Every once in a while, I come across some new way to garden I was unaware of before. At the Hartford Flower and Garden Show a visitor asked what I knew about Hugelkultur, and I had to tell him “Nothing, tell me what you know.” There is always something new to learn, research and read about in all endeavors, but I especially love new gardening ways and tips. He offered what he knew, and I promised to find out more and pass it on.

Hugelkultur is a German word meaning hill culture; the process of planting a garden or plants over or near buried  logs  decaying below the surface. While the logs are  composting below ground, they are holding moisture like a sponge which the plant roots can access. Nutrients are also released from the decaying wood and made available to surrounding plants. It is like planting your garden over your compost pile to feed the plants over a long period of time.

from permaculture.com.uk

from permaculture.com.uk

 

This centuries’ old way to garden is making a comeback with permaculture enthusiasts. It is a self-sustaining  practice, replacing the nutrients which the gardeners remove when vegetables are removed from the garden. It is also thought of as forest gardening. Nobody fertilizes or feed the soil in the forests, but no one is removing the fallen leaves and dead wood; they just rot in place, helping the new seedlings to grow.

Nutrient cycle, from Oregon State University.

Nutrient cycle, from Oregon State University.

The size of the pile should be at least three feet wide and three feet deep or high. Piles can be made above ground is location is in a wet area, just cover the pile with soil several inches thick whether above or below ground. Over the  years, a depression will develop as the material below decomposes. More soil can be added to raise the level for easier gardening. The composting process gives off some heat which rises through the layers to benefit the plants above, perhaps allowing a little bit earlier planting in the spring and some frost protection in the fall.

black walnut fruit , hort.uconn.edu

black walnut fruit , hort.uconn.edu

black walnut leaf, hort.uconn.edu

black walnut leaf, hort.uconn.edu

One word of caution on the species of log used; do not use black walnut as this species of tree releases a toxic chemical called juglone which inhibits plant growth. Juglone is present and active even in dead wood. Other species of wood will not produce juglone. Soft woods such as pine will rot more quickly and hard woods will take longer. Wood will decay more slowly underground where there is less oxygen than it would if sitting on top of the ground and exposed. Be sure any wood used is dead to prevent sprouting from the wood used. Species of wood that works best are alders, apple, aspen, birch, cottonwood, maple, oak, poplar, willow.

When the hugelkultur system is first getting started, the soil microbes will be using nitrogen from the soil in order to do their work of breaking down the wood and organic matter. The microbes will eventually return the nitrogen plus more nitrogen from the wood, into the pile. Adding a sprinkling of blood meal to the pile will feed the fungi and bacteria doing the decomposition getting them off to a strong start.

-Carol Quish

 

 

 

 

 

Mourning Cloak Butterfly- out on a sunny winter day 2012

Mourning Cloak Butterfly- out on a sunny winter day 2012

During the cold New England winter months, we are blissfully ignorant of all the survival drama going on in the natural environment, at least as far as insects are concerned. Out of sight, out of mind, so to speak. While we have heated homes, running water and warm winter clothing, insects have only the bare necessities required to survive temperature extremes. Those that do not, such as the Monarch butterflies and some dragonflies, may migrate to more insect- friendly climates. Those insects that remain have special survival mode states or processes that will see them through even the toughest icebox conditions nature may throw at them.

While many butterflies can overwinter in the chrysalis form, there is one that ecloses as an adult in the fall and remains a butterfly for the winter. That champion of the deep freeze is the Mourning Cloak, Nymphalis antiopa). This butterfly find shelter under loose tree bark, in open sheds or tucks away in wood piles. Freeze tolerance is accomplished by small ice crystals that form outside the cells of vital organs. The small size of the crystals keeps them from damaging chemicals in the insect’s blood as well. Thus, the Mourning Cloak can survive freezing and thawing episodes and can even be seen flying about open woods during warm winter days.

Some insects produce chemicals resembling anti-freeze, like glycerol, that lowers the freezing point of the insect’s blood. Somewhat like cold- hardening that plants undergo, insects subjected to rapid freezes may die, but those that are physiologically prepared will tolerate the same conditions. When fully hardened to the cold, insects can survive in bark crevices or under mulch. Some, like lightning bugs, may come out from inside bark cracks if the winter temperatures rise above 40 degrees, especially on the south- facing sides of tree trunks. A few years ago, the winter was especially mild. On sunny days you could find many lightning bugs on trees, barely able to move, but still making a brief appearance

Lightning bugs (beetles) on the sunny side of a tree trunk in January 2012

Lightning bugs (beetles) on the sunny side of a tree trunk in January 2012

.Some insects survive by retreating in the soil below the frost line. Bumblebee queens, ants, beetle grubs and termites do not even have to go that deep in soils if there is as little as six inches of insulating snow cover. This is how scarab beetle grubs are able to return in the spring and resume feeding on lawn grass roots.

The Common Green Darner dragonfly migrates south and its offspring come north in the spring

The Common Green Darner dragonfly migrates south and its offspring come north in the spring

The social honeybees profit by their cooperative efforts to keep the queen war. The worker bees do this by crowding together around the queen and shivering so that their muscles generate heat. As the periphery cools, the worker bees constantly shift positions so each has a timely turn in the warm inner parts, the ultimate example of  the “ gung ho” principle in action.

The life cycle of insects may include a phase known as diapause where dormancy, similar to the hibernation period of some animals, keeps the insect in a state where it can survive adverse environmental conditions for long periods of time. This may include surviving as an egg or inside a puparium. Aphid eggs are often laid in twig or bark crevices or underneath growth buds. Moths often survive by pupating in leaf litter, under the soil or in leaf shelters. Woollybear and other tiger moth caterpillars survive winters under leaf litter and snow.

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly caterpillars survive winter living together in a tent of leaves

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly caterpillars survive winter living together in a tent of leaves

A final look at insect survival in our cold winters involves aggregation, which may also cause  aggravation, if they do so in our homes. Lady beetles and Box elder bugs are two such insects that utilizes this strategy, which is really more like a hop, skip and jump migration into a warmer place. A short flight to enjoy the  “Florida” of our homes until survivable outdoor conditions return.  While in a torpor, they may be well hidden, needing no food for the entire winter. Occasionally they venture out of hiding, but often fade away back into the shadows. It could just be a little spot check to see what is happening, with a quick retreat as they discover that nothing is.

As spring arrives with warmer temperatures, the little world of insects will slowly make its appearance, whether for good or bad. So enjoy their absence, or look forward for their return, as you see fit.

Pamm Cooper                   All photos © 2015 Pamm Cooper

 

This has certainly been a very cold winter and so many of the feathered species that remain in Connecticut rely on backyard feeders for a good amount of their nourishment. If you are providing for the birds in your yard (as we are) you are probably going through quite a bit of bird food. Have you ever noticed the variety and attractiveness of the seed bags? The images on the bags are quite lovely and so colorful. And the bags themselves are both waterproof and durable as they need to keep the seed dry and contained during the storage time.

101_0327

In 2010 my fellow Master Gardener, Ellen Bender, showed me instructions that she had found on-line that would recycle empty birdseed bags into durable tote bags. I made several of the tote bags that were sold as fundraisers for the UConn Tolland County Extension Office. These bags are great for carrying damp gardening gloves and boots or bathing suits and towels. If you have a sturdy sewing machine, an empty birdseed bag, and about an hour’s time you can construct one for yourself. I use a #16 needle (such as you would use to sew denim) and heavyweight thread. The instructions are as follows:

Step 1: Depending on the size of the bag you may want to trim material horizontally from the top, bottom or both. This will be used to construct the handles so you want a piece that is at least 3″ wide. Try to keep as much of the image as possible.

Step 1

Step 2: On the top edge, fold it over twice (as if you are hemming jeans) and sew it.

Step 3

Steps #2 & #3

Step 3: On the bottom edge cut 1″ notches from the corners. Sew the bottom seam and then zigzag stitch it to finish it.

Step 4: Fold the bag at the notches so that the bottom seam is against where a side seam would be then stitch and zigzag.

Step #4

Step #4

Step 5: Using the trimmings, cut two strips to be used as handles. Fold in the edges and stitch down both long sides.

Step 5

Step #5

Step 6: Fold the ends of the strips under an inch. Evenly space the handles and sew them on the outside of the front and back of the bag.

Completed bag   101_0324

101_0327 (2)

Please check our archives for the blog posting from January 16, 2014 entitled ‘Eating Like a Bird’ for information on caring for our feathered friends during these cold winter months.

Susan Pelton

All images by Susan Pelton

Bird’s nest fungi, also known as splash cup fungi, are one of the most fun fungi to discover. They are common worldwide growing on decaying wood, organic matter and bark mulch. These saprophytes are among the important organisms that break down organic matter and return essential nutrients to the soil. Members of the Nidulariaceae family in the phyum Basidiomyota, these fungi are relatives of the mushrooms, puffballs and shelf fungi. Within the family Nidulariaceae, there are five genera, all bird’s nest fungi. The genera are differentiated based on physical characteristics such as color and form and more recently on DNA analyses.

Bird's nest fungi growing in wood mulch. J. Allen photo.

Bird’s nest fungi growing in wood mulch. J. Allen photo.

They are all distinguished by the resemblance of the fruiting bodies or spore structures to miniature bird’s nests. Within a tiny (about ¼”) cup-like structure called a peridium there are tiny egg-like structures called peridioles and these contain spores. The spores are dispersed when raindrops splash the ‘eggs’ out of the ‘nest’, propelling them up to about four feet away. In some genera, the egg is sticky so it will attach to the substrate it lands on. In others, the egg has a cord which attaches it to the nest. When it is dislodged by rain, the cord remains attached and has a sticky end. If the sticky end becomes attached to a small twig or piece of organic matter, the cord will wrap itself around the object.

The little nest-like fruiting bodies are just a small part of the fungus. Before these can form, a single spore germinates in a suitable substrate and under favorable temperature and moisture conditions. From this spore, a thread-like hyphal strand begins to grow and as it takes up nutrients from the breakdown of organic matter a network of hyphae called mycelium forms. Once the fungal mycelium is well-established, fruiting bodies will develop, typically during moist weather from July through October.

Note: Bird’s nest fungi are not considered edible.

  1. Allen

About now, many of us gardeners have a stack of seed catalogs several inches high and have started combing through them acquiring all kinds of ideas and a long wish list. Before finalizing you orders, spend a bit of time going through any leftover seeds from the previous year. Many seeds, including tomatoes, peppers and zinnia remain viable for several years. So if you are just starting 2 ‘Sungold’ tomatoes each year, you might just need to purchase seeds every third or fourth year. On the other side of the spectrum are short-lived seeds whose germination declines with every passing year. They include vegetables such as onions, leeks, parsley, parsnips and sweet corn. It is best to purchase new seeds for these crops every year for best results.

How older seeds are stored will also affect viability. They can be kept in their individual seed packets, small coin envelops, or in plastic or glass containers. Wondering what to do with the envelops your bank teller or ATM hands you? Give them a second life storing seed collected from the garden. The key to seed saving is to keep them dry, not exposed to very hot or cold temperatures, and away from heat sources. I use a photograph box and organize my seeds into two rows – flowers and vegetables. Plastic bins are used by others while another option is putting them in photograph albums with pocketed sleeves. Any extra seeds which you won’t be using this year could be traded with friends, donated to community or school gardens or offered to local garden clubs.

A photo box holds the authors seed collection. Photo by DMP

A photo box holds the authors seed collection. Photo by DMP

I’m not sure how many local readers have signed up for the CT 10% Campaign (http://www.buyctgrown.com/ct-10-percent) but purchasing seeds from Connecticut seed companies is just one more way to spend 10% of your food and gardening money locally. Connecticut has at least 6 seed companies with numerous offerings.

The oldest is Comstock, Ferre & Co. which was founded in 1811 by Joseph Belden who advertised his first seed variety and price list in the Hartford Courant. His brother later took over the business selling seeds out of the 1767 home their father built which still stands in Wethersfield today. In 2010, the company was purchased by Jere and Emilee Gettle with the intention of returning it to its heirloom roots. One of their goals is to search and preserve the seed varieties listed in old catalogs and seed lists. They also are working on the restoration of the buildings and grounds on the historic site eventually creating a living history museum depicting the importance of agriculture and heirloom varieties.

Now known as Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds/Comstock, Ferre & Co. and still located in Wethersfield, CT, the company offers vegetable, flower and herb seeds at their company store as well as online. Check out www.rareseeds.com  to view their offerings, business hours and family friendly events.

The Chas. C. Hart Seed Company, after being founded in 1892, is still being run 5 generations later by Charles C. Hart’s great-great grandsons. Beginning as a small, home-based, consignment seed package business, it slowly grew purchasing other seed businesses in Connecticut and neighboring states. Although the original wood building housing the Chas. C. Hart Seed Company burned in 1943, a new office/warehouse building was constructed on the historic Wethersfield site.

Hart Seed is GE (genetically engineered) free and is typically sold online in bulk. While one may not need 1000 or more seeds which might be a catalog minimum, individual packets can be found at many Connecticut locations including garden centers, agricultural supply shops and hardware stores throughout the state. For a list of locations, visit www.hartseed.com.

Although not as old as the previous two seed houses, NE Seed was founded in 1987 by two longtime friends with the purpose of creating a line of ‘high quality, chemical-free seed products’ reasonably priced and consisting of conventional, organic, heirloom and hybrid vegetable, flower and herb varieties. Seeds from their catalog are generally ordered in bulk but like Hart Seed, their smaller seed packets are available at a variety of local venues.

NE Seed also offers bulk seeds of native forbs and grasses which would work well when establishing a wildflower meadow or wildlife habitat plot. They are located in Hartford and at www.neseed.com.

Seed packets from some CT seed companies. Photo by DMP

Seed packets from some CT seed companies. Photo by DMP

Select Seeds – Antique Flowers is a unique seed company located in Union, CT specializing in old-fashioned flowers but offering a limited number of vegetables and herbs, all non GE seeds, as well as annual transplants and perennials. What is unique about antique flowers, as well as heirloom vegetables, is that they are open pollinated which means that if the seed produced by the parent plant is saved and replanted, an identical plant or one very similar to the parent plant will grow. Seeds can be saved from year to year. With many of us New Englanders residing in older homes, the flower varieties offered by Select Seeds may well be the same ones our grandmothers and great-grandmothers were growing and also, quite compatible with the historic and architectural elements comprising our homes . See their complete listings at www.selectseeds.com.

Select Seeds new catalog. Photo by DMP

Select Seeds new catalog. Photo by DMP

If one is focused on cooking what one grows, Kitchen Garden Seeds in Bantam, CT www.kitchengardenseeds.com may have some attractive offerings.  Scroll through their seed offerings to find a variety of vegetables, herbs, flowers and specialty collections. There is a relatively large selection of Asian vegetables and even the telephone number of their seed specialist who will take your calls during the week. Request their print catalog or order on-line. This company offers numerous recipes using their herbs and vegetables and a nice assortment of horticultural tips.

Lastly, while not typically for the general public, Colonial Seed of Windsor should be mentioned. They specialize in native grasses, sedges, legumes and other native plants that are needed for habitat restoration plantings, native wildflower meadows , forage fields and other challenging sites. Some of their seed is available through other commercial outlets like Hart Seeds but contact this company directly at www.colonialseed.com for more offerings.

Connecticut residents are lucky as it is not that difficult to live and buy local in many areas of our state. Support local businesses, including seed houses and local garden centers as a way of supporting the businesses employing your neighbors and keeping local dollars in the local economy.

Dawn P.

January in the garden can be quite boring. Annuals are gone, and perennials and trees are dormant waiting for warmer weather. Still, I need to go outside and survey the once life-filled areas, even when they are brown, just to check on things. It is during this time of frozen ground and monotone palette that one can see what normally would be obscured and not noticed. Easily seen now, especially on top of snow,  is scat, it is the excrement of animals; their poop. Yes, this article is about animal poop and how to identify which animal dropped it.
Scat is a sign left by other visitors to your garden. The purpose of scat is elimination and to mark the animal’s territory. It could be a predator animal such as fox and coyote that eat smaller animals like rabbits, voles and chipmunks which have the potential to be a pest in your garden. In this case, predator scat would be a welcome find. Domestic cats and dogs might leave their ‘offerings’ in areas in which you would be digging where you might come in contact with worm parasites and diseases that could infect humans. Take a shovel and remove dog and cat droppings to the garbage.

As a horticulturist at the UConn Home Garden Education Center, the public brings us plant and insect samples for identification and disease diagnosis. On occasion we have also been brought what the client called ‘crap in a bag’, and asked ‘what shat that?’ That fact being revealed, I still love my job. The observation, dissection and research of scat have led me to share this questionably valuable information here.

Scat in a bag nrri.umn.edu.jpg

Scat in a bag nrri.umn.edu.jpg

As a safety warning, never handle droppings to prevent disease and parasites. Wear gloves and a mask if dissecting, and use tools that can be disinfected after. Clean and disinfect microscope if using. Dissecting scat will tell us the diet of the animal. Many seeds will pass through the digestive tract intact and still be very identifiably. Grass eaters will have bits of undigested straw and fiber strands throughout the scat. Bits of fur and bones tell us the animal that produced the scat was a predator of other animals.

Coyote scat with fur and bones, Harpercollege.edu photo

Coyote scat with fur and bones, Harpercollege.edu photo

Raccoon scat with seeds, Harpercollege.edu

Raccoon scat with seeds, Harpercollege.edu

Before breaking apart the pieces of scat, identify the shape. Is it a sphere or a cylinder? Spherical, round and pellet-like, scat comes mainly from herbivores, plant eaters. These include rabbit, shrew, mouse, chipmunk, red and grey squirrel, which will be on the smaller size. Deer and moose will be larger pellets.

Chipmunk, fcps.edu photo

Chipmunk, fcps.edu photo

deer and rabbit scat, photo from biokids.umich.edu

deer and rabbit scat, photo from biokids.umich.edu

Mouse droppings, photo by Kim Cabrera, teacher.edmonds.wednet.edu

Mouse droppings, photo by Kim Cabrera, teacher.edmonds.wednet.edu

Round and slightly flattened spheres are made by rabbits.
Elongated small spheres are made by chipmunk, gray squirrel, mouse, red squirrel and shrew.

Cylinder shaped scat are primarily from carnivores, mostly meat eaters. They can be pointed, blunt, broken or twisted. All of these characteristics can help to identify the creator of the scat.Scat color can vary greatly among the same species making it not a great help, unless the scat is white. White scat comes from birds and reptiles.

Turkey Fan, photo by Pamm Cooper

Turkey Fan, photo by Pamm Cooper

Turkey scat, photo by Kim Cabrera, teacher.edmonds.wednet.edu

Turkey scat, photo by Kim Cabrera, teacher.edmonds.wednet.edu

Larger pellets or spheres are made by deer and moose.

deer scat, biokids.mich.edu

deer scat, biokids.mich.edu

Moose scat, photo from colby.edu biology

Moose scat, photo from colby.edu biology

Pointed cylinders come from fox, coyote and domesticated dogs.

Red Fox scat, Harpercollege.edu photo

Red Fox scat, Harpercollege.edu photo

Red Fox, fcps.edu

Red Fox, fcps.edu

Coyote scat, Harpercollege.edu photo

Coyote scat, Harpercollege.edu photo

Coyote, amos.indiana.edu

Coyote, amos.indiana.edu

Broken cylinders are left by bobcat and domesticated cats.

Bobcat Scat, luresext.edu photo

Bobcat Scat, luresext.edu photo

Bobcat, cis.fiu.edu

Bobcat, cis.fiu.edu

Twisted cylinders are from members of the weasel family; mink, marten, fisher and weasel. These will have hair and pieces of bone in them.

Fisher cat scat, colby.edu

Fisher cat scat, colby.edu

Fisher Cat, animaldiversity.org.

Fisher Cat, animaldiversity.org.

Blunt cylinders will be from raccoon or bear. They vary greatly depending on the time of year and the food sources available. Bear scat usually contains lots of seeds, including berries and nuts.

Raccoon Scat, uwosh.edu

Raccoon Scat, uwosh.edu

Raccoon, ct.gov

Raccoon, ct.gov

Bear Scat, geneseo.edu

Bear Scat, geneseo.edu

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Opossum and skunk scat are rarely found, and can be quite varied in shape. Rather than finding these two’s scat, you will smell their musky scent in areas they have visited, and find signs of digging in the soil.

Skunk dug holes, photo by OSU.edu

Skunk dug holes, photo by OSU.edu

Opossum, msu.edu

Opossum, msu.edu

Skunk, msu.edu

Skunk, msu.edu

Earthworms leave castings on top of the soil during the night. These are a rich source of nutrients and beneficial to the garden.

Earthworm castings, entomology.osu.edu

Earthworm castings, entomology.osu.edu

Earthworm entomology.osu.edu

Earthworm entomology.osu.edu

If identifying animal waste to tell who is spending time in your garden is not to your liking, look for the footprints they leave and identify the tracks.

-Carol Quish

A monarch caterpillar safely eating milkweed after  stopping the flow of gummy sap by clipping the midrib

A monarch caterpillar safely eating milkweed after stopping the flow of gummy sap by clipping the midrib

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historically, insects have been the most important bane of the plant kingdom. The fatal attraction that exists between plants and insects has woven an intricate balance between good and evil, survival and devastation, and benefits versus harm. While insects play a significant role in pollination, and while over 90% of insects are not a problem, the few that are plant pests can wreak destruction.

Some insects are vectors of disease, especially those that feed by piercing plant tissue. Aphids, plant hoppers and the familiar cucumber beetle may pass along viruses even though feeding damage is not significant. Introduced insects seem to have a field day and may prove to be more damaging than native insects in the long run.

But in all the dramas that occurs in nature, the ones that may be overlooked are the strategies plants can use to defend themselves against insects. Whether it is simply structural impediments such as thorns, prickles, thick bark, waxy cuticles and objectionable chemical compounds, plants are not helpless against attacks. While some defenses are always present, like the above physical qualities, there are other means by which plants can release substances as needed that either repel the feeding insects, or attract predators of the same.

One plant of interest is the geranium that produces a chemical in its petals that can temporarily paralyze the Japanese beetle while it is feeding. This may provide a window for any predator that happens by. Native wild tobacco plants change the time of day that flower buds open in response to caterpillar feeding. This discourages certain sphinx moths that pollinate by night as they are attracted to the scent and color of the flowers, and lay eggs on the plant, which doubles as both an adult and larval food plant. Pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds will visit by day and the plant loses no ground in reproduction and survival. Other caterpillars like the tobacco budworm have no problem feeding on geraniums, petunias, snapdragons and other tobacco relatives. Their saliva counteracts the production of induced defenses in the plants.

Some plants release hormones or other substances upon feeding injury that attract predatory insects or even birds. It is like a silent alarm calling in the troops. Many caterpillars may be parasitized because their feeding releases chemicals in the plants that attract predatory insects such as brachonid wasps. Grass releases a strong aroma when cut, either when cut when insects are feeding on it. Perhaps this is why starlings and other birds flock into a yard or pasture that is under attack from cutworms or other grass pests.

Starlings feeding on cutworms in a lawn

   Starlings feeding on cutworms in a lawn

Fawn sphinx with cocoons of exited brachonid wasps

Fawn sphinx with cocoons of exited brachonid wasps

Milkweeds contain strong chemical defenses that are passed along to insects that feed on leaves but are unaffected by them themselves. The monarch caterpillar and others avoid much predation because of the absorption of these chemicals which make them bitter to the taste of hungry birds. The latex released by milkweed as insects begin chewing hardens quickly when exposed to the air and may cause mouthparts to stick together so the insect starves. Monarch cats avoid this by clipping off the base of the midrib first which reduces sap flow to the leaf.

Some plants have high lignin or tannin content that makes them unattractive to insects later in the season. Window feeding is a way some caterpillars avoid higher concentrations of toxins in leaves or high lignin content that is difficult to ingest, such as leaf veins and midribs. Many beetles avoid ingesting high concentrations of toxins by feeding in large groups, thereby “sharing in the load”.

"Window feeding" helps a dagger caterpillar avoid high lignin in the leaf veins

“Window feeding” helps a dagger caterpillar avoid high lignin in the leaf veins

Pyrethrins are ester compounds produced by chrysanthemum plants which act as insect neurotoxins. Some commercially available insecticides are actually synthetic copies of pyrethrins, called pyrethroids. Tansy is a non-native escapee that has toxins repelling many insects. It has been used with some success as a companion plant with cucurbits, squash, roses and other plants to repel cucumber beetles, ants, Japanese beetles and other insect pests. Sprigs were used at windowsills to repel flies.

Tansy in full bloom in the wild

Tansy in full bloom in the wild

Trillium actually reproduces effectively by myrmecochory- using ants to carry away its seeds and thus protecting them from becoming consumed by various animals. Ants are attracted to eliaosomes attached to the seeds and bring them back to their nests. After consuming the eliaosomes, the seeds are discarded by the ants and they are still viable. Survival of the species is helped along by the little ant.

Red Trillium

Red Trillium

While we may be blissfully ignorant of all the events taking place among the plants surrounding us, at least where fending off insects is involved, there is at least as much drama as any to be found in the entertainment industry.

 

Pamm Cooper                        All photos copyrighted 2014 by Pamm Cooper

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