Welcome to the Web Site of the Blue Ridge Wildflower Society
Based in Roanoke, VA
Chestnut Blight Spreading
The United States Department of Agriculture warns owners of chestnut timber to consider salvaging their trees immediately for use as poles or in manufacturing tannic acid. There is a renewed spread of chestnut blight, a fungus growth which is spreading rapidly across the southern United States. By mid-summer, 2004, all but 14 of the chestnut producing counties of Virginia have had at least 80% or more of their trees infected or killed. Several other states have experienced similar destruction according to the Maryland Native Plant Society.
A Glimmer of Hope
Mike Sawyer wrote, in the Bulletin, of the memories which were lost when the Appalachian chestnut forests were lost.
The American Chestnut Foundation has just confirmed the existence of an American chestnut, Castanea dentata, with a circumference of 36", in Kentucky. To their knowledge this is the largest specimen east of the Mississippi. Washington state has the two largest known specimens, with circumferences of 75 and 79 inches.
It seems almost impossible that we will ever again see forests filled with even tiny saplings of these magnificent trees. We know few chestnut saplings live to become young adults, unfortunately. The existence of every mature tree, however, does give us cause to rejoice. It also gives us cause to be even more alert for we are the guardians of our world.
WILDFLOWER CONSERVATION GUIDELINES
1. Let all your acts reflect your respect for wild plants (including herbs, shrubs, and trees) as integral parts of natural landscapes. Remember that every time you pick a flower or disturb a patch of wildflowers, your action affects the natural world, and that the cumulative effect of the actions of many people can be particularly harmful.
2. When photographing wildflowers or inspecting them closely, take care not to disturb the surrounding vegetation. Trampling can damage nearby seedlings or roots.
3. Report unlawful collection of plants to proper authorities and, when necessary, remind others that collecting plants or disturbing natural areas is illegal in parks or other public places.
4. Do not collect native plants or plant parts from the wild except as part of rescue operations sponsored by responsible groups.
5. Before obtaining wildflower species for your home landscape, learn enough about their cultural requirements to be sure you can provide a suitable habitat.
6. If you collect seeds from the wild, collect a few seeds from each of many plants and only from common species that are locally abundant. Collect only the seeds or fruits without harming the rest of the plant, and always leave sufficient seed numbers for the plant population to reseed itself.
7. Buy wildflower plants only from organizations or individuals that propagate their own plants or that purchase from those who propagate them. Ask the seller about the origin of the plants. If the seller is unable to tell you a plant's origin, don't purchase it. Lists of nurseries that state they sell only nursery-propagated plants are offered by such organizations as the New England Wild Flower Society.
8. Buy wildflower seeds only from companies that collect responsibly. Lists of responsible seed suppliers are available from such organizations as the New England Wild Flower Society.
9. Encourage the use of native and naturalized Virginia plants and seed in home and public landscapes. Avoid species from other areas that might become invasive and crowd out Virginia's more desirable species.
10. If you pick wildflowers, dried seed stalks, or greens for home decoration, use only common species that are abundant at the site. Leave enough flowers or seeds to allow the plant population to reseed itself. Avoid picking herbaceous perennials such as lady slippers, jack-in-the-pulpits, or gentians that, like daffodils, need to retain their vegetative parts to store energy for next year's development. Avoid cutting slow growing plants, such as running cedar or partridgeberry for Christmas wreaths or other decorations.
11. If you learn that an area is scheduled for development, notify the VNPS, so that a local chapter has an opportunity to discuss with the developer compatible development alternatives or to conduct a rescue operation.
12. Since it is important to protect information about the location of rare species, if you discover a new site for a plant species that you know is rare, report it to responsible conservation officials as soon as possible and before disclosing it to anyone else. The VNPS or chapter botany chair can help you get in touch with the proper officials.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE INDIVIDUALS?
Piratebush......…….... Buckleya distichophylla
Dewdrop ...........………........ Dalibarda repens
Gray's Lily .......………................ Lilium Grayi
Va. Round-leaved Birch .……....... Betula uber
Appalachian Bugbane ...... Cimicifuga rubifolia
Grape Leatherflower ...…... Clematis uiticaulis
Roan Rattlesnake-root ... Prenanthes roanensis
Carolina Saxifrage......... Saxifraga caroliniana
Peter's Mountain Mallow........... Iliamna Corei
Ginseng ...........………... Panax quinquefolium
Golden Seal ......…........ Hydrastis Canadensis
Swamp Pink .....……….......... Helonias bullata
and more ...
THEY EXIST TODAY ONLY BECAUSE OF
THE EFFORTS OF CONSERVATIONISTS.
WE DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!