If you are out walking on a winter morning, you might be lucky enough to see some of nature’s most beautiful and ephemeral sights: hair ice and frost flowers, both snow-white and delicate against the dull forest floor. [Read more…] about Hair Ice and Frost Flowers
That’s common mistletoe (Viscum album), which one botanical dispatch from the 1800s called “perhaps the most distinguished plant in the flora of England.” It’s found in broadleaf trees across Europe, and its associations with protection and fertility trace back to at least the Ancient Greeks and Celtic Druids. [Read more…] about Eastern Dwarf Mistletoe: A Hemiparasitic Hydrostatic Time Bomb
A Delaware County, NY man reported missing over the summer may not have wanted to be found. Reported missing on August 31st after failing to return home, multiple law enforcement agencies searched for the man and his vehicle. [Read more…] about Missing Man Found Unlawfully Harvesting Wild Ginseng
Nearly everyone has enjoyed the several products derived from the fruit of the cranberry, but few people are familiar with the ecology of this interesting plant or the role it has played in many local economies and histories.
Today the cranberry industry is an important. part of the agricultural economy only in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. But many other parts of the country were at one time involved in cranberry production. [Read more…] about Cranberry Bogs of Long Island: Some History & Natural History
During a late summer walk, I noticed that the common milkweed in our back field is becoming not-so-common. Once vigorous patches of the milky green plants have dwindled, engulfed in a sea of Canada goldenrod. [Read more…] about Establishing Milkweed for Monarchs
A student plopped a leaf on my desk, pointed to several green lumps on its underside, and asked, “What are those green growths?” It was a stump-the-professor moment, and in this case, I was indeed stumped. The growths certainly seemed to be galls of some sort. But which ones? [Read more…] about Hackberry Galls: Little Green Yurts
Among summer’s many sweet offerings are wild berries. And among these, blueberries are my favorite. Years ago, I took to carrying large, empty yogurt containers in my car – and smaller vessels in my backpack – so I would have something to fill should I pass a good berry patch. My children became used to my meandering travels along back roads and woods trails as I foraged opportunistically. [Read more…] about Wild Blueberries: A Primer
Every spring, after the last of winter’s snow has completely melted and as I start the wonderful, dirty work of turning the soil of my vegetable beds, I find myself gazing often to the just-greening-up ground beneath the old apple tree behind the garden.
It’s a rather unruly tree, sprouted at some point from the fallen-over trunk of its ancestor apple tree. And beneath its sprawling branches, every year, blooms a patch of bloodroot. [Read more…] about Signs of Spring: Bloodroot Blooms
Have you spotted curly corkscrews emerging from the forest floor this spring?
Look closely as the woods begins to “wake up” this season, and you’re likely to see some fiddleheads. Fiddleheads are the frizzy furls of a young fern that will unroll into a fresh frond.
Most species of ferns go through this brief stage, which gets its name for its resemblance to the coiled end of a string instrument. [Read more…] about Fiddleheads: Signs of Spring
The Northern Forest Region lies between the oak forests of the Eastern United States and the boreal forests of Eastern Canada. It is, collectively, one of the largest and most continuous temperate forests left in the world and, like much of the biosphere, it is at risk.
Grasses of the Northern Forest (Cornell University Press, 2022) by Jerry Jenkins and Brett Engstrom is an essential companion for those interested in stewardship and conservation of the region. [Read more…] about Grasses of the Northern Forest