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Winter 2010 Minnesota Plant Press ~ Minnesota Native Plant Society Newsletter

Winter 2010 Minnesota Plant Press ~ Minnesota Native Plant Society Newsletter

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Minnesota Plant Press
The Minnesota Native Plant Society Newsletter
Minnesota Plant Press
The Minnesota Native Plant Society Newsletter

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Minnesota Native Plants on Oct 27, 2012
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 Minnesota Plant Press 
Te Minnesota Native Plant Society Newsletter
Volume 29 Number 1Winter 2010
Monthly meetings
Thompson Park Center/DakotaLodgeThompson County Park 360 Butler Ave. E.,West St. Paul, MN 55118
The Minnesota Native Plant
Society meets the rst Thursday
in October, November, December,February, March, April, May, andJune. Check at www.mnnps.orgfor more program information.6 p.m. — Social period7 – 9 p.m. — Program, Society business
MNNPS website
For information about Society
eld trips, meetings and events,
check the website: www.mnnps.org
In this issue
Society news ........................ ...2 New members .........................2Spruce-top harvesting damage .3Proposed copper mine dangers .4President’s column .................
Conservation Corner ...............6Evelyn Moyle dies ..................6Symposium .............................6Plant Lore: Sweet gale
Feb. 4: “Looking at Lichens,”
  by Dr. Imke Schmitt, assistant professor, University of Minnesota.
Plant of the Month:
 broom rape or cancer-root,
Orobanche uniora
, by Ken Arndt,Critical Connections EcologicalServices, Inc.
March 4: “Ash GeneticConservation,”
by Dr. Andy David,associate professor, University of Minnesota.
Plant of the Month:
Black Ash,
 Fraxinus nigra
April 1: “Extension forestryin the 21st Century:
Capacity,Innovation, and Impact,” byEli Sagor, Extension educator,University of Minnesota ExtensionService.
Plant of the Month:
Black spruce,
 Picea mariana.
March 27: Symposium
(See page 6.)
A Rose Is a Rose Isa Rose?
by Anita F. Cholewa, Ph.D., curator of the UM Herbarium, Bell Museumof Natural History, University of Minnesota.
In last month’s newsletter, we learned a little about what scientic names
mean and how to pronounce them. Now, why do “they” keep changing thenames?
To answer this, we must rst consider what makes a species a species.
This sounds like a simple question, but it’s not — the answer has changedover the centuries as we have gained a better understanding of nature.
Initially, a species was dened as populations that looked identical.Eventually, a breeding requirement was included, and the denition changed
to populations that contained
 similar looking 
individuals with the
 to interbreed and produce viable offspring. Then it was recognized that, atleast in the plant world, external morphology could change depending on the
environment (desert plants can become more hairy during droughts; ower 
color could change due to soil pH; habit could change due to elevation;etc.). Then it was discovered that plants, unlike most animals, can survivechromosomal alterations such as extra doubling or loss of a chromosome,and many species were found to self-breed, and some species (for example,dandelions) don’t even need pollen to produce viable seed (known asagamospermy). Today, the actual genetic makeup and the ancestral history
of plants are taken into account in our denition of a species.
As a result of these changes in our concept of the species, the species boundaries have changed, and our names for some species have to change (andsometimes a species is moved to a different family altogether). Sometimesseveral different species (for example in
, the yarrows) in realityare only one or a few, highly variable species. Other times one speciesturns out to be two or more (for example in
, the sandbur,and
, the rye grasses). Andsometimes, a group of plants wasonce thought to be different species,then combined, and then split again(for example in
, the shinleafsor wintergreens).But there are rules for howthese nomenclatural changes occur.When a species (or genus) is split
Continued on page 7
MNNPS Boardof Directors
President: Scott Milburn
Vice President: Shirley MahKooyman,
 program coordinator 
:Andrés Morantes,
, membership data base
: Ron and Cathy Huber,
Derek Anderson
, board member,derek.anderson@mnnps.org
Ken Arndt,
 board member, eld
trip chair, ken.arndt@mnnps.org
Michael Bourdaghs
, boardmember, michael.bourdaghs@mnnps.org
Angela Hanson
, board member,angela.hanson@mnnps.org
Elizabeth Heck 
, board member,webmaster, elizabeth.heck@mnnps.org
Dylan Lueth,
board member,dylan.lueth@mnnps.org
Elizabeth Nixon,
 board member,conservation committee chair,
Erika Rowe
, board member,erika.rowe@mnnps.org
Russ Schaffenberg,
 boardmember, russ.schaffenberg@mnnps.org
Field Trips:
Historian-Archives: RoyRobison,
Technical or membershipinquiries:
 Minnesota Plant Press
Editor:Gerry Drewry,
651-463-8006; plantpress.mnnps@mnnps.org2
Who Does What 
The MNNPS is an all- volunteer organization. Following are the
 people who were lling various
duties in December. If you wouldlike to help, please contact the
 person listed or an ofcer.
President: Scott MilburnVice-President: Shirley MahKooymanSecretary: Andrés MorantesTreasurer: Ron Huber 
Committees, Responsibilities
Program, Education, Lectures
Programs: Andrés MorantesPostcards: Ron, Cathy Huber Refreshments: Ken ArndtAudio-Visual: Scott Milburn, KenArndtMeeting site open/close:Ken ArndtSeed Exchange: Dave Crawford,Ken Arndt, Scott MilburnPlant Sale: Dave Crawford, KenArndt, Gerry Drewry
Membership and Outreach
Membership roster, directory, nametags: Ron, Cathy Huber Mailing labels: Ron, Cathy Huber  New Member Packets: CathyHuber Technical assistance: DavidJohnsonTelephone contact: Linda HuhnBrochures and Stationery: AndrésMorantes, Elizabeth Heck Display Board : Vacant
 Newsletter Editor: Gerry Drewry Newsletter assistant: Vacant Newsletter mailing: Ron, CathyHuber 
Website updates
Elizabeth Heck, Scott Milburn
Facebook, Blog
Michael Bourdaghs, AngelaHanson
Conservation, Education
Chair: Beth Nixon
Field Trips
Identify options: Ken Arndt, ScottMilburnLogistics: Ken ArndtLeading Trips: Varies with trip
Theme, Site: Scott Milburn, ErikaRoweSpeakers: Scott Milburn, AngelaHanson, Erika RoweRegistration: Shirley MahKooymanBrochures: Scott Milburn, JeanneSchachtCatering: Shirley Mah Kooyman,Angela Hanson
Conservation/storage Roy Robison
Post Ofce Box
Pickup, distribution: Ron, CathyHuber 
MNNPS welcomesnew members
The Society gives a warmwelcome to new members who joined during the fourth quarter of 2009. Listed alphabetically, theyare:Christina and David Bellert, Dallas,OR.Don Degue, RosevilleKatie Frerker, Rochester Elna Goodspeed, Fridley*Chris Gronewold, LauderdaleDavid Julson, Stillwater Mark Leipairtz, FarmingtonMary Jo Moltzen, FairmontRebecca Montgomery, St. PaulKaren Nyhus, Mendota HeightsGlen Olson, North St. Paul*Rebecca Stone, LauderdaleDenise and Robert Wolff, Lakeville(*family membership)
 MNNPS finances
by Ron, Cathy Huber, treasurers
At the end of calendar year 2009, the Society had total assets of $24,743.23.Income for the year totaled$13,238.52, mostly from dues andthe symposium. Expenses cameto $13,824.77, mostly for thesymposium, Dakota Lodge rental,and a donation to the DNR for theupcoming book by Welby Smith.
by Norm Aaseng, plant ecologist, Minnesota County Biological Survey. This is a summary of histalk at the Nov. 5, 2009, MNNPS meeting.
Decorative tree harvesting is thecutting of the top two to four feetof stunted (six- to 15-foot) black spruce trees. These spruce topsare shipped to garden stores andother outlets where they are soldas decorations during the winter holiday season. In the mid-1990s,the harvesting of spruce tops inMinnesota began to expand, andtoday an estimated one-half millionto one million tree tops are harvested per year. Surveys indicate that thereis a market for three times thatnumber of spruce tops. Harvestingoccurs primarily on state and countylands in northwest Aitkin, southwestSt. Louis, northwest Carlton, andsouthwest Itasca counties from mid-September to mid-December. Thisactivity provides income to localharvesters from lands that typicallydo not generate any revenue.Although black spruce trees arefound in a variety of peatland andupland native plant communityclasses, almost all decorative topscome from the Northern Spruce Bogs(APn80 in the DNR’s
 Field Guideto the Native Plant Communities of  Minnesota
). The Northern SpruceBog is the most nutrient poor aswell as the most acidic native plantcommunity occurring in Minnesota.These conditions create a veryinhospitable environment in whichonly 25 vascular plant species areadapted to survive. Typical speciesfound in bogs include carnivorous plants, such as pitcher plant(
Sarracenia purpurea
), ericaceousshrubs, such as bog rosemary(
 Andromeda glaucophylla
) and bog laurel (
 Kalmia polifolia
), andgraminoids such as cotton grasses(
 Eriophorum spissum
) and bog wiregrass sedge (
). Hummocks of sphagnum moss cover the groundsurface. The severe conditions areresponsible for the stunted size andshape of black spruce trees desired by harvesters.As tree-top harvesting operationsincreased in size, environmentalimpacts from harvesting becameapparent. DNR Forestry assembled
a eld team to determine the impacts
of tree-top harvesting and thefactors contributing to the damage.The team found that the cutting of the spruce tops did not appear to
have a signicant impact. Tree tops
were reported to grow back and beharvested in 10 - 20 years.
However, very signicant
impacts occurred from rutting on all-terrain vehicles (ATV) access trails.Initial passes by ATVs create a trail by compressing the sphagnum peat, but repeated traversing of trails,especially with heavy vehicles,resulted in cutting through the liveroot mat that occurs in the upper sixinches of the peat. Once this matis cut, the weight-bearing capacityof the peat is severely reduced,resulting in increasing size and depthof pools with every pass of an ATV.The deeper the ruts are, the longer it takes the vegetation to recover. If 
damage is signicant, there can be
a conversion of vegetation to marshor even exotic plant species. Water tracks and laggs (shrubby wet moatsoccurring between the interface of  peatland and upland) were foundto be particularly susceptible todamage from ATVs. The creationof deep pools and the elimination of existing vegetation easily occurredalong the ATV trails in these areas.To minimize these impacts, theDNR instituted regulations thatlimited the depth and length of rutting allowed on trails as well asimposing restrictions on the accessof harvest areas through laggs andwater tracks.Despite the regulations, someimpacts continued to occur, primarilythrough “rogue” or inexperiencedharvesters. Because public auctionrequires that the sale of tree tops goto the highest bidder regardless of competence of the harvesters, theDNR no longer offers this optionfor decorative harvesting. Instead, private sales are negotiated with proven operators that possess theappropriate equipment, such as low pressure-tired vehicles. Becausethese private sales are much smaller in size than public auctions, theDNR sales are now limited to atotal of 200,000 tree tops per year.With increasing demand for sprucetops it may be that operations will be shifting to lands that are lessregulated.
Harvesting of sprucetops is damaging bogs
$3.7 million inlegacy conservationgrants are awarded
$3,740,000 in 2010 ConservationPartners Legacy grants have beenawarded, the DNR has announced.The funds are from the Outdoor Heritage Fund created by voterswho approved the constitutionalamendment in 2008.Grants range from $5,000to $400,000. The 35 projects
include seven for sh, game and
wildlife ($874,754); eight for forests ($789,814); 12 for prairies($933,206); and eight for wetlands($1,142,226).By activity, 11 are for landacquisition ($1,860,300); 12 for enhancement ($701,398); and 12for restoration ($1,178,302).127 applications totaling $16.5million were received. “The volumeof applications we received andthe energy around these effortshas been impressive,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten.

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