Landscapes of Memory

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]

Smile – It’s A Smilax!

The genus Smilax is bound to catch your attention one way or another – your eye catches a distinctive green leaf; your nose detects a whiff of something slightly ‘off;’  your skin or clothes catch on sharp prickles as you walk down the trail. Those prickly Simlax  have common names that include the words Greenbrier or… [Read More]

VNPS Annual Meeting Field Trip to False Cape

For the first time, two all-day field trips were added to the rooster of choices for the VNPS Annual Meeting in order to allow more time for travel into places not readily accessible. A trip to Cypress Bridge involved boats. A trip to False Cape State Park today required a drive by tram through a… [Read More]

Botanical Excitement in Lexington’s Backyard

Well, not in Lexington, but they might as well be. A series of unexpected rock outcrops barely on the Rockbridge side of the line provides a case study in plant disjunction and unexpected botanical discovery. * * disjunct – separated geographically, especially the population of a restricted area lying outside a main range These bedrock… [Read More]

A Tale of Shale: Virginia’s New Violet

The Virginia shale country has offered up yet another major botanical surprise. In a corner of the state already renowned for its botanical oddities, the winding path leading to this discovery illustrates the value of field work, curiosity, and research in its most literal sense. In 1936, while exploring shale barrens and woodlands in Douthat… [Read More]

In the Field With Tom Wieboldt: Botetourt County

VNPS members from several different chapters converged upon Botetourt County on August 2nd to explore three different plant communities under the guidance of Tom Wieboldt. Tom is well known as curator of Massey Herbarium, vice-president of Virginia Botanical Associates and contributor to the Flora of Virginia (to list just a few of his accomplishments). His… [Read More]

The Hunt Is On: Meet the Treasures!

The VNPS Fundraiser for 2014 is part two of the Natural Treasure Hunt, an effort to make funds available for researching, locating, and mapping some of Virginia’s floral treasures that are in need of help if we want to keep them around. On the homepage of Virginia’s Department of Natural Heritage , (DNH), our partners in the… [Read More]

Asclepias Tuberosa, the Butterfly Queen

How did such a lovely plant come by so many spurious common names? Poor Asclepias tuberosa. Known by many as butterfly weed, but some of its alternative common names are even worse than that. Pleurisy root, for example. Indigenous peoples once chewed its tough taproot to cure pulmonary ailments, presumably it had a more enticing… [Read More]

Wild and Wonderful West Virginia: Report from the Field

In a perfect combination rare plants and plant people came together on last month’s VNPS extended field trip to West Virginia. The “flower per hour” crowd enjoyed perfect weather and were very happy taking time to get to know the plants and watch for pollinators, reported Sally Anderson, who was on the trip, and has… [Read More]

Matelea obliqua: Climbing Milkweed

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]