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]

Best Management Practices for Lawn Care

Healthy, low maintenance glade of upland oaks and Poverty Oatgrass (Danthonia spicata), woodland sedges (Carex spp.), and diminutive wildflowers on the flat, gravel terrace at Arlington Forest Park, Arlington County, VA.  Photo by R.H. Simmons.

Important decisions about how to maintain a lawn area have received a lot of press as ideas  change about the ways we use, and treat, this part of the landscape. Rod Simmons spoke on the subject recently, and has kindly agreed to share answers to some of the follow-up questions from his presentation at the… [Read More]

A Suburban Mushroom

morel

Just a few weeks after learning about mushrooms at the VNPS Workshop, Plants and Their Friends: Exploring Partnerships Above and Below Ground, I got out of my car, wandered across to see what was blooming in the front yard. There, in bloom, was a wood poppy that a friend had given us a few years… [Read More]