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Birdsfoot Trefoil Foiling Landscapes and Naturalized Areas

Traveling through southwest Ohio this weekend, I noticed ever-expanding patches of birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) along roadways, in landscapes, and in home and commercial lawns.  Yet another story of dueling plant cultivation interests.  This perennial, spreading, herbaceous legume is native to Europe and Asia.  It was introduced into North America for use as a forage crop harvested for hay or used in pastures.  Plants can survive and thrive in a wide range of soil and environmental conditions that would limit the use of other forage crops such as alfalfa.  Indeed, you...

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Authors
Joe Boggs

Weird Willow Gall

Arguably, one of the weirdest galls found in Ohio is produced on willow by the gall-midge, Rhabdophaga strobiloides (family Cecidomyiidae).  The gall's appearance isn't weird; it looks like a pine cone.  However, finding a "pine cone" on a willow is weird.  As the common name implies, the Willow Pinecone Gall, which is sometimes called the "pine cone willow gall," closely resembles a pine cone with closed seed scales.

 

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Joe Boggs

Strafing Horse Flies

While taking photos today of willow pinecone galls for a BYGL Alert, I was constantly strafed by a maniacal horse fly (Tananus spp.).  These hefty flies belong to the family Tabanidae which is the largest family of bloodsucking insects with over 4,500 horsefly species known worldwide.  There are several species in Ohio ranging in size from 3/8 - 1 1/8" in length.  The crazed fly buzzing me was T. abdominalis.  It doesn't have a common name other than #@%%# fly!  At least, that's what I called it.

 

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Authors
Joe Boggs

Foliage Foretells (F)all

  This spring I wrote of sour gum/black gum/tupelo/pepperidge (Nyssa sylvatica) when I noticed for the first time that I had a male tree (with stamens) and a female tree (with pistils) in my back field. Until then I thought of them as just two tupelos. Well, the bird-beloved result of their union have now resulted in greenish fruits which soon will be blue-purple. So, flowers, fruits, now a word about  – foliage. Tupelo leaves are wonderfully lustrous green in spring and summer before turning intense scarlets, oranges, and purples in fall. But, wait, the time has come, as every...

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Authors
Jim Chatfield

Cultivate Hydrangeas

  Hydrangea is a genus of great range and beauty. Panicle types such as PeeGee hydrangea. Mopheads. Climbing hydrangeas. Oakleaf hydrangeas of beautiful panicle flowers and wonderful fall foliage. Delicate pinks and blues, sometimes on the same plant. Electric colors to make a big splash. Hydrangeas were on display, revealing a high level of horticultural expertise at AmericanHort’s Cultivate’16 this past week as well as in the horticulturally laissez-faire world of the ChatScape, where my daughter Sara took a picture of the creams and pinks of an oakleaf hydrangea panicle today...

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Authors
Jim Chatfield

Petunias, Part Deux

Two weeks ago, I wrote a paean to petunias and how they liven up the street scene in Wooster Ohio. This week, I got a second dose while traversing the trade show floor at Cultivate’16, the summer festival of flowers and floricultural and all horticultural education put on by American Hort at the Columbus Convention Center.  There were of course many more attractions as well as petunias. Yet, this among many, all my life I have waited for flowers such as these. Below are just a few to whet your petunia palette with what is here now and with what is to come of new varieties.  Get thee to...

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Authors
Jim Chatfield