Category Archives: Wildflowers and Native Grasses

Native Seed Cleaning Demonstration at Ion Exchange, Inc. “Native Seed & Plant Nursery”

Seed Cleaning is in full swing at Ion Exchange, Inc., “Native Seed & Plant Nursery

Fanning Mills are a Critical Element In Cleaning Native Seeds

There are many steps in the process of cleaning native seeds. Each step needs to be understood if you are interested in cleaning your own seed or if you are just curious.

The fanning mill is an old invention but most farmers owned fanning mills to clean their clover seed and oats. However, they are also very effective in eliminating chaff and unwanted weed seeds from native seeds. Usually there are two screens in the mill on a shaker. In older days they were hand cranked to operate but now we have electricity. In the beginning, only one screen was used at a time and held with both hands while shaking back and forth. If the holes were the correct size, the seed would fall through and leave the chaff on top of the screen. We started cleaning our seed this way until we were able to purchase an old 2B Clipper Fanning Mill.

seed1Clipper 2B Fanning Mill

Hand Operated Fanning Mill

seed2

Hand Screens

seed3

 

Take a look at a short video of one of our fanning mills.  

For All Your Native Wildflowers & Seeds Visit Our Website at Native Wildflowers & Seeds from Ion Exchange, Inc.

 

 

Featured Plant of the Week Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema Triphyllum)

Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema Triphyllum) – Very distinctive spathe (hooded floral leaf) being green or purple brown and often striped, it folds over and shelters the spadix. The flowers are very tiny and actually appear at the base of the spadix. The fruit of this species is every bit as striking as the “flower”; it is a cluster of scarlet berries visible above the woodland floor from a long way off. Jack-in-the-pulpits have both male and female parts, but if the plant is young or weak, only the male parts will be fertile. The female parts are fertile only on older, stronger plants.

arisaema_triphyllum_thmb_3__81080__79410.1336784693.1280.1280

The plant resembles a minister in an old fashioned pulpit. Reaches 1 to 3 feet and prefers richly-soiled woods and swamps; found throughout the entire central US and into the east to the Appalachians. It is becoming increasingly rare in some areas. Deer Resistent.

Araceae Family – “Jack-in-the-pulpit, Northern Jack-in-the-pulpit, Small Jack-in-the-pulpit, Swamp Jack-in-the-pulpit, Woodland Jack-in-the-pulpit, Indian Turnip, Green Dragon, Brown Dragon, Dragon Root, Dragonroot, Dragon Plant, Dragon Turnip, March Turnip, Meadow Turnip, Indian Turnip, Wild Turnip, Swamp Turnip, Pepper Turnip, Wild pepper, Starch Plant, Starchwort, Memory Root, American Arum, Thrice-leaved Arum, Devil’s Ear, Priest’s Pintle, Wake-robin, Bog Onion, Cuckoo Plant, Lords and Ladies”.

Arisaema from the Greek aris, a kind of arum and haema, meaning “blood”. Triphyllum is Latin meaning “three leaves”.

Another species that provided a multitude of uses to Native Americans and early settlers, Arisaema triphyllum is probably best remembered as a youthful dare. My first Boy Scout camping trip was highlighted by a challenge to taste the root juice and see if it was sweet or sour. It was, flat out, the hottest, stinging sensation my mouth has ever experienced. In fact, to this day, I still await my revenge on the perpetrator of this “hazing”. (The sensation was caused by the high concentration of calcium oxalate present in the root.)

Some Native Americans used this species to treat sore eyes, others to treat headache with an external application of the powdered root to the temples. It was also used broadly to treat snakebite, ringworm, stomach gas, rheumatism, asthma and many other disorders.

One central Iowa tribe (the Meskwaki) even used it in a form of “guerilla” warfare. Meat would be cooked with the root of Jack-in-the-pulpit, then left along a trail in hopes that their enemies would partake of it. If they did, the high concentration of calcium oxalate would sicken them, with death occasionally resulting.

Edible Uses:
Tuber – it must be thoroughly dried or cooked before being eaten. The roots can be cut into very thin slices and allowed to dry for several months, after which they are eaten like potato chips, crumbled to make a cereal or ground into a cocoa-flavoured powder for making biscuits, cakes etc. They can also be pounded into a powder, this is thern left to dry for several weeks when it becomes safe to use. The root is up to 5cm long and 2cm wide. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other Uses:
“A starch obtained from the roots is used as a stiffener for clothes. It is very harsh to the hands, causing blisters and swellings. The seeds have been used in rattles.”

To Purchase This Native Wildflower Visit Us At
Native Wildflowers & Seeds from
Ion Exchange, Inc.
“helping you create your own natural beauty”
Hbright@IonXchange.com

Featured Plant of the Week: OENOTHERA PILOSELLA | Prairie Sundrops

OENOTHERA PILOSELLA | Prairie Sundrops

oenothera_pilosella__83191__36063.1336784699.1280.1280

Product Description: Prairie Sundrops are bushy plants that have flower clusters or hairy buds atop hairy stems. Flowers are bright yellow, 2″ wide and have four large petals, large showy stamens, and fine white or transparent lines that radiate outward from the center of the flower.

Sun Exposure: Prairie, Savanna; Soil Moisture: Wet Mesic, Dry Mesic; Bloom Time: Summer, Fall; Bloom Color: Yellow; Max Height: 2 Feet.

To Purchase OENOTHERA PILOSELLA | Prairie Sundrops Please Visit Our Website At Native Wildflowers & Seeds from Ion Exchange, Inc.

Featured Plant of the Week SILENE REGIA | Royal Catchfly

SILENE REGIA | Royal Catchfly

Silene

Royal catchfly can reach 4 feet tall and with brilliant scarlet flowers blooming from June to September it can be spotted from a long way off. Stems are usually unbranched below the flowers and feels hairy and slightly clammy to the touch. Becoming less frequent but locally abundant in some mesic prairies and oak savannas. Very scattered in the southern ranges of the Tallgrass prairie region.

Sun Exposure: Prairie, Savanna
Soil Moisture: Mesic, Dry Mesic
Bloom Time: Summer (July, August)
Bloom Color: Red
Max Height: 4 Feet
Wetland Code: UPL
Germ Code: C(60)
Seeds Per Ounce: 23,000

To Purchase This Native Wildflower Please Visit Our Website At Native Wildflowers & Seeds from Ion Exchange, Inc.

 

Featured Plant of the Week ANEMONE PATENS | Pasque Flower

ANEMONE PATENS | Pasque Flower

anemone_patens__21358__72410.1336784693.1280.1280

Pasque Flower (Anemone patens) – Found in all prairie regions from the Arctic Circle to the Southern United States. It is the earliest of all prairie flowers blooming in March and April. Grows from 2 inches to 16 inches and sports a single blue, purple or white flower on a long, thin stem. Pasque flowers do not have true petals; instead it is the sepals that give the flower color.

Ranunculaceae Family – From the Greek term anemone, meaning “wind” which probably refers to seed distribution or perhaps because the delicate stems and leaves sometimes appear to tremble in the wind and patens, meaning “spreading”.

Medicinal Uses:
Pasque Flower was one of the native prairie species that was included on the official United States pharmacopoeia catalog from 1882 to 1918 because of its diuretic, expectorant and menstrual-inducing qualities. Native Americans used this species for treating the pain of rheumatism and other painful conditions. It was used as a diaphoretic, a diuretic and as a salve or wash to treat boils, burns and sore eyes. Healing of wounds was often accelerated using the entire plant, dried and ground, applied to the wound. Great caution was used when using this species as a medicine because it contains alkaloids that can cause depression, nervousness and intestinal distress

WARNING:
It should be noted that Pasque flower is poisonous. It is extremely irritating both internally and externally and use of this plant should be avoided.

To Purchase This Spring Blooming Plant Please Visit Our Website at Native Wildflowers & Seeds from Ion Exchange, Inc.

 

Restoring the Landscape with Native Plants Article Grass-carrying Wasps ~ Isodontia spp.

Bee1

Grass-carrying wasps are a flower-visiting solitary wasp, common in late summer and early fall. Because they are solitary-nesting, and not colonial like yellowjackets or hornets, they do not sting humans to defend their nests. It’s an important distinction to make with wasps in our landscapes, so many are solitary and not aggressive.

 

 

 

Bee2They perform important ecosystem services, pollinating the plants in our landscape, and preying on foliage eating insects, crickets and katydids in particular.

Females look for prey, stinging them several times to paralyze and immobilize them. They carry their prey back to their nests, which are preexisting cavities such as hollow stems or holes bored in wood.

 

Bee3 The prey are stocked for their developing larvae to feed upon. Using nearby grasses, nests are divided into sections with pieces of grass, they also close the end of nest with grass.

Bee4If you erect a mason bee nest board (board with nesting holes drilled in it), grass-carrying wasps will sometimes build nests in the cavities. Look for pieces of grass sticking out the ends of the board holes or plant stems.

I have several different variations of stem nests hung in the yard for solitary bees (and wasps), this one in particular has been utilized almost exclusively by grass-carrying wasps. Cup plant and pale Indian plantain stems work extremely well, both are hollow.

Bee5Here’s a cross-section of one of those stems with the wasp larvae and stocked prey. In my yard, the grass-carrying wasps like to use little blue stem to seal off the cavities.

Bee6Look for grass-carrying wasps in late summer. In my yard, they like to visit stiff goldenrod, common boneset and pale Indian plantain flowers for nectar.

 

 

 

 

 

Article Posted From Restoring The Landscape Website

If You Are Interested In Purchasing Our Pollinator Seed Mix Please Visit Us At Our Website Native Wildflowers & Seeds From Ion Exchange, Inc.

 

 

Featured Plant of the Week AMORPHA FRUTICOSA | False Indigo

AMORPHA FRUTICOSA | False Indigo

amorpha_fruticosa_01__94882__23295.1336784693.1280.1280

Product Description
False Indigo (Amorpha Fruiticosa) is common in moist prairie thickets and along streams and rivers in prairies throughout the Tallgrass Region. Not as common east of Illinois. Large, bushy shrubs can reach 10 feet, generally 5 to 6 feet. Blooms from late spring to midsummer. Also known as Desert False Indigo, Indigobush, and Indigo Bush.

Amorpha from the Greek amorphos meaning “without shape” which refers to the flower having only one petal. Legume.

Plant Family: Fabaceae

Sun Exposure Savanna, Prairie
Soil Moisture Mesic, Wet Mesic, Dry Mesic
Bloom Time Late Spring, Summer
June, July, August
Bloom Color Purple
Max. Height 10 Feet
Wetland Code FACW+
Germ Code C(10), I
Seeds Per Packet 100
Seeds Per Ounce 3,700

Edible Uses: The crushed fruit is used as a condiment.

Medicinal Uses: No known medicinal uses reported.

To Purchase This Spring Blooming Wildflower Visit Us At Our Website Native Wildflowers & Seeds from Ion Exchange, Inc.