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K A TE’S MOUNT A IN CLOVER
BILL GR A FTON – Editor
WEST VIRGINI A N A TIVE PL A NT SOCIETY NEWSLETTER
Volume 15:3 DECEMBER , 2007
Dear WVNPS Members ,
I hope everyone had an exciting spring , summer and fall and took many opportunities to botanize . I attended several Tri - State Chapter trips and the Fall State field trip . Getting together with friends and fellow botanical enthusiasts is always a treat . I encourage you if you haven’t already , to take advantage of these trips next summer . It’s a great chance to learn about the flora from excellent botanists such as Bill Grafton , Donna Ford - Werntz and Judy Dumke and wildflower gurus such as Romie Hughart , Helen Gibbons , Jeff Patton and many others who regularly attend these fields trips and willingly share the knowledge with participants . Even though I work with , identify and read about plants for my job , I always learn new things on our field trips .
I’d like to thank our Chapter presidents , the WVNPS Board and Frank Porter ( Fall meeting host and organizer ) for organizing excellent field trips and working to educate and involve our WVNPS members .
Please remember that the WVNPS is a organization for all seasons , not just the growing season . This winter we will continue our annual lecture series at Marshall University (see schedule in this issue ). A t the first talk in December I will present on the topic of fire ecology . The use of prescribed fire by land managers is an important tool in conserving biodiversity and rare plants . I will explain why that is and discuss some of the controversy surrounding the use of prescribed fire . The next topic of our lecture series in January features a similar but more specific theme ; How does fire and other forest management practices affect mosses ? This will be presented by John Willey a graduate student at Ohio State University . A nother graduate student and colleague of mine , Gerald Scott will present his research on the effects of the invasive species Tree - of - Heaven on plants and soils . Many of you are probably familiar with this species and its stench . Not only does this plants stink literally , but its also stinks for the plants and soils that have to live with it . Last but not least , Jim Boggess of Barboursville will prime us for spring wildflower season by giving us a virtual tour of the wildflowers of Barboursville park . Jim will discuss many virtues and uses of the plants he has photographed at the park .
Thanks for your continued support of the WVNPS and I look forward to seeing you this winter or next summer .
Chad Kirschbaum , WVNPS President
SILENT INV A SION : ECOLOGIC A L A ND HE A LTH THRE A TS OF INV A SIVE SPECIES
A silent invasion is taking place in our precious forests , meadows , and wetlands . Little by little invasive plants are out - competing native plants as they vie for nutrients to survive . The list of invasive species is growing at an exponential rate . These invasives arrive in cargo containers from abroad either as seeds , roots , or plants . They also are brought into this country intentionally by nurseries who sell them to unsuspecting gardeners who are delighted by the flowers and foliage , but are completely unaware of the ecological havoc these plants can cause in our native ecosystems . A ttempts to eradicate these invasives will always be hampered until the public is made aware of the damage caused by them . One solution is to begin using native plants as substitutes for these invasive species . Native plants are not only extremely ornamental , they are also well - adapted to the growing conditions in which they will be placed , requiring little or no irrigation , needing no fertilization , and requiring no insecticides . The use of native plants lessens the destruction of fragile ecosystems that are inundated with chemicals as the result of too much irrigation and use of pesticides and insecticides .
The intentional and accidental introduction of alien species of plants is one of the dire threats to the natural resources of the Ohio Valley . One need only drive along our major highways and look at the rapid spread of Kudzu vines , Paulownia trees , and the ornamental grass Miscanthus sinensis to see how devastating these species can be . Invasive species are even more prevalent within the confines of our federal and state forests and parks . Microstegia vimineum ( Stiltgrass ) is literally choking out hundreds of species of wildflowers and grasses . It is an annual grass that produces thousands of seeds per plant that attach themselves to any object that passes through them . A TVs are one of the main culprits . A s they ride along trails covered with Stiltgrass , their tires spread the seeds wherever the A TVs venture . A nd all too often , the riders stray off the trails and traverse the sides of the mountains or along gullies and cuts dissecting the slopes . Within a matter of weeks , there are green strips present where the tires have dispersed the seeds .
Invasive species also present health risks to humans . Tree of Heaven (A ilanthus altissima ) is not only invasive but also poisonous . There have been instances where individuals who were sawing these trees became seriously ill from the sap . Another pernicious invasive plant that is a public health hazard is Heraclelum mantegazzianum ( Giant Hogweed ). Originally from A sia and introduced as an ornamental plant , Giant Hogweed ' s clear , watery sap has toxins that cause photodermatitis . Skin contact followed by exposure to sunlight produces painful , burning blisters that can develop into purplish or blackened scars .
There are far too many other species that have invaded the forests , meadows , and waterways of the Ohio Valley . A regional effort must be implemented to prevent and control the continued spread and introduction of these non - native species . Efforts are already underway by both federal and state agencies to eradicate specific invasive species . But it will prove to be a fruitless effort if these same non - native species are allowed to grow in adjacent private lands and continue to be a source of seeds that will ultimately spread back onto public lands . Private landowners , as well as federal and state agencies , must be made aware of the health hazards and ecological catastrophe that is taking place because of non - native invasive plants .
KEYNOTE SPE A KER : Mark Rose
Mark Rose , of Greensboro , North Carolina , has been interested in native plants since 1954. A t an early age , he began cultivating native orchids , trilliums , lilies and hexastylis . His primary interest is in shade gardening and spring ephemerals . He owned and operated a commercial tropical orchid nursery from 1964 to 2007. He is a Life Member of the A merican Orchid Society Inc .; a fellow in the Royal Horticultural Society of London , England ; a co - founder and Board Member of the Native Orchid Conference Inc .; and a member of the North Carolina Native Plant Society and serves on its board . In March of 2006, Mark was appointed by Governor Easley to the North Carolina Plant Conservation Board .
Date : March 27, 2008
Location : Meigs County Extension Office , Pomeroy , Ohio
For further information contact Frank W . Porter at sr 2642@ dragonbbs . com
Wvnps . org ----------- You can pay your 2008 dues now . Check our website .----------- wvnps . org
Our winter lecture series has been finalized for this season . See the schedule below and feel free to forward it to anyone you think would enjoy these lectures . Hope to see you all this season .
Winter Lecture Series
Fire Ecology of the A ppalachian Foothills
Chad Kirschbaum , Wayne National Forest
Wednesday , December 12 th
Silvicultural Effects on Forest Mosses in Vinton County : Ohio Records and Species Trends
John Wiley , Ohio University
Wednesday , January 16 th
Tree - of - heaven its history , biology , and invasion into the deciduous forests of southern Ohio
Gerald Scott , Ohio University
Wednesday , February 13 th
The Wildflowers of Barboursville Park
Wednesday , March 12 th
All Lectures will be held at
Science Building Room 376
6 :30 – 7:30 P . M . Free
Public welcome ! Please join us for a series of talks about wildflowers , mosses , ecology and invasive species .
wvnps ------------ wvnps ------ 2 008 dues are now due -------- wvnps --------- wvnps ---------
WVNPS BO A RD MEETING : Will be held in Charleston ( Saturday , January 19, 2008
Back - up date will be February 19 th . Time and place on website and by email . We hope to have a guest speaker talking about invasive species .
Summary of the A nnual Joint Meeting of the Torrey Botanical Society , the Philadelphia Botanical Club , and the Botanical Society of A merica , Northeastern Section ( June 17-21, 2 007).
By Elizabeth Byers , with thanks to Larry Klotz and Ed Miller for their notes on the event
The meeting took place at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins , West Virginia , and featured a program of three all - day field trips plus four evening lectures . This was the 60 th BOTSOC foray . The 42 full - time and five part - time participants represented 11 northeastern states plus the District of Columbia and Florida .
The field trip leaders were Jim Vanderhorst , Elizabeth Byers , and Brian Streets from West Virginia Natural Heritage Program ; Dr . Katherine Gregg of West Virginia Wesleyan College ; and Leah Ceperley from Canaan Valley National
Wildlife Refuge . Evening lectures were given by Elizabeth Byers , Katherine Gregg , Bill Roody ( West Virginia DNR ), and Rodney Bartgis ( The Nature Conservancy ). Larry Klotz was the Chair for this meeting , Marcia Minichiello was the A ssistant Chair , and Karl A nderson again served as Treasurer . The next meeting for June 2008 will be in southern New Jersey and organized by Ted Gordon and Walt Bien .
The program opened on Sunday evening with a slide presentation by Elizabeth Byers on " High elevation wetlands of the A llegheny Mountain region ." We distributed field trip materials , including maps and a checklist of 733 species which have been documented at the field trip sites . On Monday morning , we departed for Cheat Mountain in the area of Gaudineer Knob . We began with an upland limestone forest on west flank of Cheat Mountain . This was the lowest elevation stop of the day , and was situated along a band of Greenbrier limestone that forms a ring around the entire Tygarts Valley River . The forest here is successional , with black cherry and slippery elm over a rich herbaceous layer . There was an abundance of land snails . This area also had lots of black cohosh (A ctaea racemosa ) in bloom and blue cohosh ( Caulophyllum thalictroides ) in fruit , Goldie’s shield fern ( Dryopteris goldiana ) , and other calciphiles . In the dense shade of June , the spring ephemerals had disappeared , except for wild leek flowers ( Allium tricoccum ) , which are known ( and relished ) as “ramps” to the locals .
The group then ventured into the balsam fir ( Abies balsamea ) swamp at Blister Run . This is perhaps the finest stand of balsam fir in WV near the southernmost extent of the species range . This large swamp hosts numerous wetland plants including several rare species . We saw several pad orchids ( Platanthera orbiculata ) . One was in perfect bloom which greatly pleased the photographers .
Lunch was at the Gaudineer Picnic A rea . Gaudineer Knob is over 4400 feet elevation and is clearly in the “spruce zone . ” The picnic area is surrounded by a young spruce forest with a ground carpet of the liverwort Bazzania trilobata . At the lunch stop , we enjoyed a southern beauty , the southern mountain cranberry , ( Vaccinium erythrocarpum ) . Its fruit dangles like deerberry but is red when ripe . Mountain wood fern ( Dryopteris campyloptera ) and a budding woodland orchid ( Platanthera clavellata ) were additional highlights . We then ventured into the old growth spruce forest at Gaudineer Scenic A rea . This is a rare old growth remnant of upland spruce forest in WV , said to have survived the loggers by a surveyors’ error , so that ownership was in question . Ed Miller observed that in the Adirondacks of New York , A LL of the adjacent landowners would have logged and asked questions later . A loop trail meanders through the stand which is near the ecotone of the red spruce and northern hardwoods ecosystems .
The final ( or first , if you were in the second group ) stop of the day was the high elevation river scour prairie on the Upper Shavers Fork River . Our northern guests enthusiastically waded the river to what they attractively called an “ice meadow” . Ed Miller said it reminded him strongly of the ice meadows on the upper Hudson River , which also have sticky tofieldia ( Triantha glutinosa ) and a green orchid ( Platanthera flava ) . Two rare Central A ppalachian endemics , Barbara buttons ( Marshallia grandiflora ) and long - stalked holly ( Ilex collina ) provided a geographic / botanical thrill to the group . Other highlights were smooth azalea ( Rhododendron arborescens ) , Carolina tasselrue ( Trautvetteria caroliniensis ) , glade St . Johnswort ( Hypericum densiflorum ) and a pretty phlox ( Phlox maculata ) .
Monday evening , Kathy Gregg gave a fascinating slide presentation entitled " Do orchids hedge their bets ?" Tuesday morning we set out in windy , threatening weather for Dolly Sods . Luckily , the rain and lightning and held off until the afternoon , and we were able to enjoy the spectacular views and breathtaking expanse of mountain laurel in bloom . We began with a brief stop in the upland forest at Laneville Cabin . Dolly Sods is drained by the high - gradient Red Creek , which crosses the Greenbrier limestone at this point . We looked at the transition from the rich deciduous forest to the high elevation spruce zone . There is a small colony of exotic but uncommon strawberry - raspberry ( Rubus illecebrosus ) at this site , with a large white flower and pleasant odor . We then drove up to the top of the ridge and visited the beautiful shrub and bog communities along the Northland Loop Trail . Lunch was at the Red Creek Campground , followed by a brief visit to the tall shrub community and views of the Ridge and Valley ecological province on eastern side of A llegheny Front .
The last stop of the day was at Bear Rocks . Here the landscape was covered &