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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

Check out the the latest news and photos in the Summer, 2019 Sempervirens newsletter. new

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

Latest blog post: Chris Ludwig was driven by the "Spirit of Inquiry".

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

Have you seen Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) in the forest? It is an invasive species that is spread by humans, birds and other animals, and water. Once established, this vine has the ability to choke out and overgrow vegetation much like kudzu. It also weakens trees by girdling them and increases the chance of broken limbs by weighting down the crown. As the vines clamber across the treetops, the dense shade they create weakens and kills the native vegetation on the forest floor and suppresses tree regeneration.

This invasive vine was the impetus for the creation of Virginia's first weed management area, the Blue Ridge Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM), centered around Shenandoah National Park. For information on how to control Oriental Bittersweet, check out PRISM's excellent fact sheet on it. https://blueridgeprism.org/factsheets/

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.

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Big Tree Hunt

By VNPS Communications | February 20, 2016

The College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech is the creator of the  Virginia Big Tree Program, and the New River Chapter recently took a field trip to learn more about it.  The purpose of the program is to  find and record the biggest examples of many species of trees in Virginia.  Measurements… [Read More]

Wetlands

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | February 2, 2016

I cringe when the word ”Improve”, or “Improvement” is used about land. It’s applied, of course, to describe the process that adapts land for human uses such as farming or construction. This isn’t improvement in any conventional sense of the word. In the 500 or so year history of European use of American land, the… [Read More]

A New Native Plant Mini Series on YouTube

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | January 31, 2016

Introducing a new series of videos! These are truly Mini in length, but mighty in content; each featuring one or two native plants at a time. Plant characteristics, faunal associations, and uses in the home landscape are covered. We think you will love these informative little doses of native love! The producer, a member of… [Read More]

Getting Rid of Japanese Barberry: Why and How

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | January 23, 2016

Japanese barberry, (Berberis thunbergi), arrives in the woods by birds eating the fruits in winter and pooping/planting them. It can grow in full shade and established woods. Nobody, (especially not deer), eats the leaves or the prickly twigs. It can root where branches touch the ground and where seeds are dropped in place to make… [Read More]

VNPS 2016: Full Steam Ahead!

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | January 11, 2016

We have a serious commitment to a lofty Mission Statement, we better be going full steam ahead! For those who would like a short version, our mission statement pretty much says we’re tryin’ to save the world. As in: protect and preserve native plants and their habitats discourage and combat practices that endanger or destroy… [Read More]

Take A Walk On The Wild Side: Travilah Barrens

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | December 28, 2015

Standing in a cul-de-sac of the development, where every lawn was manicured to within an inch of its struggling life, it was impossible not to think of the song. The crowd gathered for the Annual Solstice Walk on December 20 listened carefully to an explanation of what they were about to see ‘on the other… [Read More]

Fundraiser Celebration In Richmond

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | December 19, 2015

Governor McAuliffe expressed great appreciation as he accepted our ‘Big’ check from a VNPS Elf on December 17 in Richmond. President Nancy Vehrs had pulled out all the stops to make sure the event was a memorable one! The VNPS 2015 Fundraiser was a resounding success, by any measure; we were able to give $22,… [Read More]

Interview with Izel Plants: An Online Nursery

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | December 6, 2015

The newest nursery listing on our VNPS website is Izel Plants; a retail nursery of a different stripe! Find out all about how it works in this interview with Claudio Vazquez, who is the co-owner, and co-founder of this brave new enterprise. Sue:  Claudio, when I heard about your retail nursery, which is an online… [Read More]

Into The Swamp at Cypress Bridge

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | November 30, 2015

Champion Trees, Notable Trees, and Just Plain Wonderful Trees at Cypress Bridge Swamp! We waited for over a year and we finally made it to the 380 acre Cypress Bridge Swamp Natural Area Preserve!  We  had been disappointed when our trip during the 2014 annual meeting was postponed due to a canoe-supply problem.  And then… [Read More]

Finding and Losing Ginseng

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | November 21, 2015

One of the highlights for me of this year’s VNPS Annual Meeting was the opportunity to explore a colony of ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.). On a walk led by Tom Dierauf, our congenial group explored the plants and geology of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the eastern edge of the Shenandoah Valley. Walking off-trail and… [Read More]