Friday, May 12, 2006

Invasives and a Book

Nuthatch over at bootstrap analysis has a post up about some recent research on Garlic Mustard. Apparently, it secretes a chemical that stifles the growth of understory plants. More good news in the invasive world... (strong sarchasm).

This news inpsired me to do some additional research on invasive plants on the web. I came across the Maryland Native Plant Society's web page. On their site, they have a really informative document on invasive forbs, grasses, shrubs, and trees. They describe each species in simple, but detailed, language. Each species account also includes methods for controlling the plant. Some of these involve unsavory chemicals, but sometimes this is the only way!

Speaking of detailed species accounts, I've started reading John Eastman's The Book of Field and Roadside. This book features detailed species accounts of open-country trees, weeds, and wildfowers of eastern North America. Each species account has a description of the species, other names for it (always interesting), close relatives, life history, associate species, and a section on lore (my favorite part). Each entry is also accompanied by a gorgeous pencil drawing by Amelia Hansen. Eastman's research is obvious by the depth of material contained within. His writing style is easy-going and interesting. There will be lots of times where you're going to the web or another field guide to look up an associate species. For example, you may want to look up the treehopper he mentions that feeds on butter-and-eggs. I find this fun, other people may find it annoying that they can't build a mental pictures of the associate species mentioned. I'd recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in plants and their life histories. It will really expand your knowledge beyond just identifying the species. Eastman has two other books in the series The Book of Forest and Thicket and The Book of Swamp and Bog. He also has a series on birds that I have not read.

*Special side note: Looks like definite rain for the World Series of Birding... yuck

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