

Venus Flytraps near my Grandparent’s home in coastal North Carolina were the first plants that caught my interest. Like many kids, I was fascinated by the idea of carnivorous plants, but until reading an article in National Geographic, I had no idea that they lived so close to a place I visited frequently. I begged my parents… [Read More]

Gifts for Gardeners and Native Plant Lovers

Happy gardeners have good tools!

  Just in time! Ideas for the most desperate among us, the ones who haven’t yet crossed even the first gift off our list. You know who you are. On Black Friday you were either out transplanting just one more shrub, or you were off wandering on some leafy trail noticing which trees had already… [Read More]

Non-Native Milkweed: Helpful or Harmful?

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  The most recent article about the monarch butterfly in the New York Times has once again raised the question of whether we should be planting non-native milkweed. The milkweed being discussed was the tropical variety most widely available in the usual stores, Asclepias curassavica, known commonly as Scarlet or Tropical milkweed. Ongoing research points… [Read More]

One Chapter’s Call to Action

A Call to Action! Can you help?

As far back as last summer, the Potowmack chapter had decided to do something different at its Annual Meeting. Board members would still have to be elected, of course, and a budget passed. After that part of the meeting, the chapter had always in the past offered a field trip or walk, but this year,… [Read More]

Escape to Poor Mountain

piratebush

Just 15 to 20 minutes from downtown Salem, VA, is Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve, part of the Division of Natural Heritage system that protects special plants, animals, and ecosystems throughout Virginia. Although Poor Mountain is named for its predominantly infertile, acidic soils, it makes a rich destination for the botanically minded. Next time you… [Read More]

Smile – It’s A Smilax!

Smilax glauca, Whiteleaf Greenbrier. Photo: S.P.D.

The genus Smilax is bound to catch your attention one way or another – your eye catches a distinctive green leaf; your nose detects a whiff of something slightly ‘off;’  your skin or clothes catch on sharp prickles as you walk down the trail. Those prickly Simlax  have common names that include the words Greenbrier or… [Read More]

Coastal Barnyard Grass

Coastal Barnyard Grass, Echinochloa walteri at False Cape Park, Virginia Beach

Fall is a great time of year for grass ID! Echinochloa walteri, member of the Poaceae family, is an annual herb that can reach six feet. According to the the Flora of Virginia it is frequent to common in the estuarine and maritime zones of the Virginia’s Coastal Plain. The flowers are only a few… [Read More]

VNPS Annual Meeting Field Trip to False Cape

Live oak, Quercus virginiana

For the first time, two all-day field trips were added to the rooster of choices for the VNPS Annual Meeting in order to allow more time for travel into places not readily accessible. A trip to Cypress Bridge involved boats. A trip to False Cape State Park today required a drive by tram through a… [Read More]

Botanical Excitement in Lexington’s Backyard

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Well, not in Lexington, but they might as well be. A series of unexpected rock outcrops barely on the Rockbridge side of the line provides a case study in plant disjunction and unexpected botanical discovery. * * disjunct – separated geographically, especially the population of a restricted area lying outside a main range These bedrock… [Read More]