Friday, May 29, 2009

Bad News, Good News

That bad news about viburnums yesterday sent me off to the Skidmore Woods today, to check on three viburnums that grow out there.  (I wore different shoes than those I wore to dig out my Highbush Cranberries this morning.  Didn't want to carry infested soil to a new area.)  Alas, the Arrowwood (Viburnum recognitum) was crawling with Viburnum Leaf Beetle larvae.  Leaves full of  holes, many totally skeletonized, flowers stunted, the whole shrub a mess.  I didn't have the heart to take a photo.
But I'm happy to say that, just ten feet away, the Maple-leaved Viburnum (V. acerifolium) was as lovely as ever.  I checked on it several places in the woods, and found no signs of VLB.  

Maple-leaved Viburnum

I next went to find several Nannyberry shrubs (V. lentago), and they, too, seemed to have escaped infestation.  For now.  The berries of all these viburnums serve as important food sources for birds and other wild creatures.   Let's hope other fruit-bearing shrubs and trees are having a better year.

Sweet Viburnum, also called Nannyberry

We had some much-needed rain these last few days -- enough to flood many low-lying spots in the woods.  I had to get my feet wet to photograph this Tufted Loosestrife (Lysimachia thyrsiflora), the first of the loosestrifes to bloom around here, and one that doesn't mind having its own feet wet.  This plant is a native and not in the same family as Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), the dreaded alien invasive that swarms over meadows and fills roadside ditches, crowding out native plants.  

I love the puffy yellow tufts of Tufted Loosestrife.

In fact, none of our native loosestrifes -- Tufted, Fringed, Whorled, or Yellow --  are even in the Loosestrife Family.  They are all in the Primrose Family.  Makes me wonder who comes up with these common names.  Something else I wonder about:  Why can't these invasive alien beetles go after the invasive alien plants?  

Dream on!

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