Recent Changes

Monday, April 24

  1. page Yellow Jacket edited ... Common Name: Yellow jacket, Yellow wasp - The predominant yellow bands are only on the dorsal …
    Common Name: Yellow jacket, Yellow wasp - The predominant yellow bands are only on the dorsal side of the thorax, metaphorically a yellow jacket. They are simply called ‘wasps’ in every other English speaking country.
    Scientific Name: Vespula spp – The Latin word for wasp is vespa; the generic name is then “little wasp.” Spp is the plural of species and implies variety. The depicted species is the southern yellow jacket (V. squamosa).
    ThePotpourri: The yellow jacket
    Yellow jackets are in the Hymenopteran suborder Aculeata, which is derived from the Latin aculeus meaning sting, their most notable trait. The suborder is defined according to the evolutionary mutation of their egg-laying ovipositor organ into an efficient venom delivery device. The aculeate wasps that live in colony groupings are taxonomically assigned to the sub-family Vespinae and may be called either yellow jacket (genus Vespula) if they have the characteristic black and yellow markings or hornet (genus Vespa), their larger, darker cousins - mostly black with some yellowish markings on the head and thorax. Aculeate yellow jacket wasps are also divided into two groups: the benign V. rufa live in small colonies and use the sting only as an offensive weapon to paralyze prey; and the pestiferous V. vulgaris live in large colonies and use the sting as a means of colony defense. The colony arrangement is known as eusocial, a relatively modern biological term that refers to arthropods (bees, ants, termites and some yellow jacket wasps) that live in large, complex societies in which a division of labor prevails according to differences in size, sex and sometimes shape. According to the noted Harvard biologist Edward Wilson in The Social Conquest of Earth, eusocial insects evolved because of their nest building behaviors; the traditional alternative view is that the division of labor arose independently and the nest became a necessary adjunct for colony growth and maintenance. In either case, the palladium of the nest is the essence of the colony. As a result, the nest is defended with farouche ferocity whenever a threat is perceived; yellow jackets emerge en masse to strike at any unwary interloper, hikers included, with multiple defensive stings.
    The queen is the cynosure of Hymenopteran society; there is no king. Eusocial societies are structurally matriarchal; the only function of the male is to provide some DNA diversity to promote evolutionary adaptability. The survival of the yellow jacket species depends on the success of the queen in finding a safe haven to survive the winter months and equally on her ability to start a colony with vernal warming. The queen’s Herculean labors begin with the construction of a below ground or hypogeal nest (epigeal in some species) made from plant fibers that are assiduously removed from decayed wood and assembled into about thirty cells for egg deposition; a paper-like shroud made from masticated cellulose provides a protective covering. The vespine larvae that emerge from each egg must each be fed for several weeks until they pupate to metamorphose into adult female workers. The queen is the sole provider and protector of the colony for the first and most critical month of its existence; she must compete with myriad other arthropods for flower nectar to nourish her larval offspring and catch and malaxate insect prey to provide the proteins needed for growth.
    (view changes)
    8:48 am
  2. page Desiderata edited ... If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be …
    If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
    the grass.

    kindly to
    and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
    your soul.

    all its
    beautiful world.
    Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
    (view changes)
    8:08 am

Friday, April 21

  1. page home edited ... with nature Author: Author: W {WmNeedham_ATFungi_16Aug2013.jpg} illiam Donald D. …

    with nature
    Author: W {WmNeedham_ATFungi_16Aug2013.jpg} illiam DonaldD. Needham {WmNeedham_ATFungi_16Aug2013.jpg}
    Simply click on one of the buttons below to be taken to that directory. To search the site, type your query into the search box on the left hand side of the screen.
    {buttonfungi.gif} {buttonplants.gif} {buttontreesandshrubs.gif} {buttoncreatures.gif} {buttongeology.gif} {buttonenvironment.gif} {buttonhiking.gif}
    (view changes)
    3:36 pm
  2. page home edited ... {buttonfungi.gif} {buttonplants.gif} {buttontreesandshrubs.gif} {buttoncreatures.gif} {…
    {buttonfungi.gif} {buttonplants.gif} {buttontreesandshrubs.gif} {buttoncreatures.gif} {buttongeology.gif} {buttonenvironment.gif} {buttonhiking.gif}
    "Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence." -The Desiderata
    Updated 1121 April 2017: Morels
    {MorchellaEsculenta_ThompsonWildlifeHike_1May2010 066.jpg} It is morel season in
    {Redbud3_Capon_Tr040424.jpg} The redbud trees of Spring on
    the Mid-AtlanticCapon Trail in West Virginia
    (view changes)
    3:32 pm
  3. page Redbud edited {Redbud3_Capon_Tr040424.jpg} Redbud TreesCommon Trees Common Name: Eastern Redbud, Eastern …
    {Redbud3_Capon_Tr040424.jpg} Redbud TreesCommonTrees
    Name: Eastern Redbud, Eastern redbud, Judas Treetree, Forest pansy, Spicewood tree – The emergence of bright pink and magenta buds in advance of foliation illuminates woodlands to announce the emergence of spring; seemingly a tree comprised only of red buds.
    Scientific Name: Cercis canadensis (Probably- The generic name is from Latin cerasus, cherrythe Greek kirkis which means ‘weaver’s shuttle.’ The predominant etymology is that the elongated bean-like podded fruits are reminiscent of the device used to pass filling yarn through the warp yarn in a weaving loom. A slight modification to the root word yields kerkos, the Greek word for ‘tail’ to which the color)
    Eastern Redbud
    fruit may also be compared. The species name is a small, deciduous, short-livedtoponym for Canada, although the tree or shrubis predominantly more southern in range.
    Potpourri: In the phenology
    that growsunfurls after the vernal equinox in the annual race to a heightangiosperm fertility, the redbud excels. The copious blossoms lining nearly every branch and even parts of about 10 metersthe supporting trunk offer a banquet in their deep nectaries that the transition zone betweenlong-tongued bees adapted to exploit, an epitome of the large treesmutualism of pollinator and pollinated. The name is a misnomer as the forestbuds are not red but and admixture of red and blue, a glade, lea, prairie,reddish purple shade that may be called magenta or other grassy opening.
    Potpourri: The redbud gets its
    fuchsia. As a matter of etymology, the two colors are essentially synonymous. Fuchsine was the name given the aniline dye color when patented by the French chemist Verguin from the appearancecolor of buds along the entire lengthflowers of the previous year's growthgenus Fuchsia; he patriotically renamed it magenta for a town in northern Italy which was the site of branches, twigsan 1859 victory of the Second French Empire over the Austrians in the Second Italian War of Independence. As a matter of practicality, magenta-bud or even fuchsia-bud would never pass for a common name.
    {Redbud Flowers_ThompsonWildlife_080426.jpg} Papilionaceous redbud flowers Papilionaceous (butterfly-like) ‘red buds’ are notable not only for their plentitude
    and trunk. Itflamboyant color but also for their unusual shape (papilio is the state treeLatin word for butterfly). The butterfly shape of Oklahoma
    the flowers is a characteristic of the Fabaceae or pea family. The name Judas Tree derives fromthird largest terrestrial plant family after orchids and asters with about 19,000 species, the legendpea family is notable for its nutritionally important beans and peas and for the nitrogen fixing bacteria rhizobia that Judas Iscariot,are hosted in the betrayerroots of Jesus, hanged himselfsome species like clovers (but not redbuds). Like many orchids, pea flowers are marvels of convergent evolution with their pollinators. The corolla consists of five petals of three types whose names suggest a consolidation of ground, air, and sea forces: the banner, the wings, and the keels. The upper banner petal provides the approaching bee with lines that guide it to its nectar repository through a channel indicated by the wing petals on either side. The two keel petals form a landing platform which, when depressed by the related species Cercis siliquastrumweight of western Asia. This appearsthe bee, causes the ten stamens to snap upward for a thorough pollen-dusting of the burrowing insect. The assurance of pollination is even more complete than the elaborate bee dance would suggest, as the redbud has perfect flowers and can therefore self-pollinate.
    The result of the bouquets of red bud blossoms that are frequently if not completely fertilized is a harvest of myriad bean-like seeded fruits. {RedbudPods_BGoat_060525.jpg} Redbud seed-pods and heart-shaped leavesThe pea family is also known as the legume family (the French word for vegetable – the Latin legumen meansanything that can be gathered)
    in only oneconsequence of its characteristic podded progeny. Redbud pods are prodigious, dangling in clusters from each branch with a cargo of ten to twelve individual seeds; each redbud produces thousands. The pods are shielded from the gospels. Matthew xxvii verse 5 states "So Judas threwsummer sun by the money (30 silver coins) intodistinctive heart-shaped leaves that provide the templephotosynthetic nutrients for vegetative sustenance; the cordate shape is the result of fusion of two leaflets that are pinnately compound across the midrib vein. The magenta/fuchsia color that highlights the edges of each pod comes from the same chemical from which the redbud gains its hue – anthocyanin.
    Anthocyanin is what makes flowers red or blue or any combination in between in according to PH (relative acidity). It was named by the German botanist Ludwig Marquart in 1835 in combining the Greek roots anthos meaning flower
    and left. Then hekyanos meaning dark blue. It is also the chemical that is produced by trees to create the red of autumn leaves as antioxidant protection against bright sunlight. In the redbud, as in other colored flowers, it attracts pollinators; it also attracts animals, including humans. In the hunter-gatherer and later crop growing cultures of the Native Americans, foraging for wild food was a necessary and sustaining activity. Inexorably drawn to the vinous redbud blooms and without doubt noting apian activity, the buds were eventually sampled and found satisfying, becoming a springtime staple of several tribes, notably the Cherokee who went awayso far as to pickle and hanged himself." The original whitetherefore preserve them for longer term sustenance. That the fertile flowers then turnedproduced seed pods certainly did not go without notice, and these too were added to the seasonal Indian cornucopia. The roasted seeds provided a salubrious dietary supplement in the form of proanthocyanidins, flavonoids created by the plant to ward off predators. These are the same compounds found in red with blood.
    wine (and apples, cocoa and many pine trees) that are reputed to reduce the risk of heart disease through antioxidant interdiction. Over countless generations of sequential medicine men and women, redbud flowers, pods and bark entered the native pharmacopoeia for a variety of ailments including fever, whooping cough, and as an astringent. Unlike many other Indian medicines, however, redbud was not generally adopted by the Redbud has been usedinfiltrating European colonists except in the esoteric case of treating infantile diarrhea due to its mild gastrointestinal impact. Early settlers did eat the blossoms as a mild but active astringentsalad additive; Peter Kalm, the American agent of Linnaeus, called redbud the ‘sallad tree.”
    The European variant of the redbud is Cercis siliquastrum, accentuating the importance of the podded fruits (the Latin word
    for diarrheapod is siliqua). A native of Southern Europe and dysenterythe Middle East, it was noted by the Greek philosopher Theophrastus and Aristotle’s successor in his seminal Historia Plantarum written in the 4th century BCE. As renaissance-revived science penetrated Europe after the medieval period, the redbud became algarrobo loco in Spanish which translates to something like ‘wild or foolish pod,’ and Arbre de Judée or ‘tree of Judea’ in France. In English, it became the Judas tree, either as a treatment formistranslated French calque word, or as a remnant of the lungs when congested with pulmonary disorders.religious fabulousness of the reliquary era. The bible (Matthew 27:5) says of Judas that “Then he went away and hanged himself” without reference to ways and means. With some creative syllogism, various trees have been suggested as gibbet: the elder tree because it supposedly grew there, the aspen tree because it quakes in shame, and a fig tree that ceased bearing fruit in repentance. It may have been John Gerard, the noted English herbalist who first called out the redbud in a 16th Century screed “this is ye tree whereon Judas did hang himself, and not upon ye elder, as it is said.” With the sobriquet established those inclined to apophenia would assert that hanging redbud bods commemorated the event like homunculi and that the red buds were once white but became sanguineous in shame. As it was called Judas tree in England, it became the American Judas tree in the colonies as a thoughtless act of calumny.

    (view changes)
    3:30 pm

Thursday, April 20

  1. page Morels edited ... While the terms mushroom and fungus are considered synonymous according to pragmatics, they ar…
    While the terms mushroom and fungus are considered synonymous according to pragmatics, they are semantically different; a mushroom is one type of fungus. The kingdom fungi has two major divisions (sometimes subphyla or phyla): Ascomycota, the so-called cup fungi, and Basidiomycota, which includes puffballs, stinkhorns, brackets and a number of other obscure physiologies in addition to the ubiquitous mushrooms. According to Kendrick’s The Fifth Kingdom a mushroom is “a fleshy basidioma, usually stalked and with a cap (pileus) beneath which gills or fleshy tubes are covered with or lined with the hymenium.” The hymenium is the spore bearing surface wherein the major dichotomy of the fungi resides; basidiomycetes have basidia, the club shaped bodies in which (usually four) spores are produced and ascomycetes have asci, sac-like structures in which (usually eight) spores reside. As language is evolutionary, mushroom is trending as a more ecumenical term that can be applied to designate the fruiting body of any fungus. The important point is that morels are ascomycetes.
    Ascomycetes originated in the Paleozoic Era from a common ancestor and are therefore monophyletic, somewhat surprising in consideration of their morphological divergence and extensive speciation. It is estimated about three quarters of all identified fungi are ascomycetes, about 70,000 species. Most are asexual, reproducing with spores genetically identical to the source generally comprising the yeasts, molds, and rusts. The sexual ascomycetes form macroscopic fruiting bodies typically have a distinctive cup shape by which they are commonly known in addition to some unusual outliers like the hypogeal truffles (Tuber spp) and the anthropomorphic dead man’s fingers (Xylaria polymorpha). In morels, the spore-bearing cup surface hymenium has been compartmentalized into the characteristic honeycombed pits and carried aloft on a hollow stalk, presumably by the evolutionary advantage of increased spore dispersal. Based on modern genetic evaluation of mutation rates, morels are monophyletic with a single ancestor of North American provenance that first appeared in the Cretaceous Period about 125 million years ago; they have since morphed into many different species whose taxonomy is only now being tentatively established. The verisimilitude of morels comes as something of a surprise; their distinctive and recognizable crenelated cone morphology belies a disparate genetic diversity.
    possible combinations, itgenetic diversity is likely that each of the eight ascospores in the ascus is genetically distinct.promoted. According to
    To say that a fungus is edible is usually only half of the story. Many people who rarely if ever eat wild foods will develop nausea which may devolve to the more pronounced physical {MorchellaEsculenta_Dish_ThompsonWildlifeHike_1May2010 079.jpg} The result of a successful morel forayrejection of the offending substance altogether. Nausea is an evolutionary adaptation to protect animals from eating something unknown and therefore possibly harmful. In addition to their inherent alien chemistry (fungi are mostly chitin), many fungi also have noxious volatile compounds which must be evaporated by heating; it is therefore a matter of policy among all credible mushroom organizations that edible fungi must all be thoroughly cooked. Morels are among the many edible fungi that are toxic (at least to some) if eaten raw. Fortunately, cooking imparts an epicurean flavor that aficionados describe as reminiscent of hazelnuts to a host of gourmet dishes; reports of adverse morel reactions are therefore rare. Morels, like many edible fungi are also quite nutritious; they contain more protein than most vegetables, are rich in vitamins E, D, K and the B group, and their fiber is conducive to proper
    intestinal function.
    Having established that morels are delectable and nutritious if cooked, it is necessary to establish how, when and where you find them. Finding morels is quite challenging, as the habitat that is likely to favor their growth is imprecise and inconsistent and the fungi are mercurial in the extreme. How to find morels is to be persistent and diligent. Pattern recognition skills are important as morels share the color palette with fallen leaf litter, betraying their presence only by trompe d’oeil stalk-borne wavy fissures. When to find morels is a matter of temperature and elevation or latitude. The most widely accepted soil temperature range for the morel mycelium to fruit is between 50 and 55 °F. Since it is not practical to go out with a thermometer and randomly probe soil temperatures, the rule of thumb is at least one full week with a minimum nocturnal temperature of 50 °F. According to this measure the morel season starts in the south and moves northward from April to May with some adjustments necessary for the cooler temperatures at higher elevations (2.5 °F drop every 1,000 feet). Another method for ‘when’ is to employ phenology, to use the temperature cues of other plants as surrogate thermometers. Among the many indicators, a favorite is ‘when an oak leaf is the size of a squirrel’s ear’ (which they resemble), as this seems to best capture the wisdom of the merkel-hunting mountain people. Others include when the redbuds and dogwoods bloom or when violets first appear
    The ‘where’ is a matter of perennial debate and will likely never be settled. Finding morels is more serendipity and secrecy than science with its own lore of Elysian Fields replete with morchelloid bounty. According to myriad self-proclaimed experts, morels may be found under tulip poplars, white and green ash, hickory, elm, striped maple, sycamore, oaks, in abandoned apple orchards, and, most significantly, in burned areas after a fire. In some parts of Europe, laws were passed to prevent the burning of forests that had previously been set to promote morel growth the following year. David Aurora in Mushrooms Demystified captures the frustration of many in noting that “Morels usually grow outdoors: in forests (under both hardwoods and conifers) and open ground - under hedges, on road cuts and driveways, near melting snow, in gravel - In other words morels grow wherever they please – but only when conditions are favorable.” The only correct answer to where to find morels is to know where the hypogeal morel mycelium grows, which can only be established by finding morels, a fungal catch-22. There is a good reason for morel inconstancy. Morel mycelia form sclerotia, masses of large cells several inches in diameter described as resembling a slippery walnut. The sclerotium is a nutrient reservoir, allowing the fungus to survive adverse conditions for decades. The upshot is that the morel mycelium can choose whether to form a primordium cum fruiting body or whether to await more favorable conditions. Coaxing the sclerotium to fruit is fundamental to commercial cultivation. In 1982, Ronald Ower succeeded in demonstrating a consistent process. U.S. Patent number 4,594,809 was issued in 1986 specifying the series of operations necessary and sufficient for morel cultivation, about two weeks after Ower was murdered in San Francisco.
    is a doppelgänger –doppelgänger: the Brain
    choice, as edible‘edible’ is true
    extreme caution; while it has
    with impunity in some regions for centuries. Falsecenturies, it has also caused some discomfort and even death . The cautionary note arises as false morels produce gyromitrin which containsmetabolizes to monomethylhydrazine, a
    (view changes)
    5:24 am