The Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly, Its Host Plants, and the New Threat They Face

April 29, 2022

By Mary Lee Epps A new non-native fungus and the beetle that carries it may soon severely impact sassafras, spicebush, and most other members of the Laurel family in the United States. Sadly, since these are the main host plants of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly, which is now common throughout most of the Eastern U.S.,…

Magical Mexican Dogwoods: What Should We Call Them?

March 29, 2022

By W. John Hayden, Botany Chair Who knew? Cornus florida, the 2018 VNPS Wildflower of the Year and State Tree of Virginia, has a cousin living in the mountains of eastern Mexico! Mexican Dogwoods have been found in the states of Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. They are, manifestly, close relatives of the familiar Flowering…

Partridge-berry Is Bright All Year

February 17, 2022

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter Partridge-berry (Mitchella repens) is a handsome evergreen vine that creeps along the ground reaching only 2” high. Its long trailing stems can reach 12” long but it develops roots at nodes along the stem wherever it touches the ground, creating large dense colonies. Widespread across eastern North America, it…

Native and Invasive Plant Legislation in the 2022 General Assembly

January 17, 2022

The Virginia General Assembly convened January 12, 2022 and three bills were introduced in the House of Delegates that deal with native and invasive plants. The first step is to assign the bills to committees, then to subcommittees. Bills must pass the committee to be referred to the House for a full vote. View the Virginia…

Wildflower of the Year 2022 Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

January 1, 2022

VNPS is excited to offer beautiful Buttonbush artwork on T-Shirts and Tote Bags.  Visit our Online Store to order. Buttonbush is a shrub or small tree commonly attaining heights up to about 6 m, occasionally twice that size. Leaves are opposite or whorled, elliptic to ovate, 2-8 cm wide, and 6-15 cm long; margins are…

Baldcypress: Towering Virginia Icon

November 21, 2021

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter Baldcypress, Taxodium distichum, our November Plant of the Month, is an unforgettable sight all year. But in late fall when its soft foliage turns vibrant shades of copper-orange, it lights up the entire landscape. These trees are called “bald” because, unlike most other conifers, they are deciduous and lose…

My Journey With the Flora of Virginia

September 16, 2021

By Marion Lobstein My interest in plants goes back to my childhood exploring and earning Girl Scout nature badges. As an undergraduate at Western Carolina University in the 1960s, I took my first plant identification class and really got hooked. Later, At UNC-Chapel Hill, I had the opportunity to take a plant taxonomy class with…

Narrow-leaf Mountain Mint: Pollinator Magnet

September 1, 2021

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter All of the species of Mountain-mints are virtual pollinator and butterfly magnets! They are always “humming” with butterflies and pollinators and their handsome foliage and long-lasting flowers make them summer garden stars. Of the twelve species in Virginia, Narrow-leaf Mountain-Mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium) is certainly one of the most attractive…

Tom Wieboldt: Profile of a Virginia Botanist

August 18, 2021

An Interview with Tom Wieboldt by Nancy Vehrs Tom Wieboldt retired five years ago as the longtime curator for the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech. He grew up on a farm near Covesville in Albemarle County and currently lives in Giles County just west of Blacksburg with Ali, his wife of 38 years. They have…

Showy Swamp Rose

July 4, 2021

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter June is always an exciting month in the many freshwater wetlands in the Northern Neck and beyond as many plants come into bloom. And one of the showiest blooms belongs to our beautiful Swamp Rose, Rosa palustris, an upright, deciduous shrub typically reaching 3 – 6’ high and wide,…