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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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A Call for Citizen Scientists from Virginia Working Landscapes

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | April 17, 2015

 Our partners at Virginia Working Landscapes are conducting important surveys this summer, and Celia Vuocolo, their Plant and Pollinator Survey Coordinator is making a special call to readers of this blog for their help. In her post, Celia will tell you about the reasons for the research being done, and what it takes to become… [Read More]

Second Annual Poison Ivy Day

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | March 31, 2015

You didn’t know? Well, it’s true.  April 1, 2015 is officially the Second Annual Poison Ivy Day. You missed the first Annual PI Day? For goodness sake, you need to pay closer attention! Virginia is the pioneer state on this one, but we are pretty sure others will be following our lead by next year. California… [Read More]

Manage White-Tailed Deer to Protect Our Natural Heritage

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | March 12, 2015

Most residents of Virginia understand the need to change human land use practices to stop or minimize habitat destruction and preserve our native plant communities. An increasing number of people also support combating the spread of non-native invasive species to include problem plant species and insects such as the emerald ash borer beetle which girdles… [Read More]

The Living Landscape: Summary of Rick Darke’s Talk

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | March 2, 2015

Rick Darke recently gave a talk on his new book, co-authored with Doug Tallamy, The Living Landscape;  sponsored by our Prince William Wildflower Society Chapter and delivered to a full house of over 180 attendees. This new book is much more than a traditional “how-to” design manual. It is a thoughtful analysis of the natural harmony of relationships… [Read More]

Hope and Reality for Urban Ecosystems

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | February 24, 2015

Years ago, I served on Maryland’s Plant Reintroduction Task Force, which was largely convened to address the merits, legal ramifications, and biological soundness of reintroducing rare taxa “recently lost from its historic range” or to enhance dwindling populations that remained in their historic natural settings (PRTF 1999). Specifically at the time, this involved a proposal… [Read More]

Meet The Witch Grasses!

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | February 1, 2015

​Grasses are often overlooked and dismissed as difficult to identify – too technical and cryptic. No wonder, then, that the enigmatic witch grasses (genus Dichanthelium) have really gotten the short end of the stick. It is at least worth your while to know that these little grasses are quite successful and diverse. Most habitats in… [Read More]

Adventures In Plant ID

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | January 25, 2015

Every chair was taken and extras had to be brought in for the first of the Piedmont Chapter’s Winter Speakers Series this afternoon in Marshall, VA. An appreciative audience paid close attention as the speaker, Richard Stromberg, revealed some of the tricks of his trade during his talk: ‘Adventures in Plant Identification: Tools, Tips, and… [Read More]

The Habitat Game

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | January 11, 2015

Games are a great way to get people to learn, and the Piedmont Chapter has invented a cool (tested!) activity to teach the concept that our choices in landscaping make a difference, and why. This article first appeared in the Chapter’s Winter newsletter, The Leaflet. We’re happy to have the opportunity to spread the idea… [Read More]

Winter Solstice Field Trip and Hooley, 2014

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | December 28, 2014

Many thanks to all the participants, over 60 in all, who made the December 21, 2014 Winter Solstice Field Trip and Hooley at Ferry Hill, Washington County, Maryland such an enjoyable and memorable outing! This event, traditionally held at one of the region’s old-age forest communities, is always a great way to welcome the winter… [Read More]

Landscapes of Memory

By SUZANNE DINGWELL | December 14, 2014

Venus Flytraps near my Grandparent’s home in coastal North Carolina were the first plants that caught my interest. Like many kids, I was fascinated by the idea of carnivorous plants, but until reading an article in National Geographic, I had no idea that they lived so close to a place I visited frequently. I begged my parents… [Read More]