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Missouri Ozarks species index / by John Logan.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
Missouri Ozarks species index / by John Logan.
Author: Logan, John.
Call Number: QK170.L65 1983

An index to the vascular plants of Willdenow's Species plantarum, volumes I-V (1), 1797-1810 / Neil A. Harriman.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
An index to the vascular plants of Willdenow's Species plantarum, volumes I-V (1), 1797-1810 / Neil A. Harriman.
Author: Harriman, Neil A.
Call Number: QK95.H37 1979

Climbing and rambler roses / David Austin.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
Climbing and rambler roses / David Austin.
Author: Austin, David, 1926- author.
Call Number: SB411.65.C55A97 2016

Plants of the Fiji Islands / by J.W. Parham.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
Plants of the Fiji Islands / by J.W. Parham.
Author: Parham, J. W. (John W.)
Call Number: QK473.F5P37 1972

Phyto : principles and resources for site remediation and landscape design / Kate Kennen and Niall Kirkwood.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
Phyto : principles and resources for site remediation and landscape design / Kate Kennen and Niall Kirkwood.
Author: Kennen, Kate, author.
Call Number: TD878.48.K46 2015

Natural swimming pools / Michael Littlewood.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
Natural swimming pools / Michael Littlewood.
Author: Littlewood, Michael, author.
Call Number: TH4763.L58 2005

The most beautiful natural pools = De mooiste zwemvijvers = Les plus beaux bassins de baignade = Die schönsten Schwimmteiche / Jean Vanhoof ; photography, Marc Slootmaekers.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
The most beautiful natural pools = De mooiste zwemvijvers = Les plus beaux bassins de baignade = Die schönsten Schwimmteiche / Jean Vanhoof ; photography, Marc Slootmaekers.
Author: Vanhoof, Jean, author.
Call Number: TH4763.V36 2012

Garden and swimming ponds : building, planting, care / Richard Weixler ; with contributions by Wolfgang Hauer.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
Garden and swimming ponds : building, planting, care / Richard Weixler ; with contributions by Wolfgang Hauer.
Author: Weixler, Richard, author.
Call Number: SB475.8.W45 2010

Natural swimming pools : conventional pool conversion guide / by Michael Littlewood ; editor: Gaby Bartai.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
Natural swimming pools : conventional pool conversion guide / by Michael Littlewood ; editor: Gaby Bartai.
Author: Littlewood, Michael, author.
Call Number: TH4763.L588 2013

Roses / David Squire.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
Roses / David Squire.
Author: Squire, David, 1938-
Call Number: SB411.S68 1995

A blessing of toads : a gardener's guide to living with nature / written & illustrated by Sharon Lovejoy.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
A blessing of toads : a gardener's guide to living with nature / written & illustrated by Sharon Lovejoy.
Author: Lovejoy, Sharon, 1945- author, illustrator.
Call Number: SB455.L68 2004

Data-driven modelling of structured populations : a practical guide to the integral projection model / Stephen P. Ellner, Dylan Z. Childs, Mark Rees.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
Data-driven modelling of structured populations : a practical guide to the integral projection model / Stephen P. Ellner, Dylan Z. Childs, Mark Rees.
Author: Ellner, Stephen P., 1953- author.
Call Number: QL751.65.S73E44 2016

The Luquillo Mountains : forest resources and their history / Peter L. Weaver.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
The Luquillo Mountains : forest resources and their history / Peter L. Weaver.
Author: Weaver, Peter L., author.
Call Number: SD152.P8W43 2012

Seiyō kusabana zufu / Tanigami Kōnan choga.

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
Seiyō kusabana zufu / Tanigami Kōnan choga.
Author: Tanigami, Kōnan, 1879-1928.
Call Number: ND1400.T35 1917

L'Agriculture et maison rustique / de M.M. Charles Estienne, et Iean Liebault ... Reueuë & augmentée de beaucoup ... Auec vn bref recueil des chasses du cerf, du sanglier, du lieure, du renard, du blereau, du connil, du loup, des oyseaux & de la...

New Book Arrivals - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:31am
L'Agriculture et maison rustique / de M.M. Charles Estienne, et Iean Liebault ... Reueuë & augmentée de beaucoup ... Auec vn bref recueil des chasses du cerf, du sanglier, du lieure, du renard, du blereau, du connil, du loup, des oyseaux & de la fauconnerie ...
Author: Estienne, Charles, 1504-approximately 1564.

Are We There Yet? Celebrating the National Parks Service Centennial

Plant Science and Conservation - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 1:34pm

The National Parks provide dream vacations for us nature lovers, but did you know they also serve as vital locations for forward-thinking conservation research by Chicago Botanic Garden scientists?

From sand to sea, the parks are a celebration of America’s diversity of plants, animals, and fungi, according to the Garden’s Chief Scientist Greg Mueller, Ph.D., who has worked in several parks throughout his career.

“National Parks were usually selected because they are areas of important biodiversity,” Dr. Mueller explained, “and they’ve been appropriately managed and looked after for up to 100 years. Often times they are the best place to do our work.”

As we celebrate this centennial year, he and his colleagues share recent and favorite work experiences with the parks.

 Dr. Greg Mueller in the field.

Dr. Greg Mueller working at Big Thicket National Preserve, Texas, in 2007.

Take a glimpse into the wilderness from their eyes.

This summer, Mueller made a routine visit to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to examine the impact of pollution and other human-caused disturbances on the sensitive mushroom species and communities associated with trees. “One of the foci of our whole research program (at the Garden) is looking at that juxtaposition of humans and nature and how that can coexist. The Dunes National Lakeshore is just a great place to do that,” he explained, as it is unusually close to roads and industry.

Evelyn Williams, Ph.D., adjunct conservation scientist, relied on her fieldwork in Guadalupe Mountains National Park to study one of only two known populations of Lepidospartum burgessii, a rare gypsophile shrub, during a postdoctoral research appointment at the Garden. “We were able to work with park staff to study the species and make recommendations for management,” she said.

 Dr. Evelyn Williams in Guadalupe Mountains National Park during 2014 field work.

Dr. Evelyn Williams in Guadalupe Mountains National Park during 2014 field work. Photo by Adrienne Basey.

As a Conservation Land Management intern, Coleman Minney surveyed for the federally endangered Ptilimnium nodosum at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park earlier this year. “The continued monitoring of this plant is important because its habitat is very susceptible to invasion from non-native plants,” explained Minney, who found the first natural population of the species on the main stem of the Potomac River in 20 years.

 Harperella (Ptilimnium nodosum).

Harperella (Ptilimnium nodosum) grows on scour bars of rivers and streams. Photo by Coleman Minney.

According to conservation scientist Andrea Kramer, Ph.D., “In many cases, National Parks provide the best and most intact examples of native plant communities in the country, and by studying them we can learn more about how to restore damaged or destroyed plant communities to support the people and wildlife that depend upon them.”

The parks have been a critical site for her work throughout her career. Initially, “I relied on the parks as sites for fieldwork on how wildflowers adapt to their local environment.”

Today, she is evaluating the results of restoration at sites in the Colorado Plateau by looking at data provided by collaborators. Her data covers areas that include Grand Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

Along with colleague Nora Talkington, a recent master’s degree graduate from the Garden’s program in plant biology and conservation who is now a botanist for the Navajo Nation, Dr. Kramer expects the results will inform future restoration work.

 Dr. Andrea Kramer at Arches National Park.

Dr. Kramer collects material from Arches National Park as a part of her dissertation research in 2003.

At Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, Natalie Balkam, a Conservation Land Management intern, has been hard at work collecting data on vegetation in the park and learning more about the intersection of people, science, and nature. “My time with the National Park Service has exposed me to the vastly interesting and complex mechanics of preserving and protecting a natural space,” she said. “And I get to work in one of the most beautiful places in the world—Alaska!”

 The view from survey work in Elodea, part of the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park Preserve in Alaska.

The view from survey work in Elodea, part of the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park Preserve in Alaska. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

The benefits of conducting research with the National Parks extend beyond the ability to gather high-quality information, said Mueller. Parks retain records of research underway by others and facilitate collaborations between scientists. They may also provide previous research records to enhance a specific project. Their connections to research are tight. But nothing is as important as their ability to connect people with nature, said Mueller. “That need for experiencing nature, experiencing wilderness is something that’s critical for humankind.”

For research and recreation, we look forward to the next 100 years.

©2016 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Are We There Yet? Celebrating the National Parks Service Centennial

Garden Blog - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 1:34pm

The National Parks provide dream vacations for us nature lovers, but did you know they also serve as vital locations for forward-thinking conservation research by Chicago Botanic Garden scientists?

From sand to sea, the parks are a celebration of America’s diversity of plants, animals, and fungi, according to the Garden’s Chief Scientist Greg Mueller, Ph.D., who has worked in several parks throughout his career.

“National Parks were usually selected because they are areas of important biodiversity,” Dr. Mueller explained, “and they’ve been appropriately managed and looked after for up to 100 years. Often times they are the best place to do our work.”

As we celebrate this centennial year, he and his colleagues share recent and favorite work experiences with the parks.

 Dr. Greg Mueller in the field.

Dr. Greg Mueller working at Big Thicket National Preserve, Texas.

Take a glimpse into the wilderness from their eyes.

This summer, Mueller made a routine visit to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to examine the impact of pollution and other human-caused disturbances on the sensitive mushroom species and communities associated with trees. “One of the foci of our whole research program (at the Garden) is looking at that juxtaposition of humans and nature and how that can coexist. The Dunes National Lakeshore is just a great place to do that,” he explained, as it is unusually close to roads and industry.

Evelyn Williams, Ph.D., adjunct conservation scientist, relied on her fieldwork in Guadalupe Mountains National Park to study one of only two known populations of Lepidospartum burgessi, a rare gypsophile shrub, during a postdoctoral research appointment at the Garden. “We were able to work with park staff to study the species and make recommendations for management,” she said.

 Dr. Evelyn Williams in Guadalupe Mountains National Park during 2014 field work.

Dr. Evelyn Williams in Guadalupe Mountains National Park during 2014 field work. Photo by Adrienne Basey.

As a Conservation Land Management intern, Coleman Minney surveyed for the federally endangered Ptilimnium nodosum at the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park earlier this year. “The continued monitoring of this plant is important because its habitat is very susceptible to invasion from non-native plants,” explained Minney, who found the first natural population of the species on the main stem of the Potomac River in 20 years.

 Harperella (Ptilimnium nodosum).

Harperella (Ptilimnium nodosum) grows on scour bars of rivers and streams. Photo by Coleman Minney.

According to conservation scientist Andrea Kramer, Ph.D., “In many cases, National Parks provide the best and most intact examples of native plant communities in the country, and by studying them we can learn more about how to restore damaged or destroyed plant communities to support the people and wildlife that depend upon them.”

The parks have been a critical site for her work throughout her career. Initially, “I relied on the parks as sites for fieldwork on how wildflowers adapt to their local environment.”

Today, she is evaluating the results of restoration at sites in the Colorado Plateau by looking at data provided by collaborators. Her data covers areas that include Grand Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

Along with colleague Nora Talkington, a recent master’s degree graduate from the Garden’s program in plant biology and conservation who is now a botanist for the Navajo Nation, Dr. Kramer expects the results will inform future restoration work.

 Dr. Andrea Kramer at Arches National Park.

Dr. Kramer collects material from Arches National Park as a part of her dissertation research in 2003.

At Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, Natalie Balkam, a Conservation Land Management intern, has been hard at work collecting data on vegetation in the park and learning more about the intersection of people, science, and nature. “My time with the National Park Service has exposed me to the vastly interesting and complex mechanics of preserving and protecting a natural space,” she said. “And I get to work in one of the most beautiful places in the world—Alaska!”

 The view from survey work in Elodea, part of the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park Preserve in Alaska.

The view from survey work in Elodea, part of the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park Preserve in Alaska. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

The benefits of conducting research with the National Parks extend beyond the ability to gather high-quality information, said Mueller. Parks retain records of research underway by others and facilitate collaborations between scientists. They may also provide previous research records to enhance a specific project. Their connections to research are tight. But nothing is as important as their ability to connect people with nature, said Mueller. “That need for experiencing nature, experiencing wilderness is something that’s critical for humankind.”

For research and recreation, we look forward to the next 100 years.

©2016 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

The Basics of Pickling Peppers

Garden Blog - Thu, 08/11/2016 - 1:46pm

Are you staring at the glorious color wheel of peppers at your local grocer or farmers’ market and salivating over your peppers growing at home?

If so, you are a pepper lover, and while you hold yourself back from buying every type you see on the shelf, you also know that this feeling is fleeting.

 pickled peppers.

Savor the flavor—pickling lets your harvest last longer and tastes amazing.

Those beautiful colors and unusual varieties are in their prime now, when the hot summer days and good strong rains are perfect support for a fruiting pepper plant. In just a month or two, the number of varieties will start to dwindle and your hot spicy recipes will taste bland again.

Fear not! You can preserve that color and flavor easily with pickled peppers! But even Peter Piper couldn’t pick a peck of them. You have to pickle them yourself. Luckily, pickling peppers is perfectly painless.

 Use gloves when seeding hot peppers.

Play it smart! Wear gloves when seeding hot peppers.

Note: Be careful when handling hot peppers; don’t rub your eyes as the capsaicin will migrate and can really irritate them (and be detrimental to contact lenses). One way to avoid this is to use disposable gloves. Wash your hands thoroughly after removing the gloves as well.

Hot or not:

Just how spicy do you want your peppers? Go ahead and take a bite. If it’s too hot, it’s not too late. Before you pickle, core your peppers (removing the seeds and inner ribs). This removes some of its spiciest elements. You can also run them under water once they are cored to lessen the heat.

 Coring peppers removes some of their "heat."

Coring and removing the ribs and seeds takes a lot of the heat out of the pepper. Like the pepper hot? Leave them in.

If you like it hot, leave your peppers whole. Just poke or slit holes in the side of the pepper to expose the inside to the pickling liquid.

Be sure your pickles are tender, firm, crisp and not showing any spots, wrinkled skin, or decay. Also, wash them well before pickling.

Skin off:

Pickled pepper skin can be unpleasant and rubbery. If you are thinly slicing your peppers (or your peppers are very thin-skinned), you may choose to leave the skin on. However, if you are pickling your peppers whole, remove the skin now by blistering the outside of the pepper on the grill, in the oven, or with the broiler. Once the skin is blistered on all sides, let the pepper cool and the skin will slide right off.

If you don’t want to heat up the kitchen on a summer day, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin (preserve as much of the flesh as possible).

 peppers on a roasting rack.

A brief roast will blister the skins of your peppers, making them slide right off when cool.

 skinning peppers with a vegetable peeler.

You can also skin peppers with a peeler.

Sterilize your jars and make pickling liquid.

Use glass jars that can vacuum seal (Mason® or Ball® jars work great). Wash them well, then heat them in the dishwasher or fill with boiling water until the glass is hot. Pour out water just before you fill them with peppers and brine.

A basic brine for a 1 pint jar contains the following:

  • 2 cups vinegar (white distilled vinegar preserves the pepper colors best)
  • 1¼ teaspoons canning or pickling salt
  • ½ tablespoon of sugar or honey (*may be left out if you prefer)

 Ingredients for pickled peppers.

Dill, onions, garlic, and peppers: this is going to be awesome.

What to add?

Onion, garlic cloves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, dill seeds, sesame seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and many other spices can add flavor to the brine. For a true Chicago hot dog, add two garlic cloves and a pinch of mustard seed. For a sweet approach, add 2 tablespoons of honey and some chopped onion. For Thai Chilies, add sesame seed for richer tasting pickles.

TIME OUT TO TASTE TEST!

Take a sliver of your pepper and a bit of your pickling liquid and set to the side. Let the liquid cool and then taste them together. Hold your nose—the vinegar will be strong! This is not exact, but gives you can idea to the flavors you’ve mixed. Adjust your spices as you may need.

 packed jars ready for pickle brine.

Leave space to pour the brine in, and for the jars to seal properly.

Pack your jars:

Bring the brine to a boil; reduce heat and cook just long enough for the salt to dissolve in the vinegar (about 2 minutes). Pack your garlic cloves, extra dill, or other ingredients with your peppers into the hot jars, leaving 1 inch of air (called headspace) in the top of the jar. Then, ladle the hot pickling brine over the peppers until the brine is ½ inch from the top of the jar.

Put on your lids and rings and close gently. Don’t turn as tight as you can—you want the lid to be easy to loosen later.

Store:

If you plan to use your peppers right away, put the jars into the fridge for two days and start eating!

If you want to hold on to you peppers longer, you will want to can them. Place your newly packed jars into a canning pot filled with boiling water. The water should sit 1 inch above the jars. Keep the water boiling for 10 minutes. Then lift the jars out of the water and let them cool on a towel (not touching each other). After they have cooled overnight, press the center of the lid down with your finger. If the lid doesn’t move, it has sealed and your peppers will keep for up to a year! If the lid pops up and down, the jar didn’t seal and should go into the fridge for quick eating.

Don’t forget to have fun! Play with different color and flavor combos or chop the peppers for something spreadable. As long as you use the right amount of vinegar and salt, the sky is the limit!

Already perfected pepper pickling? Then make giardiniera!

Use half the recipe above and add carrot, celery, onion, cauliflower, green olives, and garlic to the jars. Also add 2 tablespoons oregano, 1 teaspoon celery seed, 1 teaspoon ground pepper, and 3 cups of olive oil to the pickling liquid. Rather than canning, let the jars ferment in your fridge for at least two days before eating for the best flavor.

©2016 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

The Superpowers of Butterflies: Ultraviolet Communication

Garden Blog - Tue, 08/09/2016 - 9:25am

We humans have used technology to become masters of communication. But we are far from the only species with an impressive array of “superhuman” abilities. Butterflies have unique features they use for socializing, mating, warding off predators, and more!

 Scarlet Mormon (Papilio rumanzovia). Photo by Bill Bishoff.

Scarlet Mormon (Papilio rumanzovia)
Photo by Bill Bishoff

Consider the butterfly’s ability to see ultraviolet light. UV light is a spectrum of light between 10 and 400 nanometers that humans and most other animals cannot sense. Butterflies have complex mechanisms for both receiving and sending UV light, and they use these amazing gifts in a variety of clever ways.

One well-known phenomenon is the relationship between butterflies and nectar-producing flowers. Thanks to special photoreceptors in their huge compound eyes, butterflies can detect ultraviolet light. Many flowers have evolved to display ultraviolet patterning that helps lead the butterflies directly to their nectaries, resulting in a mutually beneficial exchange—nectar for the butterfly, pollination for the flower. These patterns can resemble airport landing strips or helicopter pads, advertising, “The food is in here!” The butterflies easily hone in on these markings and land on the flower petals.

From there, another unique ability helps to ensure the butterflies find what they’re looking for.

A chemoreceptor is a sensory cell or organ responsive to chemical stimuli.

Butterflies have chemoreceptors on their feet (among other places), so when they land on something, they can instantly “taste” whether it’s a food source or not. This comes in handy for food sources that do not have UV patterning, like rotting meat. (Yes, butterflies derive nutrients from deceased animals.)

 Thomas Eisner.

Butterfly wing scales as seen under a microscope. Photo credit: Thomas Eisner. Learn more about butterfly scales from his post, Scales: On the Wings of Butterflies and Moths.

Some people will be surprised to learn that in addition to sensing ultraviolet light, butterflies can also emit ultraviolet light waves through their wings. Their wings are coated with minuscule scales that can reflect different color spectrums, depending on their shape and the angle of light that hits them.

As the angle of sunlight shifts, the colors emitted from these scales shift. This is how visitors can watch our butterflies “change color” as they flap their wings and flutter about. The structure of these scales reflects many wavelengths of light that we perceive as brilliant colors, but the scales also reflect UV waves, which other butterflies can pick up on for communication.

Since butterflies have many predators, being able to send and receive discrete messages in the form of UV light ensures they won’t be detected. This is often used as a secretive means of courtship. Think of it as two naval ships using their flashing beacons to silently communicate without being detected by enemies. Alternatively, think of it like online dating. 

Male butterflies will pick up on the vivid UV patterning of a female, and begin their courtship rituals. The female will check out the UV patterning of the male to decide if he has the right stuff. If he does not, she will assume a posture that I described in my previous post, that is, lifting her wings and abdomen. What I didn’t know earlier was that by lifting her wings, the female effectively covers up the UV light that attracted the male in the first place, causing him to lose interest and leave. I guess things haven’t changed much in the last six million years!

 Ray Cannon.

Vogel’s Organ is thought to be used for hearing birds flap their wings. Photo credit: Ray Cannon. Read more about it in Ray Cannon’s Nature Notes.

Noisy butterflies?

As if ultraviolet-manipulation abilities weren’t enough, did you know that our blue morpho and giant owl butterflies have vestigial ears? Called “Vogel’s Organs,” they use these sense receptors to detect birds. Our cracker butterflies (Hamadryas sp.) can use these organs to sense—and create—ultrasonic sound waves to evade bats. What’s more, we have butterflies that can turn the table on their predators by scaring them off using markings that look identical to snakeheads and giant eyeballs!

 Starry Cracker (Hamadryas laodamia).

Starry cracker (Hamadryas laodamia)

Stay tuned for the next installment of news from Butterflies & Blooms—the evolutionary war of super-senses and abilities among butterflies continues.

©2016 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Carbon County Seed Collection: An Open-and-Shut Case

CLM Internship Blog - Mon, 08/08/2016 - 3:04pm

July hit us with a collection frenzy.

Within a couple weeks, the unusually cool, wet spring I enjoyed my first month here evaporated into a blazing hot summer, and with it, our collection timetable. We had expected many species to set seed later; instead, they ripened on double-time. Just another reminder that Mama Nature isn’t interested in sticking to our silly human schedule.

For five weeks, we worked around the clock, trying desperately to keep up. Hot spells, dry winds, and a general lack of predictability kept me on our toes, continually visiting sites, always with a paper bag in hand in case today was the day. Fortunately for me, I now had help. On July 1, my new partner, Justyna, rode into town. With twice as many hands at work, our original goal of 25 collections seemed manageable again.

Time passes quickly when you have a lot on your plate, and as quickly as it began, our main project is now wrapping up. We are now turning our attention to other things, some botany-focused, some not. I’m looking forward to gaining new experiences as the summer wraps up!

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