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Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: The Flora Rewards of Restoration

toothwort

Restorations of natural areas provides many rewards. Invasive species, such as winter creeper, Euonymus fortunei, and various species of exotic honeysuckle Lonicera sp. take their toll on the health and natural diversity of a landscape by crowding out native species: species that have complex ecological relationships that evolved over eons. But … [Read more]

Vanishing Acts: Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone pine growing in the White Mountains of AZ  (photo by USDA)

If “honor your elders” is a phrase that resonates with you, then the bristlecone pine tree, pinus longaeva, deserves great honor indeed. There are a number of bristlecone pine trees that have been aged at well over 4000 years, and several that are thought to be more than 5000 years old. That makes this tree the longest-lived life form on our planet … [Read more]

Vanishing Acts: Kentucky Trees of Concern – Ash Tree

Photo Credit: David L. Roberts, Ph.D. Senior Academic Specialist
Michigan State University Extension

The ash tree, Fraxinus,  is native to eastern North America. Young trees are pyramidal in shape, gradually maturing to a more rounded but usually irregular crown. Gray bark develops distinctive diamond-shaped ridging on mature trees. Ash is a valuable timber tree. Its wood is commercially used for a variety of products including tool handles, oars, … [Read more]

Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: Bloodroot Unearthed

Bloodroot Blooming

When we take the time to learn  the stories hidden in plants, we find tales of ecology, mythology, history, and mystery. We find stories that root us to the land; stories that help us feel connected to the earth. Last week I shared an ecological story hidden in the relationship between bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis and ants. In this post … [Read more]

The Thinking Tree: Isaac’s Café Specials April 4 – April 8, 2016

4-4-16 Special - Hot Dog

I hope everyone is ready for a Tree-rific spring break!   This is the perfect time to fall in love with trees.  The red buds are in full color, the dogwoods are just about to pop, and the colorful fabric of the landscape is changing every day. As a parent, there is no better time to introduce your child to the wonders of trees. They hold magic for … [Read more]

Vanishing Acts: Pacific Yew

Pacific Yew

As science and medicine evolves, we gain a greater understanding of the complexities of human diseases and potential curative properties of the species within the earth's botanical resources. Researchers with the National Cancer Institute partnered with the USDA in the early 1960's to evaluate possible anti-cancer agents within the world's forests. … [Read more]