Northern Catalpa

One day while looking out the window, I noticed large white particles falling to the ground. They looked like snow or popcorn and in the middle of summer. I went outside to investigate and saw that they were flowers from the Northern Catalpa Tree. I usually paid attention to the long beans that hung from the tree in the fall and called her the bean tree. I loved seeing the flourishing tree this year and thought you might enjoy a short video of the tree and blooms.

The catalpa tree is found in forests from southern Illinois and Indiana to western Tennessee and Arkansas. First cultivated in 1754, the wood was used for fence posts and railroad ties because of its resistance to rot and the tree’s fast growth rate. Do not attempt to eat any part of the tree. I am always looking at wild edibles to add to my diet either as medicine or food. Just admire the plant as a gorgeous ornamental.

Here is a link to viewing the video on Northern Catalpa on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/maryellen.ryall

To learn more visit: https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=805

Blooms of Northern Catalpa

Featured in Shutterbug online! — Cindy Dyer’s Blog

I am delighted to share Cindy Dyer’s photography and article with you. Cindy has helped me with book covers, art layout, and publishing of several books, newsletters, and magazines. Her photography is something to shout about.

Visit at https://www.shutterbug.com/content/always-carry-your-camera-how-botanical-photographer-captured-beautiful-butterfly-image?fbclid=IwAR0TfNkq2ONHATpLqP67xM4hPJ85MAU5nwloNROIRsi_Vk6GPp2-PI9RBxA#C7zuRYw47WWzf5tT.01

Long Hot Holiday

The holiday has been unbearably hot. I have stayed indoors for most of it. With good books to read and thoughts of blogging, I can make a quiet time fun.

Take a refreshing break in the cool of the shade and enjoy a short video of a meadow with milkweed and the chirps of the birds at https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/OwUiklX0RTyBSfpYtpAKkA.0V3N1QKcKFkex0YqSY_tth/gallery/EqKurVL8Osq3Cb-YxLwXZQ

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Wind chimes at my private wild butterfly habitation Fitchburg, MA

American Toad in my Garden

One bright day in May, I was at my pollinator garden at the edge of the woods. There in the ground covered leaves was an American Toad. The toad adjusted to my being there and didn’t jump away. I filled a shallow plant saucer with water. An empty clay pot turned upside down, with a large stone placed on one edge, would allow the amphibian to enter as it pleased.

Nearby, in the shade of staghorn sumac, I sat in an aluminum chair and listened to the gentle wind chimes. The toad kept me company and climbed up a large boulder to take the sun. I felt that we were quite a team. The ritual continued for several days until the toad made its way somewhere else. I miss you, my little friend. Do you think of me?

Beetle and Butterfly Pollinator Talk at Saratoga Community Garden

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Speaker Mary Ellen Ryall, Environmental Educator
Saratoga Community Garden at Wesley Retirement Community

BEETLES:

Fossil records show that beetles were abundant during the Mesozoic meh·suh·zow·uhk period (about 200 million years before present). Beetles were flower visitors of the earliest angiosperms such as Magnolia and rose. Source: https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/animals/beetles.shtml

Beetle pollinators are attracted to flowers by the bright orange color. The beetles not only pollinate the flowers, but they mate while inside the flowers. A mutant version of the plant with red flowers becomes more common with the passage of time. A particular variant of the beetle prefers the red flowers to the orange flowers. Over time, these two beetle variants diverge from each other to such an extent that interbreeding is no longer possible. What kind of speciation has occurred in this example, and what has driven it? Sympatric speciation, habitat differentiation.

Source: https://www.coursehero.com/file/p52khgvh/Beetle-pollinators-of-a-particular-plant-are-attracted-to-its-flowers-by-their/

Ladybug is the official State Insect of Massachusetts

The ladybug was adopted as the official state insect or insect emblem of Massachusetts in 1974 (thanks to a campaign that began with a second-grade class in the town of Franklin). Because this insect benefits agriculture and delights children everywhere, Ohio, New York, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Delaware also designate the ladybug as an official state symbol.

A ladybug can consume up to 60 aphids per day, and will also eat a variety of other harmful insects and larvae (including scales, mealybugs, leafhoppers, mites, and different types of soft-bodied insects), as well as pollen and nectar.

Also called lady beetle, ladybird, or lady fly, the most common variety of ladybug found in Massachusetts is the two-spotted lady beetle (Adalia bipunctata).

Sources: https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/massachusetts/state-insect/ladybug

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDu1yTb9NdI
Save the New York nine-spotted Ladybug

The nine-spotted Ladybug of New York is also in decline at https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/new-york/state-insect/nine-spotted-ladybug

Puerto Rican Insects are declining.

The date includes pollinators. 2 degrees Celcius has already impacted 60 percent of the insect animal pollinators. If it happens in the tropics, think what is happening here. How many bees and butterflies have you seen of late?

https://news.rpi.edu/content/2018/10/15/two-degrees-decimated-puerto-rico%E2%80%99s-insect-populations

BUTTERFLIES

Some common butterflies that you will find in the New York State area include Cabbage White, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, and Pearl Cresent and Painted Lady.

Pearl Cresent:

Host plant for Pearl Cresent: Several species of smooth-leaved true asters such as New England Aster. The species overwinters in the third instar caterpillar stage.

This spring, May 2, the Pearl Cresent was here when the lilacs bloomed. The butterflies look for native plants as the host plant, including the New England Aster, to reproduce and to obtain nectar. I didn’t see any asters because it was early. Lilac is not native, but first, which usually happens before native plants are out and flourishing. There are two broods, one in May and the other in August. Source: https://libguides.nybg.org/c.php?g=654973&p=4597781

Cabbage White:

Cabbage white butterfly: Reproduces on Brasilia plants such as cabbage, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts. Yesterday, I saw the Cabbage white butterfly in someone’s garden plot. The butterfly was laying eggs between the leaves of a Brasilia plant. Check the leaves and lightly wash the plant leaves gently with soap and water, and gently hose down afterward.

Painted Lady and the Monarch Butterfly

Summer 2018 – The Saratoga Community Garden was abundant with Painted Lady. The butterfly, along with the Monarch butterfly arrived around the same time. It was migration time toward the end of August.

The Painted lady overwinters in the southern United States. The Monarch journies back home to the Oyamel fir forest in Mexico. Last year both species were drawn to the brightly colored zinnia flowers. The Monarch butterflies flew right to the red zinnia, which they can see.

Monarch Butterfly Update.

The butterfly has seen a significant rise in the winter species surviving the winter. It is estimated that over 100,000 Monarchs are on their way back up north. With the winter habitat down t less than 20 acres, it is remarkable that the Monarch can still turn around their 10 percent survival rate, at least at the moment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife are watching the numbers to determine if the Monarch is now an endangered species.

Update: Endangered Species List
What’s next
May 24, 2019
Listing decision deadline extended
December 15, 2020
Listing decision is due

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