Seeds, Leaves, Two Volunteers, and a Flower

Top Photo: Tiny seeds from pod of wingleaf primrose-willow in wetlands. Wingleaf primrose-willow (Ludwigia decurrens) is sometimes called seedbox because of its seed pod shape, square in cross section. Other names include, wingstem water primrose, willow primrose, upright primrose-willow. The alternate leaves of Ludwigia decurrens are “decurrent” – the leaf base extends down the plant’s stem as “wings.” This herb grows in wet or marshy areas, and is sometimes aquatic. Fragments of the plant will root in a day or twoRead more

Mystery Tree

Always on the lookout for new or unusual flora and fauna here at the museum, Ranger Martha spotted a small tree or shrub growing along the path across from the Farmyard. What caught her eye were the numerous pink buds and flowers (about 1”) on the plant. Not knowing what the plant was she took several photos and started asking questions. Martha showed the photos to me. I was of little help, even after examining the plant in person. It seemed,Read more


Airborne seed dispersal is an efficient way to get the next generation off to a good start far from the original. Considering an acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree, that’s quite a feat for a stationary plant (acorns may be carried miles from the mother tree by birds, such as bluejays, but that’s another story). In both photos above and below groundsel tree (a shrub) lets loose its seeds via the wind. A puff of wind is all youRead more

Seed Dispersal

Top Photo: Wind-borne seed dispersal groundsel tree. In my last post I mentioned at least one method in which plants manage to get from one place to another. “Perhaps a bird visiting the garden where the original plant was, or is still growing, ate one or several of the fruit. Passing by the Museum, the bird landed in one of the locust trees, depositing seeds in its droppings beneath the tree. The vine sprang up where the seed-laced droppings fell.” Indeed, IRead more

A Bittersweet Discovery

Top Photo: Fruit of Euonymus fortunei or winter creeper. I happened to be walking through Into the Mist just as Exhibit Developer, Michele Kloda and Landscape Supervisor, Christian Britt were installing steps on one of the tunnel mounds in that much visited playscape. Michele pointed to a vine growing up one of the black locust trees in the exhibit and suggested “bittersweet.” Glancing at the many red fruit dangling from the vine, and frankly, not knowing any better, I said, “yes, IRead more

Groundsel is letting loose

At the beginning of the week, the blustery winds and rain sent an abundance of leaves to air, settling on the paths, woodlands, and on the water’s surface in the Wetlands. Yesterday (11/18) it was Groundsel Tree’s turn, but this time it’s the seeds that are being spread over the landscape. Groundsel Tree (Baccharis halimifolia), Siverling, Sea Myrtle, Saltbush, whatever you prefer to call it, is native to coastal marshes. But, you may have noticed it’s white billowing flowers andRead more

Sticks Like a Tick.

Showy Tick Trefoil (Desmodium canadense) is native to North America. It’s a prairie plant, a legume, and reaches a height of over six feet. From it’s name you may have inferred that it is a pretty (showy) plant and has three-lobed leaves (trefoil). The flowers are indeed attractive and the leaves have three leaflets, but where does the tick part come in. If you brush against the plant in the fall or winter you’ll probably carry some of the plant’s seedsRead 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