Walk With A Botanical Bunch

Who wouldn't want to be able to recognize this moss by name? Wavy Starburst Moss!   Atrichum altecristatum

Many are the pleasures of a stroll into shady woods or floriferous meadows on a fair summer’s day.  Exuberant spring is spent and plants still verdant and youthful now assume attitudes more calm and serene. But when you go out to walk with a Botanical Bunch, you can forget serenity. What you get is a… [Read More]

Iris and Iridaceae Taxonomy Overview in Flora of Virginia

Worldwide, Iridaceae, the Iris Family comprises 65 genera and approximately 6700-7170 species. The growth forms of this family range from herbs to shrubs with all of our species being herbaceous. The Iris Family or Iridaceae was named by A.L. de Jussieu in 1789. This family was first recognized by John Ray in 1703 as a separate… [Read More]

The Lycophytes

Huperzia lucidula, or Shining Clubmoss

While I was writing about ferns and mosses, I became aware of other plants that could not be ignored, since some are very common here, such as Ground-pine and Running-cedar. These plants are Lycophytes, which happen to be the first entry of Taxonomic Treatments in the Flora of Virginia, on page 137. Lycophytes are followed by… [Read More]

Evergreen and Creepy: It’s Winter Creeper!

Winter Creeper, or Creeping Euonymus, with serrated edges. Photo courtesy of John W. Hayden

Winter Creeper, (Euonymus fortunei), with its glossy evergreen leaves, is easy to spot in the woods right now. This member of the Bittersweet family, (Celastraceae), is native to China, Japan and Korea. Introduced here as an ornamental plant, Winter Creeper, also known as Creeping Euonymus, has escaped cultivation, according to the National Park Service, and… [Read More]

Old-Age Forest at Chapman State Park

Evergreen foliage of White Bear Sedge (Carex albursina) . Photo by R.H. Simmons

The old-age forest section of Chapman State Park is a fascinating and regionally unique meeting ground for plants with a primary range in the inner Piedmont and mountains and those of the Coastal Plain. This section extends from the low river terrace and extensive Water-willow Shrublands along the Potomac River to the marl cliffs and… [Read More]

Morella on the Barrier Islands

Young Wax Myrtle close-up showing clear spiral pattern of leaf growth and leaf glands (not on Hog Island).

The barrier islands are one of Virginia’s last great wilderness areas, virtually uninhabited by humans. They have one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on the eastern seaboard, and the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier islands in the global temperate zone. The roughly 23 islands that make up this group are owned by The Nature… [Read More]

The Preservation of Remnant Native Oaks in Urban and Suburban Areas

house

I and others have recently received inquiries regarding cases of oak decline and death throughout Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, Virginia – oak species (Quercus spp.) being the dominant and characteristic trees of the upland landscape in both jurisdictions. In all cases over the years, I have not seen any evidence of disease… [Read More]

Lovin’ the Lichens!

Top left: Common Greenshield. Top right: Powdered Ruffle.  Bottom left: Hammered Metal. Bottom right: Sinewed Ramalina

The 2016 VNPS Annual Meeting was a lot of fun; full of laughter and mingling with old friends as well as making many new ones. The highlight of the weekend for me was a Lichen Walk at Wildwood Park. To our delight only four of us joined Gary Cote for the walk, and we were… [Read More]

Pollinator Week: Something to Celebrate!

"The future flies on wings of pollinators"

The fascinating process of pollination, and the beautiful creatures who perform it, these are indeed wonderful things to celebrate. Pollinator Week 2016, June 20 – 26, comes at a good time for us to focus on something we can all appreciate, understand, and support. Certainly there is more to know, but what fun would it… [Read More]

The Bug Guy Talks Zika

Professor Michael Raupp, "The Bug Guy'

The hot topic of mosquitoes and the potential for spread of the dreaded Zika virus created quite a buzz at the May 12 chapter meeting of Potowmack chapter. Michael Raupp, Ph.D., Professor of Entomology at the University of Maryland, was scheduled to speak on the topic “Bugs Make the World Go Round,” but the recent news… [Read More]