Plants of the Beehive State

This past week I was in the Beehive State, Utah, first speaking at a conference and then for a bit of vacation. My wife and I visited both the red rock and desert areas in southern Utah and then in the north, the more verdant areas of the Uinta and Wasatch mountain ranges. Utah, which became the 45th state in 1896, was named the Beehive State for the hard-working, industrious inhabitants.
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Jim Chatfield
Annual Flaming of Black Locust Trees boggs.47 Fri, 07/21/2017 - 20:10
Jim Chatfield called me from the road this morning to report seeing "flamed" black locusts along a highway in northeast Ohio. The captivating reddish-brown leaf coloration caused by the native Locust Leafminer Beetle is often a familiar sight to travelers motoring on Ohio's interstate highways. Indeed, when beetle populations are high during "outbreak years," black locust trees are able to be identified at highway speeds because of their blow-torched appearance.
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Joe Boggs
Jim Chatfield
Monarchs vs. Aphids boggs.47 Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:42
What are those hordes of yellow aphids sucking juices from common milkweed "reserved" for monarch butterfly caterpillars? They are Oleander Aphids and their appearance on milkweeds reminds us that nature makes no food reservations. This non-native aphid may be found sucking juices from over 50 hosts belonging to 16 plant families.
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Joe Boggs
Return Engagement of Boogie-Woogie Aphids boggs.47 Thu, 07/20/2017 - 16:10
David Gressley (Director of Horticulture, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum) sent me a video yesterday morning of a chorus line of Beech Blight Aphids (Grylloprociphilus imbricator) shaking their woolly derrieres in a synchronous samba. Frankly, I believe no other insect upstages this aphid in entertainment value.
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Joe Boggs
Pine Cones on Willow? boggs.47 Wed, 07/19/2017 - 15:20
The improbable looking but appropriately named Willow Pinecone Galls are now large enough to be very noticeable on their namesake host. As the common name suggests, the galls closely resemble pine cones with closed seed scales. They are produced on willow by a gall-midge but cause little damage to the overall health of their namesake host.
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Joe Boggs

Two Cats on the Prowl

Two general defoliators are producing damage in southwest Ohio: yellownecked caterpillars and walnut caterpillars. Both of these caterpillars feed in groups, or "colonies," of 10-30 individuals throughout their development which is why their defoliation is often focused on a single branch or a group of adjoining branches. However, it's also why multiple colonies can quickly defoliate small trees.
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Joe Boggs

Dogbane Discoveries

Dogbane is the representative species for the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, which includes milkweeds and other plants that ooze milky sap ladened with poisonous alkaloids. Indeed, Apocynum translates to "poisonous to dogs," or "dog killer." Sap from the plant is reported to have been used against ravenous feral dogs.
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Joe Boggs