VNPS Home

Early Explorations of
Elephant Ears
(Magnolia macrophylla)

Early Explorations of
Elephant Ears
(Magnolia macrophylla)

Early Explorations of
Elephant Ears
(Magnolia macrophylla)

A Personal Note

A Personal Note

A Personal Note

2020 Wildflower of the Year: Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

2020 Wildflower of the Year: Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

2020 Wildflower of the Year: Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Photo by W. John Hayden

Photo by W. John Hayden

Photo by W. John Hayden

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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

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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

Purple Passionflower Pops in Summer: Read Betsy Washington's new blog post from the Northern Neck. 7/30/2020

• Piedmont Wildflower of the WeekWhat is this fragrant member of the Onograceae family that shines best at sunset? 7/25/2020

• New Video: Marion Lobstein and Sally Anderson present an Overview and How To on the Flora of Virginia Mobile App. 7/13/2020

• The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project has been canceled. See more about opposition to the project and the VNPS Resolution opposing the project. 7/5/2020

• VNPS Guidance for Walks/Events during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The health and safety of our members is very important to us. Time out-of-doors is part of a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. However, during this COVID-19 pandemic, we must be mindful of the importance of social distancing to minimize the spread of the disease. For example, during regular guided native plant or botanical walks, participants often gather around a specific plant as the leader discusses it. Therefore, we recommend erring on the side of caution and suspending guided group walks until health conditions in your area permit such gatherings. Please follow the recommendations of the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health.

While we will leave the decision to chapter leaders about holding walks, the VNPS suggests virtual or self-guided walks and events in the interim. For example, some chapters have flagged walks, virtual walks, Zoom presentations, flower of the week emails, and more to engage the public. 6/10/2020

The Summer 2020 edition of Sempervirens is now online. Read about the pandemic's challenges and changes for the Natural Heritage Program and for VNPS events and activities, and how nature offers solace for us all. Meet our Conservation Chair Alex Fisher and learn about the autecology of Wild Geranium by Botany Chair John Hayden. 5/22/2020

• The First 10 Years of VNPS: How We Began. This account of VNPS and Potowmack Chapter beginnings shows that volunteers can make a difference with knowledgeable leaders, willing associates and continuity of purpose. 5/12/20

Pinxterblooms: Performing Now! Read Betsy Washington's latest blog post. 4-23-20

25 Years of the VNPS Bulletin Are Now Online. We just added almost all issues of the Bulletin from 1989 to 2009 thanks to the Internet Archive. Be sure to browse our updated Bulletin Archive. 4/18/20

• Due to CDC recommendations and other ongoing closures related to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have cancelled the March 14, 2020 event ‘Earth’s Climate: Present, Past & Future'.  We regret having to make this decision, and hope to be able to offer this program at another time. We will refund registration fees. [More information] 3/11/2020

• The Spring 2020 edition of Sempervirens is now available. Read about our upcoming Annual Meeting in Abingdon, the VNPS Mission, and more. 3/3/2020

• An updated version of the popular Wildflowers for Butterfly Gardens brochure is now available to download. 2/19/2020

• VNPS Funded Research Reveals Which Trees are Dying and Why. 12/29/2019

• Piedmont Chapter Curlyheads Flower T-Shirts are now available for sale! These are beautiful shirts though in limited quantities. 10/24/2019

• VNPS Member Harry Glasgow Honored by Prince William Conservation Alliance.

• The VNPS mourns the loss of its founder, Mary Painter, on October 6, 2019. View more information and Mary's obituary.

• Support our Annual Fundraiser: Plant Virginia Natives!

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New Book: Climate-Wise Landscaping, Practical Actions for a Sustainable Future

By VNPS Communications | April 15, 2018

Perfect! A book on climate-wise landscaping written by two authors who understand the vital role native plants must play in any future we can both envision and want to live in. What could be more important right now? We don’t want to sit around wringing our hands, say the authors; we want to DO something… [Read More]

A Path Into Natives

By VNPS Communications | April 8, 2018

My interest in native plants probably arose like it did for many of the VNPS readers. I fell in love with what I found out in the wild places; state parks and national forests and the scraps of nature on the edges of farms and developments. I was fascinated by the presence of those native… [Read More]

There Really is a Pyxie-moss!

By VNPS Communications | March 25, 2018

Pyxie-moss (Pyxidanthera barbulata) is a diminutive coastal plain endemic found only in the eastern portions of the Carolinas, southeastern Virginia, and the pine barrens of New Jersey and adjacent Long Island. It is adapted to frequent fire and minimizes heat damage by forming dense mats that hug the relatively cool ground. It prefers open, sandy… [Read More]

When the “Good Guys” Go Bad: The Role of Native Fauna in the Spread of Invasive Plants

By VNPS Communications | March 4, 2018

Humans play a leading role in the spread of invasive species. From accidental introductions, like Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), to intentional planting, like tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), we have done an exceptional job of transporting invaders all over the world. Our cars carry seeds and propagules along highways, our boats… [Read More]

The Root of the Problem: Garlic Mustard

By VNPS Communications | February 25, 2018

It’s a classic tale of being careful what you wish for. As a high school student in Germany I went hiking with my classmates in the early spring woods. As I unpacked lunch, friends gathered knoblauchskraut at the forest edge, and we then added the native herb to our sandwiches.  “Ah,” I thought. “If only… [Read More]

Return of the Natives

By VNPS Communications | February 11, 2018

  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

By VNPS Communications | January 28, 2018

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

By VNPS Communications | January 14, 2018

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

By VNPS Communications | December 31, 2017

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

By VNPS Communications | November 30, 2017

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]