Seed Dispersal

Butterfly weed, a type of milkweed, is setting forth its flat brown seeds. The seeds have been growing inside long thin pods since the summer and have now burst open to expose the seeds to the elements, one element in particular, the wind. The seeds are attached to fluffy white, silky filaments which help to carry the seeds, often, far away from the mother plant. The plant pictured happens to be in Catch the Wind here at the Museum, aproposRead more

Green Heron Nests, or Not?

Once again, Green Herons have decided to nest in our Wetlands. Two pair of herons have again concluded that our Wetlands is suitable for raising their young. We have enough food, shelter, and whatever else it is that herons seek when looking for a place to raise a family. The birds have chosen the same trees as they had nested in last year although not the exact locations in those trees. The nest building was going at a feverish paceRead more

Spring Happenings

There’s been much excitement over the past few days about the Red Wolves and the expected new residents here at the Museum. In the next few days many of you will hike out to the Red Wolf Exhibit to check on our female (1287) to see how she’s doing. I don’t blame you, I’ve been spending a lot of time watching the wolves my self lately. There’s been many changes in our female’s behavior and appearance of late. So, by allRead more

May Flora

Japanese Honeysuckle is in bloom. An exotic species, and an invasive one, Japanese Honeysuckle is still a favorite of many people for both its fragrance and taste. People either love Japanese Honeysuckle or they hate it. Here’s just one paper on the subject. Mulberry is ripening and many birds are gulping down the berries as soon as they do. What’s wrong with this picture? No, it’s not snow. It’s seed dispersal in action. Since the first of April, the Black WillowsRead more

Willow Seeds and Sweet Treats

Black Willow seed dispersal was in full swing during the first half of May. Anyone who was strolling through the Wetlands during that period would surely have noticed the “blizzard” of white fluffy seeds blowing pass them. The long silky hairs that cover the willow’s seeds have the ability to carry them long distances, and, they’re abundant. That, along with the fact that fallen twigs sometimes take root and grow, may help to explain why there are so many willows inRead more

Conspicuous, and not so Conspicuous, Bloomers

Sycamores, sweetgums, hornbeams, mulberries, maples, and willows on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop are all well on their way to being fully leafed. Bald Cypress, the only southern conifer that loses its leaves in winter, is showing fresh new growth. The ashes are lagging behind and are just now starting to spring forth with new leaves. The Museum’s Flowering Dogwoods came into their own the first week of this month, bursting open with all of their brilliant whiteness.Read more

May Flowers

Top Photo: Blue-eyed grass. The most noteworthy flowering plants were Ox-eye Daisy, Poppy, Dame’s Rocket, Buttercup and various clovers. I also noticed Blue-eyed Grass in a few places along the path. The Black Willows in the Wetlands began dispersing their fluffy, wind-borne seeds – at times it appeared to be “snowing” willow seeds.Read more