Milkweeds Aren’t Really Weeds

I am always confounded as to why plants that are top pollinator plants in our ecosystems are called weeds. Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium spp.) and Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) are two examples. I prefer the name Helen’s Flower for Sneezeweed. This plant, once used by some Native peoples as a snuff, doesn’t cause allergies at all. WeedsContinue reading “Milkweeds Aren’t Really Weeds”

Worms Eating Up Forest Leaf Litter? That’s Crazy!

They might be coming to a yard or forest near you. Sounds rather like a horror movie, right? Well, it is actually a bit scary. The Crazy Worm, also called Jumping Worm or Crazy Snake Worm (Amynthas agrestis, Amynthas tokioensis, and Metaphire hilgendorfi), are three species from Korea and Japan who are co-invading our yardsContinue reading “Worms Eating Up Forest Leaf Litter? That’s Crazy!”

They’re Both Most Delicious

When Shadbush (Amelanchier sp.) is in bloom, I know that American Shad are migrating up Connecticut’s rivers to spawn. The Eastern Shadbush (Amelanchier canadensis) is one of 10 species of this native shrub in New England. Other names for Shadbush are Shadblow, Sarvis, and Serviceberry. In the past, when Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) was inContinue reading “They’re Both Most Delicious”

The Secret Life of Spotted Salamanders

They are so secretive, most people don’t even know they exist. In their more than 30-year lives they have little or no contact with humans. If you were to tell your neighbors that 9-inch-long black salamanders with yellow spots live in the woodlands of their town, they might well be surprised. Recently, I was walkingContinue reading “The Secret Life of Spotted Salamanders”

Hummers Remember

In Spanish, they are rightly named joyas voladoras, “flying jewels.” A group of them is called “a bouquet,” “a glittering,” or “a hover.” They are hummingbirds and it is not too early to put up a feeder for the only species we see here in the Northeast—the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris). The migration map providedContinue reading “Hummers Remember”