Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rethought Green Lawn...What's Flowering Instead?

Several years ago we stopped mowing our lawn and incrementally started adding "wildflowers". For sure, this is not a pure/pristine restoration effort, i.e. this will never mirror a historic plant community. The objective is: a) propagate larval host plants for butterflies b) cultivate plant species known as key nectar sources for pollinators c) demonstrate/be-a-catalyst for rethinking the "green lawn".

Have had success in meeting objectives though the yard is still evolving/changing. Have been adding different native species (seeds) every year. Of course, this takes time and patience. This method is pure expectation and fun. I wonder what will take root and multiply. Will Monarchs appear at some point in time on the Showy Milkweed? Build It and They Will Come exampled butterfly usage a few years ago. Nothing like looking out the window and seeing some beautiful flowers (see below) at a minimum. Consider using a part of your lawn for ecology and beauty. Thank you :-)

Black-eyed Susan


Wild Flax


Monday, June 15, 2015

Discovery of Clustered Broomrape...Unusual Plant

Observed (1st sighting for me) today an unusual plant on a sagebrush flat near Stevensville, MT. Orobanche fasciculata is a parasitic plant; it has no chlorophyll or photosynthetic ability. The roots of this plant envelop adjacent plant roots. By doing so it obtains all the water and nutrients needed to grow. Beyond this fact, little is known of the life histories of Broomrape. There are three other species of Orobanche in Montana that differ by color and structure. Most are parasitic mainly on Sagebrush (Artemsia) with Asteraceae, Rannunculaceae, Saxifragaceae and Crassulaceae also advantaged (Lesica 2012). It is a colorful plant about 3 inches in height. Noticeable due to clumped stems and "large" brownish flowers with yellow throats.
Clustered Broomrape (Orobanche fasciculata)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Respiration of a Four-spotted Skimmer

I was lucky to capture video of a "large" dragonfly on a close-by perch recently. While watching the short video, I noticed the the abdomen expanding/contracting greatly and quickly. Hadn't noticed that extreme of action in the past. So, I did some research on insect respiration and found this excellent website for explanation: HOW DO INSECTS BREATHE? AN OUTLINE OF THE TRACHEAL SYSTEM. Here's the visual: