Goodbye 2021!
Enjoy this video with some of our favorite insect and flower highlights from the 2021 season! A few of our resolutions for this year are to plant even more beautiful and beneficial native plants on our landscape and to continue to learn more about the wonderful natural world around us. Share your own 2021 observations in the YouTube comments. We are excited for the upcoming growing season and the new interesting observations we'll make in 2022!
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.
Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea)
# of Larval species- 3
Golden alexander serves as a host plant for 3 species of larval insects! Golden alexanders produce some of the first flowers of summer, blooming a bright sunny yellow from May to June. Black swallowtail butterflies are specialists of this plant and others in the carrot family, Apiaceae. The caterpillars are able to eat cultivated Apiaceae herbs such as dill and fennel. The caterpillars have lime green bodies with bands of black and yellow spots along every other band. Other swallowtail species such as the Eastern Giant and Eastern Tiger use different host plants.
Black Swallowtail Butterfly larva
(Papilio polyxenes)

Black Swallowtail Butterfly larva (Papilio polyxenes) on Golden Alexander
(Zizia aurea)
Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes) Adult on Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Golden Alexander
(Zizia aurea)
blooms from May-July
Do you love to work outdoors? Come work with us!

We are looking for motivated and dependable people with a passion for ecological restoration. We have several seasonal positions open on our installation and maintenance crews as well as in our native plant nursery.

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Non-native Species of the Month
Black Locust
(Robinia pseudoacacia)

Black Locust is a fast-growing tree that can reach heights of 75 feet. It is classified as a Noxious Weed due to its ability to form dense stands through root suckers and start new stands through seed. It can crowd out native vegetation in degraded habitats of upland forests, prairies, and oak savannas. Twigs have sharp thorns, leaves are pinnately compound with oval leaflets, and flowers are in white clusters with a pea-like form. Control methods include cutting and spraying with a systemic herbicide to prevent resprouting. 

Native Plant of the Month-
Purple Coneflower
(Echinacea purpurea)

Purple Coneflower is an easy to grow, robust perennial with fibrous roots and short rhizomes. Leaves are coarsely toothed. Showy flowers have purple-pink ray florets with red brown disk florets. It is tolerant of drought, heat, humidity and poor soil conditions. Grows well in full sun to part sun in dry to moist soils. Found in habitats of open woods and prairies. Used widely in herbal medicines. Flowers are visited by bees and butterflies, and the seeds are eaten by goldfinches.
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 November Book Review featuring Florapedia: A Brief Compendium of Floral Lore By: Carol Gracie
Photo by Peter M. Dzuik 2006
Forager Fix
(Barbarea vulgaris)

Also known as Yellow Rocket, Barbarea vulgaris is a non-native and weedy biennial plant classified in the Mustard family. This plant is high in Vitamin C and minerals. Basal leaves that are fresh in early Spring can be cut up and added to salads for a spicy tang. Older leaves are more bitter but still edible. At this stage, they are a good addition to soups and stews. Flowering stems that form in Spring and early Summer can be cooked like broccoli before the flowers open. Make sure you only consume from plants that are grown in pure clean soil because wintercress has an amazing ability to store contaminants even pesticides, from the soil or water it grows in.

Buckthorn Bustin'
Natural Shore Technologies, Inc. |