A double whammy: cactus and parasite of the month at Botany Photo of the Day.
Via The Economist, recent research published by Evan Preisser and Joseph Elkinton yields an interesting result to those concerned with the conservation of Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) trees. From Virginia to Connecticut, the species has been getting clobbered by an invasive hemipteran, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae), native to Asia. However, comes another sap-sucker, Elongate Hemlock Scale (Fiorinia externa), also invasive, to feed on the hemlock. According to the paper, in experimental infestations, trees inoculated with both bug species fare better than those inoculated with just the adelgid.
Handy tip for navigating in the southwest:
Ferocactus [sp.] tend to grow slightly tilted toward the south, because of the additional sun exposure. If you are ever lost in the desert without a compass, remember to look for this feature to find south.
Good botany links this past couple of weeks.
First, Anne-Marie at Pondering Pikaia explains the difference between two families of succulents in You Can’t Milk a Cactus.
Second, at Botany Photo of the Day, guest bloggers Connor Fitzpatrick, Hannes Dempewolf, and Paul Bordoni promote the Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species with reports on four examples: emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccon), laurel (Laurus nobilis), maya nut (Brosimum alicastrum), and sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides). The GFU’s mission is to “Promote and facilitate the sustainable deployment of underutilized plant species to increase food security and alleviate poverty among the rural and urban poor.”
Highway signs using Clearview, a more legible alternative to so-called Freeway Gothic, are starting to make their appearance in Virginia. Here’s an example, this one particularly easy to photograph, at the end of the parking lot for the W&OD Trail where it crosses Route 28. How to distinguish Clearview? Notice the tails on the lowercase L’s, the large x-height, and the springy-looking lowercase A’s. Leta says, “it just looks bigger.”
Very handsome image, along with interpretive links, of a Cork Oak tree from Portugal at Botany Photo of the Day. Cork harvested from the bark of this tree is an eminently renewable resource.
Justin Runyon et al. from Penn State demonstrate that dodder (Cuscuta pentagona), a parasitic orange-stemmed vine, uses chemical scents to find host plants. We see a lot of dodder in the Huntley Meadows Park wetland, and I think it’s a fascinating creation. Not for nothing is it called “Witches’ Shoelaces.” But I would no doubt feel differently if I were this tomato plant.
There’s really such a thing as a boojum? No way!