The Linneaus Legacy
Learn Binomial Nomenclature
As our calendar year turns over into a new beginning, we all ponder the thought of a “New Year’s resolution”. A new year presents an exciting opportunity to begin fresh, inviting a clear pallet of thoughts as luminous as a fresh Minnesota snowfall. A great resolution usually involves the opportunity to expand our thoughts and learn new skills that help us grow as human beings.

Host Plant Highlight
Inspired by author and researcher Doug Tallamy, we will be highlighting the close relationships of larval insects and the native plants they depend on. 90% of plant-eating insects use native plants to grow and survive. While adult insects may utilize the pollen or nectar from the flowers of non-native ornamental plants, the foliage of these plants is inedible to insect larvae (caterpillars). 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. Native plants are at the center of our food webs and ensure the circle of life continues.
Asclepias spp. (Milkweed)
# of Larval species- 11
Milkweed species serve as host plants for 11 species of larval insects, most notably for the monarch butterfly. Monarchs are specialists, meaning that their caterpillars only eat very specific plants, such as milkweed. Tussock moth caterpillars and large milkweed bug nymphs are commonly found eating milkweed as well. The toxins in milkweed accumulate in these insects, providing protection from predators. Milkweed also attracts chickadees, goldfinches, sparrows, and hummingbirds. The fibers from old stalks and the fluffy pappus on the seed are used in bird nests.
Milkweed tussock moth (Euchaetes egle) on swamp milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) on butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Large milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) on common milkweed (Asclepeias syriaca)
Retail Nursery:
Spring is coming!

Our retail nursery and online ordering are currently closed but will reopen this spring on the following dates:

May 14-15
May 21-22
June 4-5
June 25-26
July 16-17
Aug 13-14

For more information visit:
Non-native Species of the Month- Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)-

Oriental Bittersweet is an invasive vine originating from Asia that can grow 10-60 feet. It can be found in woodlands, meadows and thickets, strangling trees with its large woody stems and creating a dense covering that prevents light from reaching whatever lies beneath it. Oriental Bittersweet’s key identification is its fruits, which have yellow capsules and bright red fruits and last throughout winter. Minnesota’s native American Bittersweet is quite similar with orange capsules and red fruits, but Oriental Bittersweet has flower and seed clusters at terminal ends AND at leaf axils. American Bittersweet only has flowering and fruiting clusters at terminal ends. Oriental Bittersweet spreads by both seeds and rhizomes. Control strategies include weekly mowing, cut-stump treatments, and basal bark spraying. 

Native Plant of the Month-
White Pine (Pinus strobus)-

White Pine is a beautiful landscaping tree widely used throughout much of North America. It is truly a magnificent tree attaining a height of 80 feet at maturity with a diameter of 2-3'. It carries long, soft, bluish green needles in bundles of five with large brown cones. Cones are 4-8" in length, are rather thin and never have prickles. They grow on branches that are at least a year old. The bark of white pines is greyish-brown and form plates that look almost like scales. Widely used as a screen or windbreak. This is an upland species that prefers mesic soils.

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.
Here are next three!
Forager Fix

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
is a weedy perennial from Eurasia and has been recorded in nearly all of our Minnesota counties. It is a familiar plant-found at lawn edges and in fields. Its pink blooms appear around the summer solstice in June and are rich in minerals and nutrients. They contain calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Incorporate these pretty blossoms into soups, egg dishes, and as garnishes, or pluck them right from the plant on a dry, sunny day and chew on the inside of the petal for a sweet, earthy tastebud tease! Green tops of Red Clover can also be harvested and have equal nutrient and mineral contents as the flowers. Boil fresh or dry plant material in water for 20 minutes to make an extraction that can be added to smoothies, soups, or stews. This extraction can also be used to cook pasta or soak grains, which will add nutritional benefits. Make sure areas of harvest do no have heavy metal, nitrate, or pesticide contamination.

Snowy Blanca at Snowy Greenhouse
Natural Shore Technologies, Inc. |