Return of the Natives

Say it ain't so!

  My daughter, Chrissy, and I had been watching the 200-acre woodlands for months. First the “Land For Sale” sign went up; later the sign was marked “Sold,” then, most ominously, fluorescent orange flagging-tape marked the trees. The lovely wooded site was about to become a shopping center. The year was 2005, and a year… [Read More]

The Awkward Relationship Between Homo sapiens And Planet Earth

Scott's Run , a VNPS Registry site.  Photo: Laura Beaty

I, as do so many of you, present lectures and workshops to a wide range of people in which we are encouraging them to become familiar with the local flora, to plant native plants that require less water, to plant and conserve those species that are important to insects, birds and other animal species, a… [Read More]

Kates Mountain Clover: Trifolium virginicum

Flower of Kate's Mountain Clover. Photo credit: Jim Stasz, Maryland Biodiversity Project

Kates Mountain Clover, (Trifolium virginicum) is one of only three clovers that are native to Virginia. First discovered on Kate’s Mountain in West Virginia in 1892 by botanist, John Kukel Small, this plant is known to exist only in four states and in a very specific habitat. In all four states it is listed as… [Read More]

Looking Back: VNPS in 2017

Study, learn, contribute!
Photo: SPD

Small but mighty, the VNPS rose up with spirit to meet the challenges of 2017.  The members of our Society did not sit around eating bonbons and gnashing teeth over discouraging events last year. Well, maybe there was some gnashing of teeth . . . but in the end, dedicated people got out and got… [Read More]

Finding Fulfillment as a Wildlife Way Station Volunteer

Monarch butterfly on Boneset, (Eupatorium perfoliatum). The garden is filled specifically with both nectar and host plants to support a wide range of pollinators

My excitement rose when I first glimpsed the Wildlife Way Station being maintained at the car rest area along I-95 in Dale City. A good-sized plot of land was being cultivated with native plants that were attracting and feeding many of the area’s wild birds and insects — pollinators. Those small flyers have been losing… [Read More]

Botany Without Boundaries at the Tri-State Conference

Dryopteris intermedia, triplodea, and carthusiana, respectively

The Tri-state Native Plant Society Conference at the National Conservation Training Center was a blast this year.  From the venue, to the nightly speakers, to the field trips, everything was incredible, which is why I’d like to first extend my gratitude to all those who contributed and worked so hard to make it happen.  This… [Read More]

A Summer Intern Speaks Out

Native Bumble Bee makes use of Purple Milkweed, (Asclepias purpurea). Virginia's largest population of this plant lives at Huntley.

The listing of the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, (Bombus affinus), on the Endangered Species Act hit me as a surprise. It made me begin to think about bee habitat and how little the public knows about how to help this species. This bumblebee, along with many other pollinators, needs cover for protection throughout the year, but… [Read More]

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]

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]

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]