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?


  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


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]