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Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
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Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax

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2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

Photo by Betty Truax

Photo by Betty Truax

Photo by Betty Truax

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
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Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
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Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

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News & Updates

Register now for the 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference in Front Royal on the weekend September 27-29. new

Chris Ludwig was driven by the "Spirit of Inquiry".

Don't miss all the news and information in the Spring, 2019 Sempervirens newsletter.

VNPS Member Catherine Ledec was named the Fairfax County 2018 Citizen of the Year.

Latest Facebook Posts

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Greetings, VNPS Members!
The latest Sempervirens is online at http://www.vnps.org! Read more about our upcoming Annual Meeting hosted by the Piedmont Chapter on September 27-29 in Front Royal. Learn about the Bayard's Adders-Mouth Orchid and nitrogen fixation in the roots of Ceanothus, our 2019 Wildflower of the Year. Travel to both Texas Hill Country and the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario as members recount two VNPS field trips. News about new VNPS leadership, native bumblebees slowing down the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a botanical art exhibit, and sumac galls round out other offerings. And my own president's message describes a visit to Capitol Hill on behalf of the "Botany Bill."

Nancy Vehrs, President

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Rose-pinks, Sabatia angularis, a member of the Gentian family, are found in nearly all counties of Virginia. According to the Digital Atlas of Virginia Flora, its habitat is "dry, open forests, woodlands, and barrens; more numerous in old fields, clearings, dry to wet meadows, and other disturbed habitats. Tolerates a wide range of soil chemistries but often most abundant in base-rich soils. Frequent throughout." This specimen was found blooming near the side of a road in Western Prince William County.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Have you been seeing this on your walks lately? Found In diverse wetland habitats, including floodplain forests, as well as low mesic forests and various disturbed sites, it is common throughout Virginia. It is a native plant; known as False Nettle, (Boehmeria cylindrica). It’s called False because it lacks the stinging hairs of most members of the Nettle (Urticaceae) family. Generally from 2-3 feet high, with some branching. Flowers are wind pollinated, but leaves are fed on by a variety of butterfly caterpillars, including the Comma,(Polygonia comma), Question Mark, (Polygonia interrogationis ), Red Admiral, (Vanessa atalanta). You may see spindle-shaped galls from the fly larvae on the stems.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

And just what kind of orchids may be blooming now, you ask? Well, Southern Slender Ladies'-tresses, (Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis), is a native orchid that has a wide distribution throughout Virginia. Commonly found in moist to dry fields, clearings, roadsides, and occasionally in mown lawns. It produces 2-4 basal leaves which usually wither before or at the time of flowering in summer or fall. It bears an inflorescence of up to 40 small white flowers arranged in a tight spiral. Distinguish it from other species of Spiranthes by the distinctive green spot on its labellum - the central petal at the base of an orchid flower.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Have you registered for our annual meeting yet? Some field trips are beginning to fill up. September 27-29 in Front Royal!

Our field trip to Jeremy's Run still has space and is described as follows: Enjoy the special beauty of Shenandoah National park with an active woodland hike. The trail starts at Skyline Drive and crisscrosses Jeremy’s Run, a tributary of the Shenandoah River, multiple times. The trail provides a particularly lovely setting and a nice selection of forest flora. This is an easy hike with only moderate elevation change, but hiking poles are advised for fording the creek on stepping stones. (Photo by Karen Hendershot)

For more information, and to register, see https://vnps.org/annual-meeting-2019-welcome/ .

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

"What are those beautiful berries?" some people ask. It may exhibit some lovely colored berries, but this vine is evil in our environment! Porcelain-berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) is an Asian species that was brought to North America in 1870 for use as an ornamental vine. It rapidly escaped cultivation into natural areas. According to the Blue Ridge Partnership for Invasive Species Management (PRISM), "[T]his escape artist operates by growing faster than almost anything else around it, except for kudzu, and perhaps Japanese honeysuckle, with which it likes to pal around. Porcelain-berry may grow 15 to 20 feet in a single growing season. It runs right over and shades out most desirable plants while competing with them for moisture and nutrients. It has a deep taproot and also sends out shallow roots far and wide. These spreading roots sprout suckers that then create a massive thicket."

Porcelain-berry prefers full to part sun in moist soil and can be found primarily in edge habitats and disturbed areas. For more information about this invasive vine and ways to combat it, check out this fact sheet from the Blue Ridge PRISM: http://blueridgeprism.org/wpcontent/uploads/2017/06/Porcelain-berry-Factsheet-5-27-17-VDOF-w-Box-FINAL.pdf.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Often maligned for its DISobedience, lovely Obedient Plant, Physostegia virginiana, attracts many pollinators, including the state insect tiger swallowtail shown here. Called obedient because its individual flowers remain in place when bent, it can be disobedient in its tendency to spread rapidly in rich, moist garden soil. If you garden, keep this flower in check with benign neglect.

This member of the mint family is also known as False Dragonhead because of its snapdragon-like flowers. According to the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora, "two varieties [of Physostegia virginiana] are present in Virginia: var. praemorsa (Shinners) Cantino, clump-forming with short rhizomes and bracts usually present below the lowest flowers; and var. virginiana, colonial from long rhizomes and without floral bracts. Virginia herbarium specimens have generally not been sorted out as to variety, and individual distribution maps will not be available until a systematic study of herbarium material is completed. Some naturally occurring plants in Virginia may be intermediate between the vars., and escaped cultivars may represent inter-varietal hybrids.

Var. virginiana inhabits stream banks, seeps, riverside prairies and outcrops, disturbed alluvial soils, damp clearings, and ditches. It is Infrequent throughout but most frequent in the western part of the state. Var. praemorsa is known from dry, rocky woodlands and barrens over limestone and dolomite in the sw. mountains (Ridge and Valley province), where it is infrequent and local; its status is poorly known and it could occur elsewhere. In addition, this species is frequently cultivated, and a few of the records from weedier habitats (especially in the eastern part of the state) may represent escapes."

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

At our March workshop in Charlottesville, Rebecca Wilson, Regional Supervisor/Longleaf Pine Restoration Specialist/Eastern Fire Manager for the Natural Heritage Division of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, regaled us with information about restoration efforts for longleaf pines. She even introduced us to Pipa (short for Pinus palustris), a tall costumed mascot for the program. Read more about these important trees in this news article.

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Matelea obliqua: Climbing Milkweed

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | June 23, 2014

Did you know that monarchs are not the only caterpillars that feed exclusively on milkweeds?  From our guest blogger and photographer, Fritz Flohr Reynolds: Matelea obliqua, climbing or oblique milkweed, is a perennial herbaceous vine native to the eastern United States. Its range includes Washington D.C., as well as parts of Maryland and Virginia, including… [Read More]

Native Plants for Pollinators: An App

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | June 16, 2014

It’s National Pollinator Week, and now we can all Bee smart, because there’s an app for that! Yes, really. The next time you are shopping for plants, you will be able have help in figuring out the plants you can use in your very own garden to help pollinators the most. Available on both Android… [Read More]

VNPS Writes Proclamation for Pollinator Week

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | June 4, 2014

The VNPS takes an active role in legislative issues, keeping members informed of important ideas and laws that are being considered by lawmakers in Virginia. We also coordinate with other groups to put forward actions that work toward our goal of conservation. Recently the Pollinator Partnership put out a call for national recognition of a… [Read More]

Three Cheers for Ninebark: Physocarpus opulifolius

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | May 29, 2014

Ninebark, a native shrub with  an intriguing name, is a plant worth getting to know. Its many attributes include an abundant flowering habit which is currently being exhibited in Virginia. The city of Alexandria put some native plantings in new park at the base of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge three springs ago. Last week a… [Read More]

Dr. Tallamy’s Reply to “What’s all the fuss about native plants?”

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | May 19, 2014

Our blog this week is a letter written by Dr. Doug Tallamy, Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, and author of Bringing Nature Home. Written to the New York Times last week: Subject: Misinterpretation/factual errors in article on Gardening for Climate Change Dear Editor: I am… [Read More]

VNPS: What Do We DO?

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | May 8, 2014

“A plant society? What is that? What kinds of things do you do?,”  asked a somewhat incredulous young man visiting a VNPS table recently. One of the things we do, of course, is to have educational display tables at all kinds of events, where people can ask questions like this one! To the inquirer, I… [Read More]

The Plantwhacker Wins!

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | May 1, 2014

For years, while mercilessly killing non-native invasive plants at Long Branch Nature Center, I have harbored the admitted fantasy that the invasives’ removal will magically reveal some cool, unexpected native plants. And to be sure, I have seen some nice native plants and have been able to track how many of them respond positively to… [Read More]

Natives Are Glamorous Plants!

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | April 14, 2014

“Natives are the most glamorous things in the world,” says Randee Wilson, “It really gnaws on me to hear people refer to natives as weedy.” Randee shared his opinion recently with a group of people who are working on  a native plant marketing partnership. There may be some non-natives that are beautiful, too,” Randee said, … [Read More]

Spring Ephemerals: Catch ’em While You Can

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | April 7, 2014

April is perhaps the very best month in Virginia to catch a sight of these extraordinary flowers that grace the landscape for such a brief time. To be ephemeral is to be short-lived, fleeting, brief. Bluebells, merrybells, Dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn, trilliums, lady slipper orchids, bloodroot, hepatica, trout lily, twinleaf and toothwort; even their names… [Read More]

The Flora of Virginia Project Gets Noticed!

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | April 1, 2014

The Flora of Virginia Project continues its upward trajectory with recent coverage by both press and radio of the opening of its truly grand exhibition in the Library of Virginia in March. Members of the Virginia Native Plant Society can take justifiable pride in the fact that we generously helped to fund first the book,… [Read More]