Monarch Update 2022
Love is in the air this month, and we are certainly feeling it towards the iconic Monarch butterfly. Each year we share with you a Monarch update. During the summer of 2021, our work crews were commenting on the noticeably low number of Monarchs in both larvae and adult forms. Click below for more information on our observations and what you can do to help these dynamic butterflies' imperiled populations.

Host Plant Highlight
90% of plant-eating insects use native plants to grow and survive. Without their native host plants, many butterflies and other insects cannot survive. Birds and other wildlife use caterpillars and other insects to feed their young. Over the last few years, we have seen major declines in both insect and bird populations due to a variety of factors, especially habitat loss and fragmentation. Rebuilding habitat with native plants is crucial in providing food for caterpillars, which in turn provide food for baby birds; making native plants the foundation of our food webs.
Black-eyed Susan
(Rudbeckia hirta)
# of Larval species- 15
Black-eyed Susan and other Rudbeckia species are host plants for 15 species of larval insects, including the Silvery Checkerspot butterfly. The adults are orange with unique black markings, and the caterpillars are all black with spiky hairs. The seeds of black-eyed Susan are a great food source for birds and other wildlife in the fall and winter. 
Silvery Checkerspot adult
(Chlosyne nycteis)

Silvery Checkerspot larva (Chlosyne nycteis)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) blooms from June-September and grows 1-3 feet high
The larva of the Wavy-lined Emerald Moth (Synchlora aerate) sometimes uses Black-eyed Susan petals as camouflage to hide from predators
The Greenhouses have started up!

Despite the cold and snow our native plant greenhouses are getting started for the year. Check our website for our 2022 sale dates and other information about all of the wonderful pesticide-free native plants we are growing!

For more information visit:
Non-native Species of the Month
True Forget-me-not
(Myosotis scorpioides)

True Forget-me-not is a low-growing perennial from Europe. Found mostly on the eastern edges of Minnesota, it blooms and produces seeds all throughout the growing season and prefers wetland habitats with slow-moving water. The small flowers are pale blue with a bright yellow center, and the leaves are alternate, 1-3 inches long and covered in appressed hairs. Stems are hairy and multiple from the base of the plant. True-Forget-me-not can form dense mats at the water’s edge, preventing native species establishment. A native Forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa) also grows in wetland habitats in the northeast part of Minnesota but can be distinguished by its less robust growth form and very small flowers. Control methods for True Forget-me-not include hand pulling, digging up plants and preventing seed formation by cutting off flowerheads. 
Native Plant of the Month-
Pasque Flower
(Pulsatilla patens)

Pasque Flower is very attractive and an early bloomer in prairie habitats. The entire plant is covered with long, silky soft hairs. The basal leaves are deeply divided, with the flowers emerging before the leaves. The flowers have no petals. Instead, the showy blue, purple, or white sepals are petal-like with a yellow center loaded with stamens. The seed head consists of many plumes/hairs attached to seeds, enabling wind dispersal of the fruits. Pasque Flower grows in full to part sun on well-drained, sandy soil. It is usually found on sunny slopes of dry prairies and barrens. The plant is self-fertile, but pollination is also by bees. Other common names are Easter Flower, Prairie Crocus, and Wild Crocus. 

We love to read books about our natural world, and want to share our favorites with you! On the last Wednesday of each month we will feature a book discussion and review on our Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.
Here are the next three!
Watch our January Book Review featuring a classical favorite: A Sand County Almanac by: Aldo Leopold
Forager Fix
Black Mustard
(Brassica nigra)

Did you know that the Black Mustard so commonly used as condiment grows as a weed right here in Minnesota? It's true! Black Mustard (Brassica nigra) is an annual from Eurasia and is our featured Forager Fix this month. This plant can be found in disturbed soils and full sun conditions, such as fields and waste areas. Black Mustard has massive rosette leaves with wavy margins and a rough texture. The upper leaves are widely variable, but usually feature coarsely toothed edges and deeply lobed sinuses. The bright yellow flowers appearing throughout the summer turn into erect, bean-like pods that carry seeds with a dark brown to black color. Plant height ranges from 2 to 8 feet. Although seeds are the most utilized part for seasoning dishes, the leaves of Black Mustard are edible and boast a hot flavor. Use them in salads and as a potherb, and make sure to chop them up- a little bit goes a long way! Pre-flowering, bolting stems can also be eaten and cooked like broccoli. Black Mustard also exhibits medicinal properties. A headache or cold can be helped with using bruised seeds in a warm foot bath. Skip the grocery store for this condiment and forage your own!
Slowly Getting Closer to Spring!
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