Sidewalk Nature: Aphid Alarms

aphid

On the very day I learn about an aphid’s “twin tailpipes (cornicles) at the rear of the insect,” an aphid appears in my kitchen and shows me twin tailpipes. See here on my arm? 6 legs, 2 antennae, and then the 2 dealies poking out the back? Cornicles. Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Aphid Alarms”

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Sidewalk Nature: Bottlebrush Buckeye

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Bottlebrush buckeye capsule

“Bottlebrush buckeye!” I yelled on the sidewalk, but not super loud, so I wouldn’t embarrass the middle-schooler with me. 

“Hmm,” said the middle-schooler. “I thought it was a ball in a sack.”

We were both right. All buckeye seeds hang in a ball in a sack.  Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Bottlebrush Buckeye”

Sidewalk Nature: Hummingbird weeds

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lyre-leaf sage (Salvia lyrata)

Lyre-leaf sage. Isn’t it a pretty name? And a pretty flower? But this is another of those “weeds” people poison and mow and pluck out of precious lawn grass. Lyre-leaf sage is native, it spreads by seed, it can make a lovely groundcover (a good native alternative to Ajuga / Bugle), and I just this minute learned it is an excellent nectar plant for hummingbirds. Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Hummingbird weeds”

Sidewalk Nature: Earth Day

Our kid is sick, I’m stuck at home, and it’s too cold and wet to sit in the yard. But, I have been able to get out for two neighborhood walks.
Here is my report for Earth Day:

Saw confirmation the Osage Orange tree we drive past every is a boy. I’m still learning the gender spectrum of tree species: some are male, some are female, some are both. Some have “perfect” flowers with male and female bits, and some trees can surprise you with twigs that morph into one or the other. Osage Orange trees are dioecious: either male or female (usually), and now I know not to expect fruit from this particular specimen. These flowers are male:

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Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera), male flowers

Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Earth Day”