Making sense of seeds: George Weigel
17 hours ago
“After several weeks of nest building and waiting, the bluebird nestbox camera now is allowing viewers to follow along with an active nest that presently contains five recently laid bluebird eggs,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “The best way to get Pennsylvanians – in fact most Americans – excited about wildlife is to show them what makes wildlife so irreplaceable and priceless.
“We decided to set-up and use this live webcast to help us educate the public about the importance of wildlife, how to make backyards friendlier to wildlife and also provide a way for folks to simply get closer to bluebirds. Last year, it was a huge hit, and we expect that the broadcasting of this year’s activities again will be well received.”
New this year is the installation of an infrared video camera, which will enable visitors to tune in after dark, too.
“More than half of landscape damage is done by a mere three pests -- lacebugs, mites and scales, and since those bugs have fairly specific targets, it's really only about a dozen plants that end up accounting for about three-quarters of the bug damage in a typical landscape.”I added a link to Bug of the Week in the Links to Other Sites section to the right.
“The best way to get Pennsylvanians – in fact most Americans – excited about wildlife is to show them what makes wildlife so irreplaceable and priceless,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “We decided to set-up and use this live webcast to help us educate the public about the importance of wildlife, how to make backyards friendlier to wildlife and also provide a way for folks to simply get closer to bluebirds. Last year, it was a huge hit, and we expect that the broadcasting of this year’s activities again will be well received.Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) also has a web cam on a nesting pair of Peregrine Falcons.
“The nestbox camera provides the public a closer look at the entire nesting process of bluebirds. I’m not sure how many people have ever seen a bluebird form a nest by plowing the materials with its wings. But nest-forming is a fascinating example of nature at work. And it’s something you’ll never see unless you’re checking out our nesting camera.”
So is there really an effect and if so, what makes daffodil sap deleterious to the other flowers in the vase? The study “Effects of Daffodil Flowers on the Water Relations and Vase Life of Roses and Tulips” by W.G. van Doorn appeared in the Journal of Horticulture Science. Dr.van Doorn found the mucilage (sap) was indeed to blame, with just one daff shortening the vase life of both the tulips and roses by almost half. But what component?
He split out the alkaloid fraction and the sugar fraction of the sap, and then added them as individual components to the vase water. He drew different conclusions as to the cause: the research indicated that the effect in roses is mainly due to the sugar and polysaccharide fraction of the mucilage stimulating bacterial growth. This clogged the rose’s vascular system resulting in bent neck. You’ve seen this before – the bud, yet to open, flops over, never to recover.
These same sugars didn’t impact the tulips negatively but the alkaloids sure did. Even touching the sap to the tulip foliage produced a yellow spot. He was not able to distinguish which of the six alkaloids detected were responsible, but at least narrowed down the cause.Oh, and the reason they are left alone by squirrels, deer, and such:
There is such a thing as “daffodil picker’s rash” which has been reported in the journal of Contact Dermatitis (Julian and Bowers, 1997). The authors attribute this rash to the “crystals of calcium oxalate in the sap, in conjunction with alkaloids, [which] act as an irritant, and also cause the characteristic sores.” Said calcium oxalate crystals are found throughout the daffodil, in the bulb, stem, sap, flowers, etc. Micrographs show that these crystals are needle-sharp, and apparently very painful. This is why deer and bunnies will not eat your daffs.I plan to be a little more careful when I pick them in the future.