2018 Washington Botanical Symposium

Washington vernal pool, photo by Joe Rocchio
The Washington Native Plant Society is proud to announce our involvement as a sponsor for the 2018 Washington Botanical Symposium. This program is co-hosted by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the University of Washington Herbarium at the Burke Museum. The symposium features an extensive network of professional, academic, and amateur botanists are actively engaged in the conservation, management, and study of Washington's diverse flora. Their expertise ranges from how best to man...
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471 Hits

Native vs. Nonnative Plants in Pollinator Gardens

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​It seems these days that questions about butterfly and pollinator gardens have moved on from "why?" to "what shall we plant?"—with the conversation often turning to whether or not it is better to plant native species than nonnative ones. Led by Andrew Salisbury of the Royal Horticultural Society, a team of researchers in Britain undertook a four-year study to try to provide an answer. Their work was published in May 2017 in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation .  The research was done...
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855 Hits

Botanize Bigger!

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With your help, the Washington Native Plant Society will reach its fundraising goal for today's GiveBIG event! We are tantalizingly close to reaching our $10,000 goal. You have until midnight tonight, May 10, 2017, to help put us over the top. Log in now and make your gift.  Big or small, all gifts during GiveBIG bring strength to WNPS. GiveBIG , hosted by the Seattle Foundation, is an opportunity to show your support for Washington's native flora. Help the Washington Native Plant Society d...
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183 Hits

Pond Weeds and Their Cousins: A Report from the Aquatic Plants Workshop

Pond Weeds and Their Cousins: A Report from the Aquatic Plants Workshop
By the time I found room 246 in Hitchcock Hall, hidden behind construction barriers on the University of Washington campus, class had already begun. I crossed the room quickly to take a seat on a squeaky metal chair stationed behind a microscope. Peter Zika, a botanist specializing in the obscure, was halfway through a lecture on local aquatic plants. Before I aimed my attention at his slides on the screen, I glanced around at the dozens of plants standing in water-filled jars around the lab. I'...
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136 Hits

Goodbye Sarah Reichard, and “Where Do We Go From Here?”

Goodbye Sarah Reichard, and “Where Do We Go From Here?”
I was stunned to learn that Dr. Sarah Reichard passed away in her sleep in late August while leading a UW Botanic Gardens tour in South Africa. I first met Sarah in 1981, when she was an undergraduate in Botany at the same time I was earning my Masters at the University of Washington. I saw her most recently at the memorial service for Dr. Art Kruckeberg , where we shared memories of Art. We chatted about my recent trip to the Chelsea Flower Show in London and her then-upcoming trip to South Afr...
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141 Hits

In the field with Art Kruckeberg

In the field with Art Kruckeberg
Art Kruckeberg, one of the founders of the Washington Native Plant Society, passed away on May 25, 2016, age 96. He was a grand old man of Washington botany, a mentor, and a mensch. Formal obituaries may be found in the Seattle Times and on the University of Washington Biology web page. What follows is an appreciation of Art that I wrote for the Washington Native Plant Society journal Douglasia in 2000. The faithful and the newly converted gathered to hear the gospel of serpentine from one of th...
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138 Hits

Maytime

Maytime
Maytime is… A completely over-the-top movie musical from 1937, starring Jeanette Macdonald and Nelson Eddy A single, deep red Paeonia hybrid with golden stamens A time when plant lovers in the northern hemisphere shift into high gear All of the above And the correct answer is 4–all of the above! Here are several items for your consideration during this blooming busy time: More color Invasive procedures What do you want to learn? More color I hope you enjoyed the Celebrating Wildflowers coloring ...
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163 Hits

Dates to Remember: Botanical Activities Abound!

Dates to Remember: Botanical Activities Abound!
Cue the overwhelm. The spring rush is upon us. Washington Native Plant Society activities Opportunities from other organizations Washington Native Plant Society Activities April 1, 2016 No fooling, applications for the South Sound Native Plant Stewardship Training are due April 1! The Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS) and its South Sound Chapter are offering a Native Plant Stewardship Program for Pierce and Thurston Counties in Spring 2016. The six-week, no-cost program combines classroom l...
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153 Hits

Coevolution and Pollination

Coevolution and Pollination
The coevolution of flowering plants and their animal pollinators presents one of nature's most striking examples of adaption and specialization. It also demonstrates how the interaction between two groups of organisms can be a font of biological diversity. Flowering plants are adapting to their pollinators, which are in turn adapting to the plants. Each of the participating organisms thus presents an evolutionary "moving target". The relationship between these distantly related taxa is symbiotic...
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173 Hits

Just Because It’s June, June, June: News and Notes from the Washington Native Plant Society

Just Because It’s June, June, June: News and Notes from the Washington Native Plant Society
Where Have You Been Rambling?  You may be forgiven for wondering if Botanical Rambles had rambled off in to the sunset, considering that the most recent post was May 6 th ! Your humble blog curator has been overly busy with her day job, notably helping to organize the 2015 Salmon Recovery Conference and then (trying) to catch up on many end-of-biennium tasks. It hasn't been all work. I introduced an out-of-town visitor to the pleasures of the loop road at Washington Park in Anacortes . She ...
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132 Hits

Got Milkweed?

Got Milkweed?
Western monarch butterflies, like those in the eastern part of North America, are in trouble. Their populations have declined sharply in the last twenty years. In Washington, the western monarch ( Danaus plexippus plexippus ) and its host plant milkweed ( Asclepias sp.) are found only east of the Cascades. In western Washington, we have no native species of Asclepias . And… no milkweed, no monarchs. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and partners are attempting to reverse the downward popu...
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A note from Dick Olmstead, Professor and Herbarium Curator, University of Washington

A note from Dick Olmstead, Professor and Herbarium Curator, University of Washington
Friends and Colleagues, As many of you know, Hitchcock and Cronquist's "Flora of the Pacific Northwest" has been the authoritative guide to the region's flora since its publication in 1973. Generations of students, academic researchers, and field botanists have relied on this work to support their diverse botanical interests. However, the systematics, nomenclature, and distribution of our region's flora has changed over the course of 40 years due to ongoing research, access to more information, ...
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Golden Paintbrush 2014 Global Population Estimates Released

Golden Paintbrush 2014 Global Population Estimates Released
Golden paintbrush ( Castilleja levisecta ) has been the focus of much restoration effort in the Puget Sound region for over a decade. The species is listed as Threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.. With substantial funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, land managers with a large number of partners, including land trusts, state and federal agencies, as well as other organizations, have made enormous strides in recovering this species. By the late 1990's, it had been redu...
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127 Hits

How Much is that Tree Worth to You?

How Much is that Tree Worth to You?
It's fall, and perhaps your thoughts are turning to leaves. Leaves turning color, leaves falling to the ground, leaves covering the lawn, leaves clogging the storm drain, leaves piling up, leaves rotting. Even evergreen trees shed leaves and branches this time of year, whether part of their cycle of senescence or because a windy day scatters them about. Some days all these leaves can seem a nuisance, even to a plant-loving person such as myself. However, the good folks at the Washington State Ur...
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Pollination: A Sampler

Pollination: A Sampler
If it is axiomatic that nature will allow or support "whatever works," it is our observation that many, many different things "work" in nature. The wide diversity in floral structures and pollination strategies exemplify this propensity for variety.There are endless variations on the basic story of pollen grains making their way to the stigma of an appropriate pistil, and many are easy to see if you look. Variation one Go out in late winter and check out the elongating catkins of beaked hazel ( ...
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144 Hits

Birds, Bees, and the Alternation of Generations

Birds, Bees, and the Alternation of Generations
Before we get to the birds and the bees (and the flowers), I think it would be informative to first establish some botanical fundamentals. This may not be the most direct approach to examining pollination, which is where we are heading, but you may learn aspects to this story that you never imagined. Every basic course in botany covers the topic of alternation of generations, one of the characteristics of plant life cycles, and the "reduction of the gametophyte" as the evolutionary trends culmin...
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125 Hits

Watch Out—Don’t Miss these Opportunities

Watch Out—Don’t Miss these Opportunities
Ready or not, the new year is off to a roaring start. Here are a couple of opportunities with deadlines coming up… 2014 WNPS Photo Contest Photo contest deadline is January 15, 2014. Send in your favorite photos! The Washington Native Plant Society is looking for your great photos of Washington wildflowers and native plant landscapes. Help us show off the beauty of native plants and share information about their ecology and value in our WNPS Photo Calendar . Each year the calendar displays our f...
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134 Hits

Who Was Wilhelm Suksdorf?

Who Was Wilhelm Suksdorf?
It was not a particularly remarkable birth in the village of Dransau, Germany on September 15, 1850. No bands played; there were no parties. And much of life of Wilhelm Nikolaus Suksdorf would be equally unremarkable. Who could know that the new baby would become one of the three leading pioneer botanists of the Pacific Northwest and perhaps its greatest botanical collector? Beginnings There is no clear beginning to Suksdorf as a botanist. He was shy, with delicate health, and he enjoyed wanderi...
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138 Hits

Back to School

Back to School
It's really happening, isn't it? August has ended, September is here. And with September comes that back-to-school combination of mourning (for the summer that's ending) and speeding up (for the autumn activities ahead). Time to learn something new, don't you think? The energizing briskness of fall opens up all kinds of opportunities. In addition to a new season of programs offered by Washington Native Plant Society chapters , here is a six-pack of educational and fun choices around the state. D...
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169 Hits

Learning to Speak the Grass Language

Learning to Speak the Grass Language
As a youth, I was afflicted with debilitating allergy to grass pollen. I'll spare you the details, but I will say that it engaged my curiosity about these plants early on. I saw grasses everywhere, in many habitats and with notably varied habits. I outgrew the allergy—but my curiosity remained. I admired grasses in the wild, grasses as weeds, grasses as food, grasses as garden subjects. I came to recognize many grasses, based solely on my familiarity with them as companions. If you asked me how ...
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134 Hits

Roaming Rove Beetles and Naïve Bumblebees

Roaming Rove Beetles and Naïve Bumblebees
The arrival of spring always rekindles my interest in pollination biology, that fascinating body of knowledge detailing how plants achieve the delivery of pollen to the stigma of a flower. Pollination is typically required for fertilization and subsequent seed production (there are exceptions, but that is another story). Scientists estimate that nearly 90% of the 300,000+ vascular plant species in the world rely on animals (insect, bird, mammal) for successful pollination. The glue of this relat...
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132 Hits

Ten Taxing Taxonomy Terms for Tax Time

Ten Taxing Taxonomy Terms for Tax Time
ID Taxonomy: ​I is for Intercalary ​Inserted between other parts. ​Timothy had to mow the lawn again because grasses have those pesky intercalary meristems. ​D is for Dichotomous ​Divided into two distinct parts ​Neither the first or second choice fits well in this dichotomous key. ​T is for Taxon (plural: taxa) ​A taxonomic group of any rank, such as a species, family, or class. ​As Benjamin Franklin (didn't) say to botany students: "Nothing is certain except death and taxa." ​A is for Adaxial ...
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Sign Up!

Sign Up!
It's time to sign up, step up, apply, and register. Spring is here and it brings loads of opportunities to learn, to contribute your time, and to get out and about. First off, here are some activities sponsored by the Washington Native Plant Society and its partners. Native Plant Stewardship Training Application deadline April 8 . We are once again offering free Native Plant Stewardship Training in Seattle. Native Plant Stewards help restore Seattle's forested parks. Partners with WNPS are Seatt...
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148 Hits

Getting Acquainted with Lichens

Getting Acquainted with Lichens
Learning about lichens is fun and adds a new dimension to your time outdoors. But what is a lichen? And how is it different from a moss? To a biologist, the answer is simple: a moss is a plant and a lichen is a partnership between a fungus and algae or cyanobacteria (formerly known as blue-green algae). But that may not help you, since you won't see the algae or cyanobacteria with your naked eye. So here is a general rule of thumb: Mosses are often grass green and lichens are every other shade o...
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124 Hits

Four Things the Washington Natural Heritage Program Does for You

Four Things the Washington Natural Heritage Program Does for You
How much do you know about the Washington Natural Heritage Program? I'm always interested in learning more about the good work being done by plant-oriented folks. The Washington Native Plant Society partners with and benefits from key work carried out by the Washington Natural Heritage Program, housed in the Department of Natural Resources. Joe Arnett, Rare Plant Botanist for the Washington Natural Heritage Program, explains four of the top functions of the program. The Washington Natural Herita...
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128 Hits

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