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BILL   GR A FTON     Editor


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 .

Cheers ,

Chad   Kirschbaum WVNPS   President


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

Jim   Boggess

Wednesday ,  March  12 th

All   Lectures   will   be   held   at   

Marshall   University

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 .

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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   with   blooming   mountain   laurel whites pinks   and   red The   laurel   is   complimented   with   groves   of   red   spruce Pleistocene   rock   rivers and   open   bogs Minniebush  ( Menziesia   pilosa )   was   a   new   species   for   many   of   our   northern   visitors .   They   also   enjoyed   the   many   blueberries   and   cranberries  ( Vaccinium   spp .),  trailing   arbutus  ( Epigea   repens ) swamp   dewberry  ( Rubus   hispidus ) black   huckleberry  ( Gaylussacia   baccata ) catberry  ( Nemopanthus   mucronata ) chokeberries  ( Photinia   melanocarpa P pyrifolia ) wild   raisin  ( Viburnum   nudum   var cassinoides ) ,   pinkster   azalea   ( Rhododendron   prinophyllum   ),  and   smooth   gooseberry  ( Ribes   rotundifolium ) .   They   recognized   bunchberry  ( Cornus   canadensis )   and   three - toothed   cinquefoil   ( Sibbaldiopsis   tridentata ) common   northern   species   that   are   rare   in   West   Virginia .   Along   the   road   we   found   a   very   photogenic   display   of   wild   red   bleeding   heart   ( Dicentra   eximia )   and   native   bush   honeysuckle  ( Diervilla   lonicera ) . A bout   this   time the   lightning   began   to   flash   and   we   drove   back   to   Elkins   in   a   driving   rain grateful   for   the   beautiful   day .

Tuesday   evening Bill   Roody   treated   us   to   an    engaging   slide   presentation   on   Mushrooms a   world   of   wonder .    Wednesday   dawned   clear cool   and   dry . A  perfect   botanizing   day We   headed   out   to   Canaan   Valley ,   a   high cool   valley   at   about   3 000  ft above   sea   level Canaan   Valley   is   home   to   a  7,000  acre   expanse   of   wetlands the   largest   anywhere   in   the   unglaciated  A ppalachians .   Geologically the   valley   lies   along   the   axis   of   the   breached   Blackwater   River   anticline with   a   ring   of   limestone   around   the   edge and   a   sandstone   ridge   in   the   middle .   The   Blackwater   River called   the   “River   Styx”   by   surveyor   Thomas   Lewis   in  1746,  drains   the   valley   with   slow - moving   meanders   and   boggy   tributaries providing   exceptional   habitat   for   wildlife birds and   rare   plants .   Cold   air   drains   from   the   surrounding   uplands   to   pool   in   the   flat   valley   at   an   elevation   of  3200  feet   above   sea   level .   Rainfall   is   plentiful averaging   about  1300  mm / year and   the   valley   functions   as   a   giant   frost   pocket .   Natural   wetland   communities   in   this   system   generally   have   substrates   of   shallow   to   deep   peat   or   muck .   Canaan   Valley   is   especially   known   for   its   rich   limestone   swamps which   are   among   the   most   biologically   significant   of   all   Appalachian   wetlands .  

The   day   began   with   a   walk   to   a   limestone   meadow   and   beaver   pond   complex   in   a   restricted   part   of   the   national   wildlife   refuge with   many   interesting   seep   and   wetland   species ferns   and   mosses .   Several   purple   fringed   orchids  ( Platanthera   psycoides   or   P grandiflora ) one   of   which   was   an   albino   were   a   highlight We   then   visited   an   oxbow   fen   impounded   by   natural   stream   levees   along   the   Blackwater   River .   Steeplebush  ( Spiraea   tomentosa )   and   meadowsweet  ( Spiraea   alba )   were   common .   We   also   saw   roundleaf   sundew  ( Drosera   rotundifolia )   and   green   woodland   orchid  ( Platanthera   clavellata ) Lunch   was   at   the   Canaan   Valley   State   Park   Pavilion .

In   the   afternoon we   walked   the  A be   Run   Swamp   Boardwalk with   its   rich   limestone   flora .   This   swamp   contains    “frost   pocket”   balsam   fir   wetlands   with   one   of   the   highest   concentrations   of   rare   plants   in   the   state .   We   saw   good   populations   of   glade   spurge  ( Euphorbia   purpurea ) a   globally   rare   plant   that   is   fortunately   not   palatable   to   deer .  A  few   plants   of   pretty   Jacobs   ladder  ( Polemonium   van - bruntiae )   pleased   the   photographers and   we   saw   a   few   common   northern   species  ( rare   in   WV including   creeping   snowberry  ( Gaultheria   hispidula ) star   violet  ( Dalibarda   repens ,   known   as   dew   drop   up   north ),  and   alder - leaved   buckthorn  ( Rhamnus   alnifolia )

Our   final   stop   was   at   the   deer   exclosure    on   Timberline   Road   within   the   national   wildlife   refuge .   Here   we   put   our   botany   skills   to   work surveying   a  1600  sq   m   deer   exclosure   at   the   edge   of   a   shrub   swamp   and   enclosing   a   balsam   fir   stand .   Canaan   Valley   National   Wildlife   Refuge   and   volunteers   built   the   exclosure   in  2002  to   protect   balsam   fir   regeneration .   Our   many   eyes   and   specialties   helped   to   inventory   the   plant   species   that   are   present   after  4  years   of   deer - free   growth .

The   meeting   came   to   a   close   with   a   delightful   lecture   on   Wednesday   evening   by   Rodney   Bartgis entitled  " Dry   limestone   communities   of   the   upper   South   Branch ."   On   Thursday some   participants   toured   Cathedral   State   Park   and / or   Cranesville   Swamp   on   their   way   home .   It   was   a   great   privilege   to   spend   four   days   with   this   remarkable   group   of   talented   botanists   from   the   northeast and   to   have   the   opportunity   to   showcase   some   of   our   West   Virginia   treasures !

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Federally   Listed   Threatened   and   Endangered   Plant   species   in   WV

An   Update   Regarding   Their   Status     Part  1

Paul   J Harmon

Botanist  -  West   Virginia   Natural   Heritage   Program

Wildlife   Resources  -  Division   of   Natural   Resources

Four   federally   listed   endangered  ( LE ),  and   two   federally   listed   threatened  ( LT plant   species   occur   in   West   Virginia .   They   include   running   buffalo   clover   ( Trifolium   stoloniferum )  ( LE ),  shale   barren   Rockcress  ( Arabis   serotina )  ( LE ),  harperella  ( Ptilimnium   nodosum )  ( LE ),  northeastern   bulrush  ( Scirpus   ancistrochaetus )  ( LE ),  Virginia   spiraea  ( Spiraea   virginiana )  ( LT ),  and   small   whorled   pogonia  ( Isotria   medeoloides )  ( LT ).   Botanists   of   the   West   Virginia   Natural   Heritage   Program   have   been   monitoring   the   status   of   these   species   for   more   than   two   decades using   standard   methods   generally   used   across   the   range   of   the   species   by   other   Heritage   botanists   in   other   states .   The   large   volume   of   qualitative   and   simple   quantitative   data   has   accumulated   to   the   point   that   we   can   begin   to   see   whether   they   are   stable   in   numbers increasing   in   numbers   or   decreasing   in   numbers .

T  &  E   plant   species   in   West   Virginia   are   some   of   the   most   interesting   species   found   in   our   state often   growing   in   unique   habitats   or   in   specific   disturbance   regimes   that   help   to   keep   competitor   species   from   overcoming   them .   They   often   have   special   adaptations   or   qualities   that   enable   them   to   survive   in   their   respective   habitats .

Let’s   revisit   the   T & E   plant   species   found   in   the   Mountain   State   and   learn   how   they’ re   doing .

Running   buffalo   clover  ( Trifolium   stoloniferum )

Running   buffalo   clover  ( RBC ) ( Trifolium   stoloniferum )   is   a   member   of   the   legume   family  ( F A B A CE A E ).   It   was   once   commonly   reported   from   West   Virginia   to   eastern   Kansas  ( Brooks , 1983).   Brooks  (1983)  had   concluded   that   this   species   was   extinct   in   North  A merica but   Rodney   Bartgis now   Director   of   the   West   Virginia   Chapter   of   The   Nature   Conservancy found   two   small   Element   Occurrences  ( EOs in   West   Virginia   in  1983  and  1984.   The   United   States   Fish   and   Wildlife   Service   (USFWS listed   RBC   as   an   endangered   species   in  1987.   Since   then sufficient   EOs   of   RBC   have   been   discovered   across   its   range   to   warrant   the   RBC   recovery   team   to   recommend   to   the   USFWS   to   down - list   it   to   federally   Listed   Threatened  ( LT status but   this   has   not   been   officially   acted   upon   to   date .  

RBC   looks   much   like   the   European   white   clover   common   to   lawns   in   our   state but   it   differs   in   having   large   white   flower   heads   atop   a   stalk   that   arises   from   a   pair   of   trifoliolata   leaves .   Its   leaves   are   glabrous  ( having   no   hairs and   there   are   no   chevrons  ( v - shaped markings   on   its   leaves .   RBC   produces   stolons  ( runners   along   the   ground ),  with   two   large thin   stipules   at   each   leaf   node .  A s   of  2007,  West   Virginia   has  36  extant  ( existing living and   three   extirpated  ( eliminated   from   the   landscape occurrences .

Running   Buffalo   Clover   is   disturbance   dependant most   commonly   growing   in   mesic   woodlands   in   partial   to   filtered   sunlight where   there   is   a   pattern   of   moderate   periodic   disturbance such   as   mowing trampling vehicle   traffic or   grazing .   In   at   least   some   instances disturbance   can   be   as   extreme   as   the   hauling   of   logs   along   a   road or   as   mild   as   periodic   trampling   by   large   mammals .   In   West   Virginia the   species   prefers   old   logging   roads jeep   trails hawthorn   thickets grazed   woodlands game   trails and   old   fields   succeeding   to   mesic   woodlands In   Ohio Kentucky Indiana and   Missouri the   species   tends   to   be   found   in   old   cemeteries lawns   of   historical   homes and   on   river   terraces   where   cattle   have   been   grazing .   The   larger   occurrences   exist   within   a   matrix   of   mesophytic   deciduous   forests .   Plants   in   West   Virginia   often   occur   in   regions   underlain   by   limestone but   are   also   found   in   rich   soils   derived   from   other   geological   units such   as   the   Mauch - Chunk   group .   To   date   extant   occurrences   are   located   in   or   near   the  A llegheny   Mountains   and   at   the   eastern   edge   of   the  A ppalachian   Plateau   of   central   to   eastern   West   Virginia in   Barbour Fayette Pendleton Pocahontas Preston Randolph and   Tucker   counties with   one   occurrence   in   the   Central   Low   Plateau   of    Brooke   County in   the   Northern   Panhandle Historically occurrences   were   found   in   Monongalia   and   Webster   counties   as   well .

An   estimated  11,200  plants   were   noted   in   West   Virginia   in  2007,  and   that   does   not   include   an   additional  37,700  plants   estimated   on   Crouch   Knob   in  2004.   The   largest   known   EO   of   RBC   to   date   is   found   on   a   foothill   of   Cheat   Mountain   in   Randolph   County West   Virginia .   More   than  65,000  rooted   crowns   were   estimated   to   be   growing   there   in  1996,  but   by  2004,  the   estimation   seemed   more   likely   to   be   around  35,700  rooted   crowns .

In  2005,  the   RBC   Recovery   Team   revised   the   Running   Buffalo   Clover   Recovery   Plan and   recommended   that   the   species   be   down - listed   to   federally   threatened   status .   Part   of   their   reasoning   for   doing   so   is   because   when   they   analyzed   more   than   ten   years   of   data   taken   in   West   Virginia Ohio Kentucky and   Missouri using   Population   Viability  A nalysis  ( PV A),  it   was   concluded   that   the   probability   that   RBC   will   go   extinct   within   the   next  100  years   is   essentially  0%.   To   do   so the   recovery   team   has   defined   certain   criteria   for   the   species   to   be   down - listed   and   de - listed .  A  certain   number   of   large medium   and   small   populations   of   RBC   must   be   under   legal   protection and   for   West   Virginia which   has   no   state   endangered   species   law that   requires   the   maintenance   of   healthy   occurrences   on   federal   land .   Of   the   thirteen   occurrences   on   federal   property critical   to   the   protection   and   recovery   of   the   species five   have   declined   significantly three   increased   significantly and   five   have   fluctuated   over   time .   One   new large   occurrence   was   discovered   in  2007  on   the   Monongahela   National   Forest   with   over  2,300  rooted   crowns   estimated   to   be   present .   In   summary RBC   is   no   longer   truly   endangered but   we   must   continue   to   document   its   status   and   manage   protected   sites   to   ensure   it   can   eventually   be   de - listed .

Shale   barren   rockcress  ( Arabis   serotina   ) ( LE )

  A rabis   serotina     is   a   federally   listed   endangered   plant   species .   Because   it   grows   sympatrically   with   another   member   of   the   same   genus both   in   flower   during   much   of   early  A ugust a   plan   calls   for   monitoring   this   species   at   several   sites   across   its   range   between  15 A ugust   and  5  September   each   year and   all   other   sites   every   five   years This   protocol   has   been   followed   since  1993.   However in  2001  it   was   decided   that   to   limit   the   impact   of   repeatedly   crossing   the   barrens monitoring   would   be   conducted   biennially   at   the   Little   Fork   and   Brandywine   shale   barrens   in   Pendleton   County as   opposed   to   every   year

Shale   barrens   are   steep generally   south - facing   slopes   in   the   rain   shadow   of   the   Allegheny   mountains   that   are   home   to   numerous   endemic   or   near   endemic   plant   species including   Kate’s   Mtn .   Clover  ( Trifolium   virginicum ) yellow   buckwheat bent   milkvetch and   shale   bindweed .   Shale   Barrens   occur   on   Devonian   shale often   where   the   substrate   is   composed   of   tiny   chips   of   shale   called   “channers” .   Barrens   also   occur   on   massive   outcrops   of   shale .

Traditionally researchers   cited   around  18  vascular   plant   species   considered   endemic   or   nearly   endemic   to   shale   barrens .   In   recent   years   we’ve   learned   that   some   are   less   endemic also   occurring   in   woodlands   on   shale   slopes   of   the   same   substrate

Shale   barren   Rockcress   was   once   thought   to   be   a   biennial   plant but   most   observers   consider   it   to   be   a   facultative   perennial .  A fter   its   seeds   germinate tiny   rosettes   develop   in   the   channery   shale   of   for  3-5  years   until   they   presumably   gain   enough   energy or   environmental   conditions   develop   such   that   plants   produce   a   flowering   bolt   that   may   be  2-3  feet   tall .   Once   the   bolting   plant   produces   flowers   and   fruits the   seeds   fall   away   and   the   plant   dies .

However that’s   not   the   total   story !  A  botanist   in   Virginia   observed   that   a   large   mother”   rosette under   mild   temperatures   and   adequate   moisture   may   produce   smaller   “satellite”   rosettes   connected   under   the   shale   substrate   by   thread - thin   rhizomes .   It   seems   that   under   the   extreme   heat   of   summer those   satellite   rosettes   disappear perhaps   their   nutrients   re - absorbed   into   the   mother   rosettes .   Under   mild   conditions the   satellite   rosettes   have   been   observed   to   develop   into   mature   rosettes   and   bolting   plants .

Shale   barren   rockcress   is   rare   because   of   limited   habitat .   Shale   barrens   can   be   found   from   Pennsylvania through   Maryland into   Virginia   and   West   Virginia mostly   on   extremely   steep   Devonian   shale   slopes   at   the   base   of   mountains   in   the   ridge   and   valley   province .   On   a   hot  A ugust   day the   temperature   of   the   air   six   inches   above   the   surface   can   be   as   warm   as  110  degrees !   That’s   not   very   favorable   to   tree   seedling   development so   the   shale   barrens   are   characterized   by    widely - spaced   trees   and   plant   species   specialized   to   survive   the   hot dry   climate   and   constantly   cascading   channers .

Shale   barrens   are   threatened   by   physical   removal   of   the   shale   substrate invasive   plants   such   as   knapweed canopy   encroachment grazing   by   sheep   and   goats   and   road   construction .  

The   number   of   bolts   and   rosettes   counted   on   Brandywine   Shale   Barren  (132/164)  and   the   Little   Fork   Shale   Barren  (277/230)  increased   from   that   of  2005  (Brandywine : 62/380) ( Little   Fork : 38/949).   These   and   one   other   barren   were   the   only   ones   that   WVHP   staff   were   able   to   monitor   in  2007  due   to   personnel   losses .  

Website  :    wvnps . org ------ Website wvnps . org ---------------- Website :      wvnps . org

The   WVU   Biology   Dept .  Native  Plant   Garden :  Breaking   Out   of   the   Grid

By   Sue   Moyle   Studlar  (26  November  2007)

Very   few   people   know   this but   the   WVU   Biology   Department   has   a   small   Native    Plant   Garden   that   dates   back   to  2004.   It   is   a   hidden   treasure   in   a   back   corner behind   the   monumental   new  (2002)  Life   Science   Building

The   Native   Garden   replaced   a   dense   monoculture   of   the  A sian   ground   cover   Liriope   with   an   ever - changing   display   of   native   West   Virginia   wildflowers

Sarah   Wennerberg  ( then   Donna   Ford - Werntz’   graduate   student designed   the   garden   and   set   it   up using   start - up   funds   from   the   Department   of   Biology   and   volunteer  ( and   work - study student   labor  ( graduate   and   undergraduate ). 

The   inaugural   Native   Garden   work   party   was   on   October  6, 2004.  First   the   Liriope   was   removed  ( hard   manual   labor   by   undergraduate   Marc   Smith ).  Then   Sarah’s   grid   design   was   implemented The   Garden’s   bed  ( measuring  23  X  9  feet was   completely   covered   with   a   mulch   cloth   that   had   been   perforated   with  48  holes  (4  rows , 12  holes   each ).  Each   hole   was   actually   an   X   that   had   to   be   forced   open   when   a   plant   was   introduced   through   the   mulch   cloth   to   the   soil The   plan   was   to   favor   the   wildflowers   and   keep   out   the   weeds   with   cloth   plus   several   inches   of   bark .   

The   students   put   in  40  plants two   each   of   twenty   species   purchased   from   Enchanter ’s   Garden  ( Peter   Hues ).  Sarah   carefully   noted   the   location   of   each   plant   on   a   paper   grid  ( Excel   printout that   corresponded   to   the   Garden   grid . A  Carolina   silverbell   tree  ( Halesia   tetraptera )   that   had   graced   the   original   Liriope   planting   was   left   in   place so   the   Garden   had   a   shady   end   and   a   sunny   end

This   grid - based   garden   was   relatively   weed - free   and   easy   to   monitor We  ( Donna me and   student   assistants noted  ( about   three   times   per   year whether   plants   were   vegetative flowering declining or   dead There   was   only   about   a  50%  survival   rate   of   species   over   the   first   three   years To   compensate   for   losses we   added   ten   more   plants  (5  species from   Porterbrooks  ( Frank   Porter in   September   of  2006.

With   something   in   bloom   throughout   the   growing   season our    minimum - maintenance   garden   was   a   nice   resource   right   outside   the   door   for     Plant   Systematics   and   Flora   of   West   Virginia   field   trips Yet   with   only  50%  survival   and   minimal   recognition we   could   surely   do   better .

In   October  2007  a   chance   meeting   led   to   marked   improvements

Susie   Hart a   returning  ( older student   in   general   biology liked   to   study   at   the   desk   outside   my   office   that   just   happened   to   overlook   our   Native   Garden . A ctive   in   Garden   Clubs   in   both   Morgantown  ( West   Virginia   GC and   Clarksburg  ( Goff   Plaza   GC ),  Susie   offered   to   seek   Garden   Club   grants   for   improving   the   WVU   Native   Garden She   said   both   Garden   Clubs   would   welcome   affiliation   with   the   Department   of   Biology and   would   appreciate   guided   tours   of   the   Garden   to   see   the   “fruits”   of   their   sponsorship .  

Inspired   by   the   Garden   Club   connection I   looked   more   critically   at   our   flower   bed It   was   clear   that   Frank   Porter’s   earlier   assessment   was   correct the   non - biodegradable   mulch   cloth   was   doing   more   harm   than   good The   plants     almost   without   exception     were   growing   on   top   of   the   mulch   cloth   rather   than   in   the   soil   below They   were   caught   “between   a   rock   and   a   hard   place”     with   compacted   clay   below   the   cloth   and   soilless   bark   upon   the   cloth .

So   it   became   clear   that   what   we   needed   to   do   was   get   rid   of   the   mulch   cloth ameliorate   the   soil and   replant   all   species Our   goal   became   a   more   diverse   garden   with   more   natural   groupings   than   a   grid   pattern   provided .   Fortunately I   had   two   excellent   student   assistants   this   fall work - study   student   Michelle   Prusa   and   independent   study   student  A nthony   Barker Together  ( in   October  2007)  we   cut   up   and   discarded   the   restrictive   mulch   cloth and   replanted   all   plants   into   a   loamy   mix   of   recycled   greenhouse   soil coir  ( coconut   fiber and   new   peatmoss - based   soil .

The   replanting   gave   us   a   chance   to   liberate   the   whorled   milkweed   and   dwarf   crested   iris   from   the   rapidly   spreading   blue   and   gold  ( Chrysogonum   virginianum ) We   could see   that   blue   and   gold   made   a   fine   native   ground   cover but   it   had   to   be   watched   or   it   would   take   over

We   also   introduced  (2007)  seven   more   species five   from   Porterbrooks   and   two   from   the   Groundskeeper  ( Morgantown funded   by   a   grant  ($250)  from   the   WV   Garden   Club   for   plants   and   labels I   now   have   additional   funding  ($136  from   the   Goff   Plaza   Garden   Club for   tools plants and   labels so   next   spring   will   see   further   diversification   of   the   Garden

Making   informative   durable   labels   seemed   like   a   good   way   to   increase   both   the   educational   content   and   visibility   of   the   Garden Many   students   sit   on   the   Garden   walls   during   the   frequent   “fire   alarms”   for   the   Life   Science   Building  ( LSB without   any   idea   that   their   native   plant   heritage   is   at   their   elbows .

So   we   made   informative   durable   labels   that   were   nice   but   not   fancy   enough   to   invite   theft Each   label   gave   basic   information   on   the   name  ( common scientific family ),  habitat and   geographic   distribution as   well   as   one   feature   of   special   interest  ( such   as   the   pollinator ). 

The   label   information   was   printed   onto   mailing   labels using   a   Word   template The   labels   were   then   self - glued   to   two - legged   metal   labels  ( sold   as   “rose   markers” and   lastly   water - proofed   with   contact   paper  ( very   carefully using   cut - out   strips ). 

We   put   out   the  20  labels   for  20  species   in   the   Native   Garden   in   October  2007.  The   labels   were   similar   to   our   LSB   Conservatory   labels but   would   they   withstand   thunderstorms Indeed   they   did over   a   several   week   period with   only  1  of  20  showing   any   damage Fortunately there   was   also   very   little   vandalism   to   the   labels   or   to   the   plants In   mid - November the   labels   were   taken   in   for   the   winter   and   replaced   with   inconspicuous   metal   markers   to   facilitate   later   plantings   and   monitoring .

We   anticipate   that   survival   rate   in   the   Native   Garden   will   far   exceed  50%  in   the   future Our   native   wildflowers   should   grow   and   bloom   with   vigor   in   response   to    ameliorated   soil freedom   from   the   mulch - cloth   grid and   enhanced   care   and   attention We   expect   our   back   corner   Native   Garden   to   become   increasingly   visible colorful educational and   enjoyable   to   the   WVU   community   and   the   public

Species   list ,  WVU   Biology   Dept .  Native   Plant   Garden ,  November   2007

Asarum   canadense

Wild   Ginger

Aristolochiaceae   ( Birthwort   Family

Aruncus   dioicus

Goat’s   Beard

Rosaceae  ( Rose   Family )

Asclepias   verticillata  

Whorled   Milkweed

Apocyanaceae  ( Dogbane   Family )

Baptisia   australis

Blue   False   Indigo

Fabaceae  ( Legume   Family )

Baptisia   tinctoria

Wild   Indigo

Fabaceae  ( Legume   Family )

Chrysogonum   virginianum

Green  &  Gold

Asteraceae  (A ster   Family )

Chelone   glabra

White   Turtlehead

Scrophulariaceae  ( Snapdragon   Family )

Dicentra   eximia

 Bleeding   Heart

Fumariaceae  ( Fumitory   Family )

Geranium   maculatum

Wild   Geranium

Geraniaceae  ( Geranium   Family )

Halesia   tetraptera

Carolina   Silverbell

Styracaceae  ( Storax   Family )

Heliopsis   helianthoides  

False   Sunflower ,  Oxeye   Daisy

Asteraceae  (A ster   Family )

Iris   cristata

Dwarf   Crested   Iris

Iridaceae  ( Iris   Family )

Liatris   aspera

Rough   Blazing   Star

Asteraceae  (A ster   Family )

Porteranthus  ( Gillenia trifoliatus

Indian   Physic

Rosaceae  ( Rose   Family )

Pycnanthemum   tenuifolium

Slender    Mountain   Mint

Lamiaceae  ( Mint   Family )

Silene   caroliniana

Wild   Pink

Caryophyllaceae  ( Pink   Family )

Silene   virginica

Fire   Pink

Caryophyllaceae  ( Pink   Family )

Silene   stellata

Starry   Campion

Caryophyllaceae  ( Pink   Family )

Stylophorum  diphyllum

Celandine   Poppy

Papaveraceae  ( Poppy   Family )

Symphyotrichum  (A ster oblongifolium

Aromatic  A ster  / Shale   Barren  A ster

Asteraceae  (A ster   Family )

Tradescantia   virginiana

Virginia   Spiderwort

Commelinaceae  ( Spiderwort   Family )

Zizia   aptera

Heart - Leaved  A lexander

Apiaceae  ( Parsley   Family )

LIVING   OFF   THE   L A ND                                            By Bill   Grafton

A   few   weeks   ago   I   found   a   Summer   Grape   vine   absolutely   loaded   with   clusters   of   grapes .   I   ate   my   fill  ( about  8  mouthfuls ).    More   than   that   will   usually   send   a   person   in   hot   pursuit   of   a   bathroom .   Since   then   I   have   seen   lots   of   Summer Winter and   Riverbank   vines   full   of   grape   clusters .   In   my   experience   only   the   Summer   Grape   is   good   to   eat   fresh .  A ll   can   be   made   into   tasty   jellies but   the   Winter   and   Riverbank   will   need   additional   sugar   and   spices   to   make   them   yummy .

Persimmons   were   also   full   of   fruit   is   several   areas   of   the   state .   These   can   be   eaten   fresh   once   they   have   gone   through   a   couple   of   frosts   or   they   turn   purplish   in   color .   Persimmon   pudding   or   jam   is   another   good   use   of   these   fruits if   you   can   get   them   before   the   opossums foxes raccoons and   other   animals   consume   all   of   the   fruits .

Many   of   the   “nuts   and   acorns”   can   be   excellent   eating .   Beechnuts   are   excellent   fare   simply   by   cutting   away   the  3- sided   hull .   Hickory   nuts   are   excellent   and   have   a   very   preferred   flavor Most   people   prefer   the   shagbark   and   shellbark   nuts   that   have   large   kernels   and   thinner   shells .   Mockernut   is   tasty   but   the   thick   shell   is   better   left   for   the   squirrels .   White   oak   acorns   are   the   only   acorn   I   will   eat   raw .   It   still   has   a   strong   flavor   but   has   the   lowest   amount   of   tannic   acid .  A ll   other   acorns   (black red pin etc .)  are   best   after   being   boiled   in   several   changes   of   water   after   the   hulls   are   removed .   Some   people   even   pound   them   into   small   pieces   prior   to   soaking  ( bleaching ).  A fter   the   acorn   pieces   are   boiled   several   time   to   remove   the   tannic   acid   the   acorn   pieces   should   be   ground   or   pounded   into   flour .   The   flour   can   then   be   used   for   porridge   or   fried   into   cakes .

West   Virginia   has   both   the   Beaked   and  A merican   Hazelnuts   that   can   be   eaten   if   you   beat   the   animals   to   the   nuts .  A nd   don’t   forget   the   Black   and   White   Walnuts .   These   are   highly   prized   and   are   often   gathered   and   sold   for   money .   By   the   way White   Walnut   is   also   called   Butternut .   I   love   these   in   cakes   or   cookies .

There   is   no   nut   that   comes   close   to   matching   the   “king   of   the  A ppalachian   forests” the  A merican   Chestnut .   More   on   this   in   another   section   of   Native   Notes .

Need   some   sugar .   Scrape   out   the   yellowish   sticky   pulp   inside   the   Honey   Locust   pods .

Other   fruits   that   are   good   to   eat   are   Teaberry Partridge   Berry and   Choke   Cherry .

Hawthorn   fruits   were   not   plentiful   this   year   but   do   make   excellent   jellies   and   tea .

If   you   need   a   sip   of   tea .   You   should   still   be   able   to   find   leaves   of   peppermint spearmint Oswego    Tea Sweet  ( black birch   or   sassafras   twigs   and   bark   makes   a   nice   tea as   do   white   pine   or   hemlock   needles .   Tea   can   also   be   made   from   Spicebush   twigs   and   berries Northern   white   cedar  (A rborvitae ),  and   Sumac   berries .

If   you   have   a   headache   or   feel   generally   bad   try   the   inner   bark   of   any   willow   which   contains   the   salicylic   acid   used   in   aspirins .   Try   the   inner   bark   of   Slippery   Elm   for   a   sore   throat .

If   you   need   starches   in   your   diet try   the   roots   of   cattails Wash   clean dry and   pound   to   get   the   starch   loose   from   the   fibers .   The   tubers   of   Jerusalem - artichoke   are   good   when   boiled sliced   raw   in   salads or   pickled .  A nd   don’t   forget   the   Wapato  ( Sagittaria   latifolia that   grows   in   shallow   water   along   many   streams   and   around   ponds .   Most   of   these   tubers   and   roots   can   be   easily   located   in   the   dead   of   winter   by   recognizing   the   dead   stalks .

Finally many  A mericans   are   addicted   to   candy .   Dig   a   few   roots   of    Wild   Ginger Coltsfoot   Ginger or   Sweet   Flag   and   candy   these   by   soaking   them   in   syrup .   Better   yet wait   til   February   and   make   your   own   maple   syrup   to   candy   the   roots .

Should   you   be   one   of   those   who   like   to   brag then   try   the   tough   first - year   roots   of   Wild   Carrot  ( Queen  A nne’s   Lace ).   The   plant   is   still   easily   recognized   by   the   rosettes   of   leaves .   Make   your   “coffee”   the   Luisianne   way   with   the   ground   up   roots   of   Chicory .   Bulbs   of   Wild   Garlic   and   even   the   infamous   Ramp   are   edible   all   year .   Finally you   can   eat   the   large   flabby  ( when   wet lichen   called   Rock   Tripe   that   grows   on   many   boulders   and   cliffs   in   out   shady   woods .   You   will   need   to   boil   the   rock   tripe   in  5  to  7  changes   of   water   to   get   rid   of   the   toxic   chemicals   and   the   gritty   taste .   The   advantage   of   eating   these   last   few   plants   are there   will   be   very   little   competition   from   wild   animals   or   other   humans .

It   has   truly   been   a   bountiful   year   in   nature !!  Take   advantage   of   it and   expand   your  

horizons .

* ******************* YOU   C A N   P A Y   YOUR  2008  DUES   NO W ***************


By   Doug   Wood

   You   know   them .   You   see   them   along   the   roadside   every   day -- their   numerous   dead   limbs   and   branches   rotting   in   place -- shedding   shards   of   spongy   wood   all   over   the   ground .   Some   of   them   have   thorns   or   thorn - like   branchlets constantly   littering   the   earth   beneath   with   picnic - preventing punji - like   protuberances  .   Often   their   twisted bent   boles   sport   the   equivalent   of   festering   sores   on   animals -- you   know -- gnarley   fungal   conks oozing   frost   cracks sloughing   cankers .   When   you   look   in   the   Checklist   and  A tlas   of   the   Vascular   Flora   of   West   Virginia ,   by   Paul   J Harmon Donna   Ford - Werntz and   William   Grafton you   see   the   distribution   maps   show   them   as   widespread   in   the   state .   They   are   probably   ubiquitous   in   all  55  counties .  A djectives   like   “common”   and   “abundant”   seem   to   precede   the   species   names   in   every   treatise   that   condescends   to   mention   them mostly   checklists   and   field   guides .   Rarely   are   they   the   stuff   of   lofty   nature   prose   or   poetic   flourish .   I   don’t   recall   ever   hearing   much   praise   for   box   elder Virginia   pine or   black   locust .   Oh   yes of   course black   locust   has   its   friends   in   the   utilitarian   wood   product   world .   Its   rot - resistance   is   legendary .   Likewise when   the   market   for   southern   yellow   pine   is   up Virginia   pine   can   sneak   in   as   a   hillbilly   cousin   and   fetch   a   few   dollars   more .   But   price   per   board   foot   just   isn’t   the   kind   of   thing   that   inspires   nature   enthusiasts .

    Perhaps   we   should   view   these   species   from   a   different   angle .   I   can’t   frolic   with   my   sweetie   under   a   locust -- so   what ?   Is   it   such   a   big   deal   that   you   have   to   take   your   shoes   off   after   tripping   through   the   pitch   under   a   Virginia   pine   before   entering   your   carpeted   home ?   Box   elders   and   manicured   lawns   don’   t   work   well   together but   maybe   that’s   all   right .   What   if   we   look   through   the   eyes   of   animals   that   frequent   the   space   these   tree   species   occupy ?   Maybe   we   can   gain   some   insight  

into   the   ecological   importance   of   scruffy   species .   I   am   acquainted   with   a   fellow   wildlife   biologist   who   is   stricken   with   what   I   call   “nut - bearing   myopia .    The   result   of   this   condition   is   that   he   can’t   see   the   value   of   any   tree   unless   it   bears   nuts   in   autumn   to   provide   food   for   critters   in   winter .   Indeed such   species   are   important -- but   watch   a   mother   squirrel   wean   her   pups   off   milk   by   taking   them   to   the   nearest   box   elder   stand and   you   will   understand   why   my   friend’s   vision   is   myopic .   He   calls   box   elder   the   “white   man’s   bane ,   meaning   that   he   believes   it   was   not   so   abundant   in   Pre - Columbian   times   in   North  A merica .   I   beg   to   differ .   Producing   seeds   in   abundance   early   in   the   warm   season box   elders   provide   squirrels   with   plenty   of   easily - obtained   carbohydrates   and   protein much   needed   by   active   squirrelings   who   are   learning   acrobatics   for   the   first   time   in   their   lives .   In   seedtime box   elder   stands   are   visited   so   regularly   by   such   squirrel   families that   often   the   pups   also   get   their   first   experience   at   nest - building   there .   The   easily   broken   twigs   adorned   with   fresh   green   leaves   make   excellent   practice   materials   for   inexperienced   young’ns .  A nd   while   the   pups   are   constructing they   always   have   a   tasty   seed   snack   nearby !

    Like   their   cousins sugar   maples   and   red   maples box   elders   have   sap   flowing   early   in   the   year and   this   provides   food   for   sap - sucking   insect   larvae   even   as   the   last   winter   snows   fall .   Consequently when   the   early - arriving insect - eating   neotropical   migrant   birds   alight   here   hungry they   can   count   on   box   elder   to   provide   them   the   sustenance   they   need   to   keep   going   north   or   to   defend   territorial   boundaries   nearby .   Of   the   three   scruffy   species   under   consideration   in   this   article box   elder   seems   to   be   the   most   susceptible   to   rot .   Decay   leads   to   insect   infestation   and   vice   versa   in   an   ever - accelerating   feedback   loop   that   develops   a   vertical   smorgasbord   for   woodpeckers   and   bark - searching   birds   with   a   hankering   for   wood - boring   larvae .   Weakened   limbs branches and   trunks   usually   litter   the   ground   in   a   box   elder   stand bringing   the   arthropod   goodies   to   the   world   of   ground - dwelling   critters .   Song   sparrows   and   Carolina   wrens   often   hunt   insects   in   this   world   of   punk   wood   and   forest   mould .   Shrews   and   moles   enjoy   the   bed   and   board   here   as   well .   The   box   elder   stand   would   not   be   complete   in   summer   without   a   slithering   serpent   or   two   searching   around   the   cracks   and   crevices   of   piles   of   woody   debris   carried   in   on   spring   freshets   from   branch - shedding   brethren   further   upstream .

    Surely   a   species   with   its   primary   habitat   alongside   streams   contributes   something   to   the   proper   functioning   of   the   aquatic   environment .   Let   us   consider   for   a   moment .   Box   elder   thrives   in   clayey   bottoms   prone   to   flooding .   In   such   situations   its   extensive   root   system   is   one   of   the   few   great   holders   of   streamside   soil   in   our   region .   Other   trees   with   similar   erosion   control   functions   include   sycamore silver   maple and   black   willow .   Even   when   box   elders   decay   rapidly   above   ground   surface their   roots   continue   to   hold   soil   in   place providing   a   matrix   of   strands   of   various   diameters between   which   soil   peds   cluster   in   relative   stability   for   decades .   As   the   roots   slowly   decay their   channels   function   as   piping   systems   allowing   groundwater   to   reach   stream   bank   surfaces thus   preventing   hydraulic   pressure   overload   and   subsequent   bank   sloughing .   The   root   channels   also   provide   transportation   corridors   and   hunting   grounds   for   fossorial   species   like   mole   salamanders   and   their   mammalian   namesakes .   Many   are   the   times   I   have   seen   water   snakes   disappear   into   root   holes   when   threatened   by   my   presence .   Rare   these   days   are   extensive   forests   covering   bottomlands   in   West   Virginia’s   Western   Allegheny   Plateau -- but   where   they   are   found box   elder   is   usually   a   significant   component   in   the   canopy and   aquatic   communities   usually   have   their   greatest   diversity   in   watersheds   covered   with   such   forests .   Habitat - choking   silt   is   at   its   minimum   where   upland   forests   cover   the   hillsides   and   where   bottomland   trees   protect   the   near - stream   environment .   The   constant   rain   of   woody   debris   from   decaying   box   elders along   with   the   annual   leaf   fall   provide   much   needed   allochthonous   materials   directly   to   the   aquatic   ecosystem .   What   aquatic   biologists   call   LWD   ( Large   Woody   Debris performs   several   important   ecosystem   functions including   provision   of   macro   and   micro   habitats slow - release   nutrients and   sediment   traps .   Similar   to   its   other   Acer  cousins Acer   negundo  sheds   low - lignin   leaves   that   are   readily   broken   down   by   benthic   macroinvertebrates   known   as   shredders .    Shredders  ( several   species   of   aquatic   insects reduce   leaves   to   smaller   particles consume   these   small   particles and   then   excrete   nutrient - rich   nano - nuggets   for   filter - feeders ,   such   as   certain   caddisflies   and   black   flies .   Box   elder   leaves   provide   excellent   substrate   for   fungal   and   bacterial   colonies   that   feed   grazers ,   such   as   numerous   species   of   mayflies   and   midges .  A ll   three   of   these   functional   feeding   groups  ( shredders filterers and   grazers are   prey   for   predators   of   the   macroinvertebrate   world  ( many   species   of   large   stoneflies fishflies and   dragonflies as   well   as   those   of   the   vertebrate   world especially   fish   in   aquatic   environments but   also   insectivorous   birds   in   the   aerial   environment .   How   much   joy   have   you   received   from   watching   swallows   hunt   mosquitoes   over   a   favorite   birding   pond   or   a   lazy   stream or   cedar   waxwings   intercepting   emergent   mayflies   ascending   to   the   treetops   in   courtship   displays or   a   hiccuping  A cadian   flycatcher   snagging   midges   along   a   barely - wet   headwater   stream   in   early   summer   beside   one   of   your   favorite   hiking   trails ?   Backtracking   on   the   food   chain you   might   find   some   box   elder   stands   responsible   for   some   these   birding   memories .

   A nother   scruffy   species   with   few   ardent   appreciators   is   black   locust .   Sometimes   found   in   well - drained   bottoms and   sometimes   found   on   rounded ridgetops black   locust   seems   to   favor   organically   rich   soils   that   are   not   too   moist   and   not   too   dry .   Consequently stands   of   black   locust   are   often   found   on   hillside   benches .  A n   early   succession   species the   thorny   tree   may   form   nearly   impenetrable   thickets   in   old   fields   for   a   few   years   after   such   fields   are   left   to   fallow .   After   a   forest   has   replaced   the   thicket as   long   as   one   black   locust   is   part   of   the   canopy you   don’t   want   to   pass   through   barefooted .   Thorn - covered   branches   cover   the   ground   for   years   before   the   thorns   decay .   The   rot - resistant   wood   remains   hard   for   decades   after   it   has   succumbed   to   one   form   or   another   of   fungal   infection insect   infestation or   canopy   competition .  A ctually rot - resistant  is   not   really   a   good   adjective   for   black   locust since   many   large   black   locusts   actually   have   a   noticeable   fungal   infection known   as   crack - topped   fungus .   The   fruiting   bodies   of   the   fungus   are   excellent   tinder   for   starting   fires .   However even   when   infected the   wood   remains   sturdy   and   resistant   to   other faster - acting   rotting   agents .  

   A re   there   ecological   virtues   of   this   tree   commensurate   with   its   famous   utility   as   fencepost   and   rail   material ?   Yes   indeed .   Have   you   ever   seen   a   black   locust   in   bloom ?   Or   better   yet have   you   ever   been   in   a   grove   of   blooming   black   locusts   and   whiffed   the   fragrance   of   bee - attracting   sweetness ?   The   apiarists   know   that   when   black   locust   is   having   a   good   bloom   year honey   is   going   to   be   extra   fragrant .   Since   black   locust   blooms   later   than   many   species   in   our   area it   rarely   loses   fruit   production   to   late   frost or   heavy   spring   rains .   Bean - like   pods   of   this   legume   are   almost   always   abundant   in   summer   for   seed - eating   species   of   birds   and   mammals even   if   other   food   species   have   not   produced   well .

    Black   locust  ( Robinia   pseudoacacia )   is   the   tree   that   keeps   on   giving .  A s   with   most   legumes nitrogen - fixing   bacteria   associated   with   the   species’   roots   convert   atmospheric   nitrogen   into   a   water - soluble   form   that   is   readily   taken   up   by   the   roots   of   any   plants   growing   in   the   vicinity .   The   tree   also   provides   a   growing   substrate   for   several   lianas .   In   fact the   association   between   black   locust   and   its   viney   companions   is   so   common   that   it   would   be   easy   to   confuse   the   relationship   as   symbiotic .   However there   appears   to   be   no   readily   discernible   advantage   to   the   tree   for   its   support   of   grapes Virginia   creeper climbing   bittersweet and   poison   ivy .   These   species   often   share   their   youth   in   fencerows .   If   a   fence   is   abandoned they   grow   together the   black   locust   providing   physical   support   to   the   lianas   in   a   way   that   allows   them   to   reach   greater   heights   than   they   could   on   their   own .   The   sparsely - leaved   crown   of   black   locust   does   not   shade - out   the   dangling   hitchhikers   the   way   that   yellow   poplar   and   other   broadleaved fast - growing   species   do .   This   may   be   one   reason   why   ancient   black   locusts   seem   to   sport   vines   more   often   than   do   other   fencerow   species   of   similar   age .   Berry - eating   birds   are   particularly   blessed   by   the   support   role   played   by   black   locust for   each   of   the   vine   species   associated   with   locust   bear   small   berries .   The   fruits   of   poison   ivy   and   bittersweet   often   cling   on   through   the   winter   months providing   much   needed   nutrition   during   the   most   difficult   season .  

The   cushiony   bark   of   this   thorny   tree   is   often   host   to   a   yellow - green   lichen so   small it   appears   to   the   naked   eye   as   merely   a   color   variation   of   the   bark .   Clothe   your   eye   with   a   magnifying   lens and   the   lichen   is   revealed .   This   same   lichen   grows   on   certain   sandstones   as   well .   If   there   were   an   oscar   for   best   supporting   tree I   would   vote   for   black   locust .

    On   the   driest   ridges you   will   often   find   Virginia   pine  ( Pinus   virginiana ) .   The   scruffiness   of   this   species   is   reflected   in   its   most   common   vernacular   name scrub   pine .    It   has   a   scrubby   form   and   it   grows   well   in   scrubby brushy   thickets   that   form   after   a   treeless   clearing   is   allowed   to   grow   along   the   track   of   natural   succession .   Consequently in   some   cultures   it   is   called   old   field   pine .    Thickets   of   young   scrub   pine   provide   excellent   shelter   from   bitter   cold   winter   winds .   Numerous   animal   species   take   advantage   of   such   retreats   in   foul   weather .   Follow   a   deer   trail   through   snow   into   a   sapling   pine   thicket and   you   will   soon   find   many   other   tracks   therein .   Cones   are   produced   in   great   abundance and   the   tiny   seeds   borne   inside   are   sought   out   by   several   over - wintering   bird   species .   In   older   stands   of   scrub   pine fall   migrant   red - breasted   nuthatches   are   often   seen replenishing   themselves   from   the   insects   hanging   out   under   the   small   flakes   of   bark   that   characterize   this   pine .   In   spring migrant   pine   warblers   often   trill   high   in   the   tree - tops   of   our   scrubby   pines as   do   a   few   conifer - loving   species   that   breed   further   north   or   in   the  A llegheny   Highlands .   To   migrating   species   like   blackburnian   warbler yellow - rumped   warbler and   magnolia   warbler western   West   Virginia’s   scrub   pine   stands   offer   familiar   habitat   characteristics   they   will   seek   out   on   their   breeding   grounds   further   north   or   east .

    One   of   my   favorite   piney   hangouts   is   the   Nature   Conservancy’s   Slaty   Mountain   Preserve   in   Monroe   County .   There you   can   see   four   pine   species   in   close   proximity   to   one   another .   The   preserve   is   a   good   place   for   students   to   learn   to   differentiate   between   table   mountain white pitch and   scrub   pines .   The   southern   aspect steep shaly   slope   is   not   conducive   to   soil   building .   Pine   needles   are   so   waxy   and   dry   there   that   they   almost   act   like   light - weight   shards   of   shale .   They   pile   up   behind   large   rocks until   finally   the   lower   layers   of   needles   remain   moist   enough   to   decay   and   contribute   to   the   formation   of   tiny   pockets   of   soil .   These   pockets   then   provide   enough   nutrition   and   moisture   for   pine   sprouts   to   gain   a   toehold and   begin   the   slow   process   of   growing   under   nearly   constant   drought - like  

conditions .   Most   species   of   trees   growing   in   such   conditions   show   signs   of   scruffiness but   the   scrub   pines   out - scruff   all   others .  

There   are   a   couple   of   large   Virginia   pines   growing   in   the   yard   of   our   camp   on   Greenbrier   River .   I   remember   when   they   were   small   saplings .   They   grew   much   of   their   lives   with   little   competition   for   sunlight   from   any   quarter .   Consequently   they   have   the   rounded   crown   of   open - grown   specimens   of   that   species .   However competition   from   yellow   poplar   in   the   last  15  years   or   so   has   altered   their   form   somewhat .   They   now   have   many many   dead   branches and   their   constant   shedding   of   prickly   cones   causes   barefoot   wanderers   to   avoid   passing   directly   underneath   them .   Some   relatives   have   encouraged   me   to   cut   them   down .   I’ve   made   up   all   sorts   of   excuses   for   not   heeding   their   advice .   “I   don’t   want   to   gum   up   my   saw .    “The   squirrels   and   birds   use   them   a   lot .    “Their   needles   nurture   a   good   variety   of   mushrooms .    “They   protect   the   house   from   flood   debris   and   from   raging   currents .    “They   keep   the   grass   beneath   them   shaded so   I   don’t   have   to   mow   as   often .    “They   provide   me   with   good   fatwood   for   starting   campfires .   A ll   of   these   reasons   are   valid but   what   I   really   think   is “Why   don’t   you   toughen   up   your   feet   or   put   on   flip - flops ?   Those   trees   and   I   grew   up   together so   I’m   not   about   to   cut   them   down !    We   really   have   grown   up   together and   we   have   grown   scruffy   together and -- God   willing -- we   will   grow   old   together .   I   might   even   outlive   my   old   friends -- after   all I   don’t   have   yellow - bellied   sapsuckers   drilling   rings   around   my   torso .

And   so   I   throw   a   kiss

to   all   the   scruffy   trees .

Without   them   I   would   miss

Maw   Nature’s   birds   and   bees .

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KING   OF   TREES   IN  A PP A L A CHI A                                By Bill   Grafton

There   can   be   no   doubt   that   the  A merican   chestnut   was   “the   tree”   of   the  A ppalachian   Mountains   from   New   York   to  A labama .   However ,  in  1904  chestnut   blight   was   introduced   on   chestnut   trees   from  A sia   into   the   New   York   City   area .   Despite   monumental   efforts   to   control   the   disease ,  it   swept   through   West   Virginia   in   the   late   1 920 s   and  1930 s .

A .  B .  Brooks   estimated   that  1  of   every  10  trees   in   WV   was   a   chestnut .  Chestnut   trees   frequently   grew   to   heights   of   more   than  100  feet   and   diameters   of  3  –  6  feet .

The   loss   has   caused   major   historical   changes   over   the   past  80  years .   The   wood   was   rot   resistant   and   easily   worked .   It   was   therefore   the   best   wood   for   building   materials ,  rail   fences ,  telephone   and   electrical   poles .   The   nuts   were   the   reason   for   much   higher   populations   of   mammals   and   birds   prior   to   the  1930 s .   People   collected   bushels   of   the   nuts   for   eating   and   depended   on   the   nuts   to   fatten   hogs   and   cattle   for   winter .

Despite   millions   of   dollars   that   failed   to   control   the   spread   of   the   disease   and   failed   to   find   any   cures   or   truly   resistant   trees ,  there   were   always   visionaries   who   searched   for    ways   to   bring   the   chestnut   back   to   its   former   status   as   “king”   of   our   forests .

Some   scoured   mountains   and   valleys   to   find   chestnuts   that   were   immune   to   the   blight .

Others   worked   with   hypovirulent   strains   of   the   deadly   fungal   blight .   Hypovirulent   strain   can   kill   the   deadly   blight   but   will   not   kill   the   tree   itself .   Hypovirulent    fungi   had   been   found   in   chestnut   orchards   in   Europe   and   were   later   identified   in   Michigan   and   Wisconsin .  A  third   group   began   working   on   backcross   breeding   of   the   Chinese   and   American   chestnuts .

The  A merican   Chestnut   Foundation  ( T A CF )  was   formed   and   in   the  1980 s   began   supporting   these   efforts .   The   hypovirulent   strain   of   chestnut   blight   still   shows   promise .  

The   genetic   back   crossing   is   getting   lots   of   publicity   recently .  

T A CF   purchased   a   farm   at   Meadowview ,  Virginia   in   the   late  1980 s   and   began   backcrossing  A merican   and   Chinese   chestnut .   The   first   generation   was  50% A merican   and  50%  Chinese .  A fter   many   back   crosses   and   selecting   the   best   seedlings   for   immune   genes   of   Chinese   chestnut   and   tall   straight   growth   of  A merican   Chestnut ,  the   scientists   now   have   seedlings   that   exhibit  94 %  desirable   characters   of  A merican   and  6 %  immunity   characters   of   Chinese .  

In   the   next  2-3  years ,  these   selected   seedlings   will   be   planted   on   US   Forest   Service   lands   at  6  sites   from   Tennessee   to   West   Virginia .   These   seedlings   are   not   guaranteed   to   be   immune   from   new   insect   and   disease   problem ,  nor   from   a   root   rot   that   is   known   to   be   a   problem   on  A merican   Chestnut .

The   Meadowview   Research   Farms   have   expanded   and   now   have   about  34,000  seedling / saplings   on  150  acres .   If   you   want   to   know   more ,  check   out   the   T A CF   website .

You   could   also   start   a   West   Virginia   chapter .   We   are   in   the   very   heart   of   the  A merican   Chestnut   range   but   there   is   NO   WV   Chapter   of   T A CF .   All  5  bordering   states   do   have   T A CF   chapters .

Lastly ,  dream   of   the   return   of   the   “king”   to   our   forests   and   help   it   become   a   reality !!!!!!

2 008  DUES   SHOULD   BE   P A ID   VERY   SOON * ******************************