Hairy honeysuckle (Lonicera hirsuta)

hairy honeysuckle

Hairy honeysuckle (Lonicera hirsuta) is a common woody vine of the Great Lakes region of North America. It is common in the northeastern third of Minnesota, where it is at the southwestern extent of its range. It is found in moist woodlands, forest edges and openings, thickets, and swamps. It grows under full or partial sun in sandy or rocky soil. It sometimes creates loose colonies.

Hairy honeysuckle vines are usually 8′ to 10′ long but can reach 16′ or longer. They climb on adjacent vegetation (twining) or creep along the ground (trailing). When twining, they spiral counter-clockwise, from the lower left to the upper right. When trailing, they produce roots where the stem contacts the ground. The stem detaches at that point, creating a new plant. The leaves are opposite and broadly oval. The uppermost pair of leaves, sometimes the uppermost two pairs, are fused together at the base to form single diamond-shaped to elliptic or round leaves. The inflorescence is a cluster of yellow flowers at the end of the stem. The flowers appear after the leaves are fully developed and peak from mid-June to mid-July. In Minnesota they are likely pollinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths. The fruit is a small, orangish-red berry. It matures in late July to mid-September, and remains on the plant until picked off by a bird or mammal.

Hairy honeysuckle (Lonicera hirsuta) is a common woody vine of the Great Lakes region of North America. It is common in the northeastern third of Minnesota, where it is at the southwestern extent of its range. It is found in moist woodlands, forest edges and openings, thickets, and swamps. It grows under full or partial sun in sandy or rocky soil. It sometimes creates loose colonies.

Hairy honeysuckle vines are usually 8′ to 10′ long but can reach 16′ or longer. They climb on adjacent vegetation (twining) or creep along the ground (trailing). When twining, they spiral counter-clockwise, from the lower left to the upper right. When trailing, they produce roots where the stem contacts the ground. The stem detaches at that point, creating a new plant. The leaves are opposite and broadly oval. The uppermost pair of leaves, sometimes the uppermost two pairs, are fused together at the base to form single diamond-shaped to elliptic or round leaves. The inflorescence is a cluster of yellow flowers at the end of the stem. The flowers appear after the leaves are fully developed and peak from mid-June to mid-July. In Minnesota they are likely pollinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths. The fruit is a small, orangish-red berry. It matures in late July to mid-September, and remains on the plant until picked off by a bird or mammal.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/Index/Plants_C_H.html

Tony Schmidt Regional Park

Tony Schmidt Regional Park

Tony Schmidt Regional Park is a Ramsey County park located in Arden Hills, stretching from County Road E and Lake Johanna Boulevard along the north shore of Lake Johanna to Mounds View High School and the 35W-694 cloverleaf interchange. It is largely a series of wetlands connected by streams and open bodies of water, nestled in among woodsy residential neighborhoods and other city parks, like Charles Perry Park and Chatham Open Area. The park is basically in three sections – an active railway cuts across the southern portion, and County Road E2 cuts across the north portion. There are picnic grounds and shelters, playgrounds, a play field with backstop (Perry Park has three ball diamonds), and a boat launch, swimming beach, and fishing pier on Lake Johanna. A paved walking trail heads north from the main parking area, going through a tunnel under the railway and leading to an at-grade crossing at County Road E2. There are also several turf/dirt trails that lead off at different points; one trail leads over to Snelling Avenue and Lake Valentine. The campuses of two universities can be seen from the park: Bethel University across Lake Valentine, and the University of Northwestern-St Paul across Lake Johanna. A 2011 article by Jessica Bakeman in the Star Tribune also describes how residents around Lake Johanna take great care to keep the lake clean and free of invasive species like Eurasian milfoil (http://strib.mn/17kn2Zj). Near the beginning of the paved trail, a signpost talks about how a segment of the Arden Hills trail system was dedicated to the memory of former Governor Elmer L. Andersen. All in all, it is a well-maintained park, offering something for all comers. — Kirk Nelson

Text and Photo by Kirk Nelson

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Destinations/Tony_Schmidt_Regional_Park.html

Pincushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum)

pincushion moss
Photo by Luciearl

Pincushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum) is a common, large, tall, tuft-forming moss. It is very common in the eastern United States, and common in eastern Minnesota, where it is at the western extent of its range. It is found under partial sun to medium shade in forests, bogs, and swamps. It grows in acidic soil, on rotting logs and stumps, on the bases of trees, and on rock ledges. It is tolerant of disturbance and is often found in cemeteries, in city parks, on trailsides, and in the shade of large buildings.

Pincushion forms a large, smooth, dome-shaped, green or light green to whitish cushion on the ground. The cushion is a dense tuft of numerous individual stems that clearly radiate from a central point of origin. The stems are closely packed and difficult to separate. In favorable conditions the cushion can be up to 5″ tall 40″ in diameter.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/pincushion_moss.html

Boreal Oakmoss (Evernia mesomorpha)

Boreal Oakmoss
Photo by Luciearl

Boreal Oakmoss (Evernia mesomorpha) is a common and widespread shrubby lichen. It occurs across the globe in the northern latitudes. In the United States it is restricted to the northern tier of states. In Minnesota it is common in the northern third of the state, very common in the Arrowhead region, with only scattered occurrences south to the Metro region. It is found in sunny sites in forests and woodlands. It grows on the branches of both deciduous and coniferous trees. It is relatively tolerant of pollution, which allows it to survive near urban areas.

The vegetative body is shrub-like. It consists of numerous, loosely hanging, evenly forked branches. It looks something like an antler lichen but has broader branches. The branches are soft when wet, and pliable, not brittle, when dry. The upper and lower surfaces are green, wrinkled, and usually have abundant, coarse, granules. These granules are the main form vegetative reproduction. Sexual reproductive structures are rarely produced.

Boreal Oakmoss is not edible. Handling it may cause severe dermatitis.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Fungi/Boreal_Oakmoss.html

Bristly Beard Lichen (Usnea hirta)

Bristly Beard Lichen
Photo by Luciearl

Bristly Beard Lichen (Usnea hirta) is a very common shrubby lichen, It occurs throughout Europe and the Americas. It is common in northeast and north-central Minnesota, very common in the Arrowhead region, but completely absent from the remaining two-thirds of the state. It is found in coniferous and mixed forests growing on the bark and twigs of sick or dying coniferous trees, rarely also on birch trees, very rarely also on rock.

Bristly Beard Lichen is pale, grayish-green, yellowish-green, or blackish-gray, and is variable in shape. It may appear as a few long drooping strands; an erect, densely branched, shrub-like tuft; or a combination of the two. The main branches are unequal in length and have numerous short side branches. They are usually short, erect, and stiff when dry, limp when wet. Drooping branches, if present, are long and contorted. All branches are angular, not round, in cross section, are swollen at the base, and are often broadly forked. The base of each branch is the same color as the rest of the branch, not blackened. The surface is dull to shiny and never cracked.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Fungi/Bristly_Beard_Lichen.html

Sunflower tortoise beetle (Physonota helianthi)

sunflower tortoise beetle
Intermediate Adult

Sunflower tortoise beetle (Physonota helianthi) is a small leaf beetle. It occurs in the United States east of the Great Plains and in adjacent Canadian provinces. It is uncommon throughout its range.

There are three color phases that each adult undergoes. The teneral adult, freshly emerged from the pupal stage, is soft bodied and dingy white or ivory. The intermediate adult is black and white with numerous spots. This phase lasts about three weeks. The mature adult is entirely iridescent green. The upper thoracic plate and the two hardened wing covers each have a semi-transparent covering over the entire surface.

sunflower tortoise beetle
Mature Adult

Both larvae and adults feed on the underside of leaves. They occasionally defoliate the plant and can be a major pest. Larvae carry dried fecal matter over their body, presumably as a form of camouflage. The fecal matter is attached to a forked appendage on the last abdominal segment, and is held suspended over the body.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Insects/sunflower_tortoise_beetle.html

Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)

Japanese barberry

Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is an exotic, invasive, thorny shrub. It is native to Japan and has been cultivated around the world as an ornamental. It was introduced into North America in the 1800s where it occasionally escapes cultivation. It is now common from Maine to Minnesota south to North Carolina and Missouri, with scattered populations in the west. In Minnesota it is common in the eastern half of the state with scattered populations in the western half. It is found in open, bottomland and upland woodlands; woodland edges and openings; pastures, meadows, and old fields; and roadsides and other disturbed places. It grows in well-drained, moist to dry soil under full sun to medium shade. It is a restricted noxious weed in Minnesota. The state recognizes – and prohibits – 25 cultivars in addition to the parent species.

Japanese barberry is a dense, compact shrub that sometimes forms large, impenetrable thickets. The shrubs are usually no more than 3′ tall but can be much taller. The narrow, spatula-shaped leaves appear in tight clusters on short shoots along the stems and branches. There is a single, half-inch long spine at the base of each leafy shoot. In May and early June clusters of 1 to 5 small yellow flowers appear at at the ends of the shoots. These are replaced in late summer by bright red juicy berries. The berries remain on the plant throughout the winter.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/Japanese_barberry.html

Tall beggarticks (Bidens vulgata)

tall beggarticks

Tall beggarticks (Bidens vulgata) is a common, widespread, native but often weedy wildflower. It is native to Europe and North America. It occurs across the United States but is most common in New England, the upper Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest. It is common in Minnesota. It grows in loamy or silty soil, under full sun to partial shade, in wet to moderately moist sites. It is found on the banks of rivers and streams; on the margins of lakes and ponds; in wet forests and meadows; and in ditches, railroads, roadsides, and other open disturbed sites. It is weedy in moist disturbed sites.

Tall beggarticks is a robust annual with an inconspicuous inflorescence. It is usually 12″ to 20″ tall but in favorable conditions it can reach 60″ or more in height. The leaves are divided onto 3 or 5 leaflets. At the base of each flower head there is a whorl of 10 to 21 modified leaves (bracts). The flower head has up to 150 yellow disk florets and either no ray florets or just 1 to 5 small yellow ray florets.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/tall_beggarticks.html

Armyworm moth (Mythimna unipuncta)

armyworm moth
Photo by Alfredo Colon

Armyworm moth (Mythimna unipuncta), also called true armyworm and the white speck. is a migratory wainscot moth. It is medium-sized for a moth, large for a wainscot moth. It occurs in Europe, northern Africa, Iceland, North America, Central America, and northern South America. It is common throughout the United States and Canada, common and sometimes abundant in Minnesota. It does not survive cold winters. Adults migrate south in the fall and a later generation disperses north in the spring. Adults are found in Minnesota from March to November. Caterpillars feed on leaves and sometimes seed heads of mostly grains and other grasses, but also many broadleaf plants close to their infestations. After defoliating a stand of plants, they will move as a group to a nearby stand and resume feeding. They are often a serious agricultural pest, especially on wheat and corn.

Armyworm moths are ¾″ to 1″ long. Their forewings are tan with dark peppering and a small but conspicuous white spot. The caterpillar is up to 2″ long.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Insects/armyworm_moth.html

Mid-winter boreus (Boreus brumalis)

mid-winter boreus
Photo by Luciearl

There are fifteen species of snow scorpionflies (Family Boreidae) worldwide, thirteen species in North America, two in eastern United States including Minnesota. The two species in our state are both in the genus Boreus and are easily told apart by their color.

Mid-winter boreus (Boreus brumalis) is a small snow scorpionfly. It is common in the United States from Maine to Michigan, south to Tennessee, and in Canada in Nova Scotia and Ontario. There are isolated populations in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. They are found in deciduous woodlands that have moss on the ground. Larvae live in moss and prey on small insects and other animals found in the moss, and possibly also on the moss. Adults prey on small insects and other animals found hibernating under stones and moss. They are seen on the surface of the snow on winter days when the temperature is above freezing feeding on other winter insects.

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Insects/mid-winter_boreus.html