Summer 2024 Potowmack News

In the Summer 2024 Potowmack News

Straw-colored Flatsedge photo by Wayne Longbottom license CC BY-NC

Learn about Nature Journaling, a cure for "Grass Blindness", a strategy to save trees from invasives, and Alexandria's Environmental Excellence Award to members Scott Knudsen and Jennifer Pease.

Spring 2024 Potowmack News

In the Spring 2024 Potowmack News

Learn about Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Spring native plant sales, GMU's Forager Forest, April's City Nature Challenge, upcoming events, and more!

Red Maple Bud Photo by Richard Crites

Potowmack News Fall 2023

In the Fall 2023 Potowmack News

Fringetree, the "snow flower" of VIrginia; a new Floraquest app includes Virginia; updates from our Summer Interns, identifying "red" fruits; upcoming events, and more!

Potowmack Summer Interns Renee Ok (left) and Yasmin Zarabi

Potowmack News Summer 2023

In the Summer 2023 Potowmack News

Learn Why Black Oak? Discover Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, now part of the Old Growth Forest Network, identify heart-shaped leaves, find upcoming events, and much more!

Potowmack News Spring 2023

In the Spring 2023 Potowmack News

Read about the American Bladdernut, upcoming Native Plant Sales, Sweetgum seed balls, bud identification, and much more.

Native Plants for Northern Virginia

Native Plants for Northern Virginia: Free Download or Purchase a Printed Copy

New Edition
June 2022

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

previous arrow
next arrow

News & Updates

• Watch Charles Smith's January, 2024 presentation "Natural Landscaping: Repairing and Rewilding Our Spaces" on Vimeo. 1-14-2024

• Did you miss Rob Simmons' presentation "Virginia Goldenrods Examined: Which One Are You Looking At?" on September 14? Watch it now on Vimeo. 9-14-2023

• Learn all about the variety of ferns at Riverbend Park! Register now for a walk with Kit Sheffield on Friday, September 15 at 8:30am. 9-12-2023

• Watch Alexis Dickerson's May 11 Zoom presentation "Roots and Rivers" on Vimeo. Learn more about the health of the Potomac River, its biggest current challenges, and how native plants are central to winning the fight for clean water. 5-12-2023

• "Too Many Deer?" presented by Professor Bernd Blossey co-sponsored by the Potowmack Chapter in February. Watch the recording now on Vimeo. 3-16-2023

• Did you miss Charles Smith's presentation "Half-Earth: Investing in our Future" on January 12? Watch it now on Vimeo. 1-15-2023

• View "My Five Favorite Trees": Dr. Jim McGlone's slide presentation (PDF) at the Potowmack Chapter 2022 Annual Meeting on November 13, 2022.

• A Native Plant Guide for the DC Area: Check out Using Native Plants to Attract Birds in the Washington, DC Area by Potowmack Chapter member Brenda Skarphol, Curatorial Horticulturist at Green Spring Gardens. 11-16-2022

• You can watch Maraea Harris' October 13 presentation "The What, Why, When, and How of Pruning Native Shrubs and Trees" on Vimeo. 10-15-2022

• Yes, it was recorded! You can watch Sara Tangren's September 8 presentation "Invader Detectives - Using iNaturalist to Save the World" on Vimeo. 9-13-2022

• Now on Vimeo: Matt Bright's May 12 presentation "Native Plant Reintroduction and Restoration." 5-15-2022

• Watch it on Vimeo: Clare Walker's March 10 presentation "Phenology and Climate Change: It’s All About Timing". 3-11-2022

• Did you miss the presentation by Nelson DeBarros on "New Botanical Records & Rediscoveries in Fairfax County" on February 10? Watch it now on Vimeo. 2-12-2022

• Learn about American Holly and surprising native plant seeds, test your tree bark knowledge, view upcoming events, and more in the Winter, 2022 Potowmack News. 12-28-2021

Watch Max Ferlauto's presentation from our 2021 Annual Meeting: "My Year Playing with Litter: Exploring the Effects of Leaf Litter Removal on Insect Communities". 11-15-2021

Read all about Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), web resources to help plan for the future of your yard or green space, our upcoming Potowmack Annual Meeting Chapter meeting November 14, and more in the new Fall 2021 edition of the Potowmack News. 10-14-2021

Join walk leaders Margaret Chatham and Alan Ford for a Tour of the Trees at Fraser Preserve, a Nature Conservancy Property, on Saturday, September 18 from 9am to 12 noon. Registration is required. 9-12-2021

• The Fall Potowmack News is just out. Read all about the taxonomic mysteries of St. Andrew's Cross, our summer interns' experience, and learn about identifying summer grasses, upcoming events, and more! 8-26-2021

Don't miss our Native Plant Sales at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria every first Wednesday of the month from 10am to 1pm. 3-31-2021

Learn more about Fraser Preserve,  a 220-acre Nature Conservancy Property on the Potomac River, in Margaret Chatham's presentation: "Successional Changes at Fraser Preserve". 3-16-2021

Learn about the life in your wild garden. On February 11, Laura Beaty invited us to see all the life inside her wild home garden through the course of one year. View her beautiful video presentation. 2-12-2021

What can we do to make room for nature? In his video presentation on January 14, Charles Smith reviews current data on the state of the earth, the importance of plant communities to include keystone species, and concepts from restoration science and efforts described by Doug Tallamy and others. 1-15-2021

• At the Potowmack Chapter Annual Meeting on November 15, chapter officers were elected, the 2021 annual budget was approved, and members approved several bylaws changes. 11-16-2020

• Potowmack members Bob Dinse and Cathy Ledec have been honored by the Fairfax County Park Authority. 11-18-2020

• Did you miss Dr. Andrea Weeks' presentation on "Recovering Native Plant Diversity in the Piedmont" at the Potowmack Chapter Annual Meeting on November 15? Watch the recorded video: 11-17-2020

• Check out the November-December Potowmack News. Read about native wildflowers found on summer and fall visits to Conway Robinson Memorial State Forest; learn about thorns, spines, and prickles; and try a quiz on identifying native trees from their seeds. 10-25-2020

• Read the new Fall Potowmack News to learn about our chapter flower and logo, new chapter members, and our upcoming Annual Meeting on November 15. 9-7-2020

• Did you know the Potowmack Chapter is the chapter sponsor for seven VNPS Registry Sites in our area, including Great Falls and Turkey Run National Parks? 8-10-2020

• Now online: A History: Potowmack Chapter 1982 - 2002. 7-15-2020

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

• New Blog Post: Rediscovering Barbara Stewart's Potowmack Chapter Logo. 7-11-2020

• Due to COVID-19 all Potowmack chapter in-person group events, including walks, are cancelled until further notice. View our chapter event calendar for more information.

• Potowmack chapter Member Toni Genberg's home "Ecological Oasis" was featured in a recent Yes! Magazine article.

• The Winter 2020 edition of the Potomac News has just been published. Read about "Love and Stiltgrass," our new email discussion group and forum at, and lichen at Fraser Preserve.


Become a Member:
Support Our Mission.


Support VNPS with
your donation today.

Upcoming Events

Find Field Trips, Meetings, Programs and Plant Sales.

Find a Chapter

Get involved in your
local VNPS chapter.

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Native Plant Society Every spring I look forward to seeing the lovely lavender-blue spires of Sundial Lupine rising above distinctive pinwheel foliage along sandy roadsides and open woods. Also known as Wild Lupine, this member of the Legume Family is found throughout the Eastern and Central United States. In Virginia…... Read more
May 24, 2024
Source: VNPS Blog
By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Native Plant Society A few weeks ago, driving north from Florida, we passed mile after mile of waves of lavender-blue flowers gracing the highway shoulders in South Carolina. We were thrilled to see Lyre-leaf Sage, Salvia lyrata, creating a gorgeous spectacle along an otherwise barren straight stretch of road. Later…... Read more
May 5, 2024
Source: VNPS Blog
By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Native Plant Society One of my favorite sights while walking in winter woodlands are the beautiful evergreen leaves of Downy Rattlesnake Plantain, Goodyera pubescens. This eye-catching beauty is one of our most common woodland orchids and instantly recognizable by its exquisitely etched leaves with an intricate network of fine white…... Read more
March 17, 2024
Source: VNPS Blog
White Turtlehead is a perennial herb rising from a rhizomatous rootstock. The smooth stems are only sparingly branched above and attain heights 0.5 to 2 m. Leaves are opposite, narrow, linear to lance-ovate, and up to 15 cm long, with prominently toothed margins. Flower spikes are 3-8 cm long and form at stem tips from…... Read more
February 12, 2024
Source: VNPS Blog
Do you need a reminder of how wonderful a springtime Native Garden can be during this cold winter? Look no further than Jeanne Kadet and Mike Perel’s “Garden Journey” story and videos created for the 2020 Northern Virginia Sustainable Garden Tour. Start the tour by clicking on any photo and be sure to scroll through…... Read more
December 19, 2020
Source: Potowmack Blog
Potowmack Chapter members Bob Dinse and Cathy Ledec will be honored on November 20, 2020 with Elly Doyle Park Service awards by the Fairfax County Park Authority.  The Elly Doyle Park Service Awards were established by the Fairfax County Park Authority in 1988 in recognition of former Park Authority Board Chairman and member Ellamae Doyle’s…... Read more
November 19, 2020
Source: Potowmack Blog
You’ve probably seen the VNPS Potowmack chapter logo in publications or online over the years. Did you know this beautiful drawing of Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron) and Common Violet (Viola sororia) was created by Barbara Stewart in the early 1980s and adopted as the Potowmack chapter logo in 1985? With some research and lots of…... Read more
July 11, 2020
Source: Potowmack Blog
I recently attended a workshop focused on early detection of Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) (SLF) in Fairfax County. Speakers represented the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division. Spotted Lanternfly is native to China, and has also been found in India, Vietnam, and Japan. Introduced in Korea…... Read more
May 21, 2019
Source: Potowmack Blog