Category Archives: Insects

Ratibida Pinnata : Yellow Coneflower

Product Description:
“Drooping Coneflower, Gray Coneflower, Prairie Coneflower (also applied to R. columnifera), Weary Susan, Grayheaded Coneflower”

Origin of the name Ratibida is not known. Pinnata comes from the Latin word meaning “featherlike

Sun Exposer: Prairie, Savanna
Soil Moisture: Mesic, Dry Mesic
Bloom Time: Summer, Fall (July, August, September)
Bloom Color: Yellow
Max Height: 5 Feet
Wetland Code: UPL
Germ Code: C(30)
Seeds Per Ounce: 30,000

Found throughout the Tallgrass Prairie region and extensively elsewhere. Prefers dry areas, roadsides, along old railroad right-of-ways. Root system is a very stout, sturdy rhizome. One or several yellow flowers may top a single stem. Grows tall and erect to about 4 feet. Grows easily from seed and is often found as a sturdy and plentiful survivor on former prairies where nearly all of the original plants have disappeared.

Native Americans made a refreshing tea from the cones and leaves of yellow coneflower. The Meskwaki used the root as an ingredient to cure toothaches.

Edible Uses: Unknown

Medicinal Usse: Unknown

Herbal Uses: Unknown

To Purchase This Native Wildflower Click on Ion Exchange, Inc., Link Below

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The Great Sunflower Project Article On The BUZZ: Join Us for the Great Bee Count on Saturday, August 11, 2012

The BUZZ: Join Us for the Great Bee Count on Saturday, August 11!

Greetings citizen scientists! Our poll results are in, and, at last count, some 46% of you have sunflowers up and blooming. About one-third (34%) are still waiting for blooms (or encountered an gardening mishap), and another 21% didn’t plant sunflowers this year.

Those of you lucky enough to have sunflowers in bloom are diligently sending in your bee observations. Congratulations to all those who have already had the opportunity to observe, collect and report their data. Well done! Without your thoughtful observations, we would not have the wealth of information that we have to date.

To see results from the project using data reported up to 2012, have a look here: http://www.greatsunflower.org/results#map – you can zoom in on your area, see averages by type of garden and trends by year. Great stuff, and all because of your participation!

It’s important that you keep sending in data, so please join us and thousands of others across the country in The Great Bee Count on Saturday, August 11th.

Even if you do not have blooms on your sunflowers by August 11th, you can still be enjoy, learn and be part of the project by observing bees on other plants that you may have in bloom. Cosmos, tickseed, bee balm and echinacea, are all on our list, so you can collect data on these if your sunflowers are not blooming yet. And, it’s okay if your sunflower hasn’t bloomed yet. They will in time so you can make your 15 minute observation when they do open up.

And, this year, in support of the Great Bee Count, YourGardenShow.com will present a special online live broadcast “Double Feature” on August 11th, from 10am – noon EST (7am to 9am PST). First hour: a special “Ask Ian” Q&A show about pollination and pollinators followed by an hour of moderated interviews with bee experts talking about our pollinator friends. Join us for this one day event!: http://www.yourgardenshow.com/ask-ian

As you can see from our map, bees are declining in certain areas, and there are some areas where we have no data. Could that be your garden? The more we know, the more action will be able to be taken to preserve and enhance pollinator habitat.

Join us on August 11th!

Freddy B

To Purchase Pollinator Seed Mix Click on Ion Exchange, Inc. Link Below

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Pollinator Week Is June 18 – 24 2012 Ion Exchange, Inc. Purchase Your Pollinator Seed Mix Now

Pollinator Week is June 18th to 24th!
Plant a garden that butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees will love as much as you!

http://ionxchange.com/products/POLLINATOR-MIX.html

Product Description

POLLINATOR SEED MIX

 

SPECIES PLS/LB

Big Bluestem 6.53
Golden Alexanders 0.25
Blue Vervain 0.15
Alumroot 0.02
Black-eyed Susan 0.44
Common Mt. Mint 0.01
Common Spiderwort 0.17
Foxglove Beardtongue 0.02
Ironweed 0.12
Maryland Senna 0.80
Fragrant Coneflower 0.10
Great Bue Lobelia 0.01
Purple Prairie Clover 0.15
Hoary Vervain 0.10
Swamp Milkweed 0.29
9.16

Pollination by Native Bees

According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, there are over 4000 species of native bees in the U.S. alone. Bees are the most predominant pollinators of flowering plants in nature, thus contributing a vital service to the ecosystem. Bees are referred to as “keystone organisms” because of this important role.

Some native bees have names that reflect how they build nests—leafcutter bees, mason bees, miner bees, carpenter bees, digger bees, etc.  Others are named for their behavior, which include bumble bees, sweat bees, and cuckoo bees. In addition, some bees are named for the types of plants they pollinate such as squash, sunflower and blueberry bees.

When honey bees are in short supply, the pollination needs of many crops can be filled by native bees. Research reflects that native bees can be major pollinators of agricultural crops and sometimes do the job more efficiently. For instance, the blue orchard bee is a primary pollinator of cultivated apples. Another important crop pollinator is the western bumble bee, which has been used to pollinate cranberries, avocadoes, and blueberries. Native squash bees are major pollinators of cultivated squashes. Some native bees are even commercially managed like honey bees to provide pollination services.   Great news for Iowa native plants and pollinators!

 

CRP Wildlife Food Plots

CRP wildlife food plot options now allow a food plot consisting of all native grasses and forbs.  Unlike traditional grain food plots, now additional pollen and nectar will be available.  Futhermore, a native food plot will not be disked and replanted every year or every other year like the alternative grain food plots. Thus, bees utilizing ground burrows will benefit!

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Planting Native Wildflowers Spring Bloomers Acorus calamus Sweet Flag

Acorus calamus Sweet Flag

Sun Exposure Prairie
Soil Moisture Wet, Wet Mesic
Bloom Time Spring, Early Summer
May, June July
Bloom Color Green
Height 2 feet
Wetland Code OBL
Germ Code C(60)
Seeds Per Packet 300
Seeds Per Ounce 6,600

 

Native Americans chewed the root or made a tea from the dried root for treating gas, stomachaches, indigestion, heartburn, fevers, colds, and coughs; anti-spasmodic, anti-conversant,  central nervous system depressant; in India it has been used for many years as an aphrodisiac. They also chewed the root to stave off thirst and as a stimulant on long journeys.

German studies showed the controlled dosages of the root helped lower serum cholesterol levels in rabbits.

In Appalachia, freshly cut leaves are still used as an insecticide.

The inner portions of the tender young shoots make a very tasty Spring salad. The Pennsylvania Dutch used the root to flavor pickles and the powdered root has been used to make cachets and scent perfumes.

 

Edible Uses:
The rhizome is candied and made into a sweetmeat. It can be peeled and washed to remove the bitterness and then eaten raw like a fruit. It makes a palatable vegetable when roasted and can also be used as a flavouring. Rich in starch, the root contains about 1% of an essential oil that is used as a food flavouring. The root also contains a bitter glycoside. Some caution is advised, see the notes on toxicity.

The dried and powdered rhizome has a spicy flavour and is used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

The young and tender inflorescence is often eaten by children for its sweetness. Young leaves – cooked. The fresh leaves contain 0.078% oxalic acid. The leaves can be used to flavour custards in the same way as vanilla pods.

The inner portion of young stems is eaten raw. It makes a very palatable salad.

Medicinal Uses:
Sweet flag has a very long history of medicinal use in many herbal traditions. It is widely employed in modern herbal medicine as an aromatic stimulant and mild tonic. In Ayurveda it is highly valued as a rejuvenator for the brain and nervous system and as a remedy for digestive disorders. However, some care should be taken in its use since some forms of the plant might be carcinogenic – see the notes on toxicity for more information.

The root is anodyne, aphrodisiac, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hallucinogenic, hypotensive, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, mildly tonic and vermifuge. It is used internally in the treatment of digestive complaints, bronchitis, sinusitis etc. It is said to have wonderfully tonic powers of stimulating and normalizing the appetite. In small doses it reduces stomach acidity whilst larger doses increase stomach secretions and it is, therefore, recommended in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. However if the dose is too large it will cause nausea and vomiting.

Sweet flag is also used externally to treat skin eruptions, rheumatic pains and neuralgia. An infusion of the root can bring about an abortion whilst chewing the root alleviates toothache. It is a folk remedy for arthritis, cancer, convulsions, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, epilepsy etc. Chewing the root is said to kill the taste for tobacco.

Roots 2 – 3 years old are used since older roots tend to become tough and hollow. They are harvested in late autumn or early spring and are dried for later use. The dry root loses 70% of its weight, but has an improved smell and taste. It does, however, deteriorate if stored for too long.

Caution is advised on the use of this root, especially in the form of the distilled essential oil, since large doses can cause mild hallucinations. See also the notes above on toxicity.

A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. It is used in the treatment of flatulence, dyspepsia, anorexia and disorders of the gall bladder.

Warning! – Some species are thought to contain the carcinogen beta-asarone. Vapors from the roots do repel some insects. The root, when candied, was a long-time pioneer confection. It was boiled all day long, cut into small pieces, and then boiled again for a few more minutes in thick maple syrup. This “candy” was used most often used to aid digestion, but also used to serve as a tonic and physic.

Sweet Flag