Summer in the milkweed patch

11 It’s peak season for milkweed and the village of insects that make milkweed its home.  In my book on Monarchs and Milkweed, I devote an entire chapter to these diverse and fascinating other milkweed insects.  Below are photos from two days last week (July 6 and 7th), one set from my front yard and the other from Shawangunk National Grassland Preserve, both… Read more

The last “winter” walk

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The Virginia waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum, in the Boraginaceae, named for its spotted leaves. We discussed the unknown “how” and “why” of the spotting.  Is their function related or unrelated to the mottling of trout lily?   
  We embarked on our final winter walk of the season on April 28th, immediately after the 7th annual HW Greene Grilled Cheese Challenge in Corson Hall.  … Read more

Winter Walk 2017 #2

Cold and crisp among the antique hemlocks. Over a hundred years old and certainly over a 100 ft tall.
Last week, late in February, it was nearly 70F in Ithaca, NY.  Buds were breaking, as were temperature records.  I heard a lecture yesterday that projected that this spring would be 2-3 weeks early compared to 2012, which previously held the record as the… Read more

Winter Walks 2017 #1

Eurosta solidaginis, the goldenrod gall fly, a tasty treat for vertebrates, made sweeter by the winter cold — sugar is the anti-freeze. Photo by Katie Holmes.
Winter Walks are a tradition of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Cornell University, started by Professor Peter Marks in the 1970s.  Winter walks grew out of the teaching of Plant Ecology field labs… Read more