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Please Follow Us At Our New Blog Ion Exchange Native Seed & Plant Nursery
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.
President’s Day Special
Get a jump start on your Spring Planting with our President’s Day Special. Contains 84 wildflower, prairie plants that will provide color throughout the seasons.
A special price for a special person.
The Package contains 7 each of the following species:
New England Aster
Sweet Black-eyed Susan
Pale Purple Coneflower
To Purchase This Package Please Visit Our Website At Native Wildflowers & Seeds From Ion Exchange, Inc.
“Sweet Joe Pye Weed, Boneset, Gravel-root, Hempweed, Jopi Root, Jopi Weed, Kidney Root, King-of-the-Meadow, Queen-of-the-Meadow, Marsh Milkweed, Motherwort, Quillwort, Skunk Weed, Stink Trumpet Weed, Quillwort and others”
Greek, from the name of the King of Pontus, Eupator and the Latin purpureum for “purple”.
Found throughout the Tallgrass Region at the edge of wet places where woodlands open into thickets and marshes. Blooms from July through September on erect stems to ten feet tall. Occasionally, the green stem is mottled with purple that shades to a deep purple at the leaf joints. When crushed or dried, the stem and leaves give off a vanilla-like odor. Flowers are tiny and grow in dome-like clusters up 8 inches across. Flowers are creamy white to pale pink or pale purple. Short petals and long stamens give them a frilly appearance
This plant is one of the great stories in Native American medicine. It is named after the east coast Native American, Joe Pye, a member of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who used the plant to cure fevers. It is still used in parts of Appalachia to treat urinary disorders. Some mothers bathed their fretful children in a tea made from Joe Pye Weed to calm them down and bring on a restful sleep. Meskwaki men would nibble the leaves of this plant to ensure success while wooing chosen tribal maidens. We cannot report on the success of this particular usage.
Edible Uses: The roots have been burnt and their ashes used as salt to flavour foods.
Medicinal Uses: Gravel root was used by the native N. American Indians as a diaphoretic to induce perspiration and break a fever. The plant was quickly adopted by the white settlers and still finds a use in modern herbalism. The whole plant, but especially the root, is astringent, diuretic, nervine and tonic. It works particularly on the genito-urinary system and the uterus. Especially valuable as a diuretic and stimulant, as well as an astringent tonic, a tea made from the roots and leaves has been used to eliminate stones from the urinary tract, to treat urinary incontinence in children, cystitis, urethritis, impotence etc. It is also said to be helpful in treating rheumatism and gout by increasing the removal of waste from the kidneys. The leaves and flowering stems are harvested in the summer before the buds open and are dried for later use. The roots are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
Other Uses: The stems have been used as straws.
The fruits yield a pink or red textile dye.
Herbal Uses: Unknown
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Question: Hi. I recently received 6 packets from you of Butterfly milkweed. Could you provide some advice on planting? I have a small flower garden ( full sun,) as well as 15 acres of various prairie plants and grasses. Began as all switchgrass but I am slowly planting more and more grasses and forbs. Thanks. Stan
Response: Stan, you may start the seeds indoors after you have moist stratified them. Place the seeds in a zip lock back mixed with moist vermiculite. Leave them in a refrigerator for 30 days. Remove and plant in open flats or small pots with sterile soil medium at a depth of 1/8th to 1/4th inch. They must receive considerable light and warmth to adequately develop. Once they have started to form the white root, they can be transplanted to your garden or field. Keep the competition down from weeds and other plants. They prefer well drained to excessively drained soils in full sun. They do well in rocky poor soils with maximum exposure to the sun and wind. If you want to do a dormant seeding, you may spread the seed now or anytime the ground is exposed. Make sure your seeds are not on frozen ground as they may wash away. Wait until the ground thaws and spread your seed but only lightly cover with a sprinkling of soil or compost no deeper than 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Nature can then freeze and thaw offering the best stratification. Once plants are mature, you must be very careful when you attempt to transplant as the roots are very massive and at least 90% of the roots should be dug with plant and immediately transplanted. You should start seeing blooms the second year and thereafter the plants will grow much stronger and have many blooms in the following years. If your plants, for some reason die or disappear the following year after planting, they are probably in a poorly adaptable site for this species.
Howard aka “Earthyman”
To Purchase Butterfly Milkweed Visit our Website at Ion Exchange, Inc.
Helping You Create Your Own Natural Beauty
1878 Old Mission Drive
Harpers Ferry, IA 52146
Many bird-feeding stations are barren of cover for birds at your feeders. You can solve this problem by providing instant cover with fully mature fall or winter-harvested stems of the White Wild Indigo. When the plants mature and fall comes, the plants will go dormant leaving their study and durable stems erect with dried leaves and stems still in tack. This makes for the perfect little bush that will give birds a secure place to land.
Just break the stems off at ground level. Get a two or three gallon container. Fill with any soil. Insert the stems into the soil for a secure upright position of the stems. You may want to put a heavy rock in the bottom of the container to keep the wind from blowing it over. Place the pots near your feeders. When the birds land in the branches of the White Wild Indigo, they can rest there and feel protected against predators.
Within minutes you will have more birds right next to your feeders feeling secure and safe. This will enable you to stand much closer to your feeders and observe birds up close.
You can plant White Wild Indigo from seed and they will mature in two to three years or you could plant them as live plants and they will mature faster. Seeds should be scarified with sand paper to thin the hard seed coating if planted in the spring and place in a plastic bag with moist sand or vermiculite. After 10 days you may plant the seed. If planted in the fall they will not need scarification. They grow to about four to five feet in height and have beautiful white flowers up and down the sturdy stems in early to mid-summer. As they mature, they will develop black seedpods, which are very attractive. They are native from Canada to Southern Texas and Florida and throughout the central region of the U.S. They will thrive in most soils.
Howard Bright, aka Earthyman
To Purchase White Wild Indigo Visit Our Website At Ion Exchange, Inc. Native Wildflowers & Prairie Plants
Researchers assessing benefits of converting grasses to biofuel
WASHBURN — University of Northern Iowa professor Mark Myers considered it a “theoretical exercise” when he assigned his wildlife ecology and management students to develop a habitat management plan for a local site.
But, said Myers, Jarrett Pfrimmer, 25, of North Liberty, “took the assignment to heart,” and a year later, prairie grass was growing on 20 acres of former cropland along a Cedar River tributary.
“I did not think he could make it happen in that short a time,” said Myers, who is working with Pfrimmer on another major project with the potential to restore natural functions of the Cedar River watershed — research to determine the feasibility of native prairie as a biofuel.
Pfrimmer, who will complete work on his master’s degree next month, said he worked with the Black Hawk County Soil and Water Conservation District to line up cost-share funding for the stream buffer project.
The Boone native said he also took advantage of expertise at UNI’s Tallgrass Prairie Center to plan and execute the 120-foot wide buffer strips on both sides of Dry Run Creek, which flows past the UNI campus en route to the Cedar River.
Seeded a year ago, the native vegetation will become well established next year, greatly reducing erosion from the former farm fields, improving the quality of the water flowing into the Cedar and providing habitat for songbirds, pheasants and other wildlife.
The absorbent grass also will play a small role in reducing the crest of future Cedar River floods.
“Every little bit helps” when it comes to watersheds’ ability to store and slowly release floodwaters, said State Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, a leader in legislative efforts to improve watershed management.
Small-scale improvements like the two Black Hawk County projects can help create a mindset and policies “that will help buy down flood peaks for those of us downstream,” Hogg said.
In addition to the Cedar Falls stream buffer project, Pfrimmer has worked with Myers and others to assess the benefits of converting cropland into a prairie biomass production site at the 593-acre Cedar River Natural Resource Area about 10 miles south of Waterloo.
On flood plain land that had formerly been leased for row crop production, the researchers established 48 test plots, each seeded with one of four types of native vegetation ranging from switch grass alone to a mix of 32 species of grasses, legumes, forbs and sedges.
Those plantings were equally distributed among three distinct soil types, enabling the researchers to control all key factors contributing to the productivity of native grass not only as a source of energy but also as habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
The research got off to a rocky start with the historic Cedar River flood of 2008 wiping out the initial seeding. The plots were reseeded in 2009, burned in 2011 and finally harvested in April, compressed into 550-pound rectangular bales, with an average yield of 4 tons per acre.
About 150 of those bales were later pelletized for an upcoming test burn by Cedar Falls Utilities. “We’re looking to find out how well it burns for energy generation,” said Daryl Smith of the UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center, a partner in the research.
Researchers have suggested that cultivation of low-input, high-diversity grassland biomass could have significant energy and environmental advantages over corn-based ethanol, according to Myers.
While it remains to be seen whether the energy yield would justify conversion of marginal farmland to production of native vegetation for use as an energy source, biofuel production with diverse mixtures of native prairie vegetation “contributes to the maintenance of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes,” the researchers concluded.
Grassland birds and butterflies quickly found and colonized the test plots, according to Myers.
Pfrimmer, who has led bird data collection efforts, will soon complete his master’s thesis on “Bird Use of Heterogenous Native Prairie Biofuel Production Plots.”
In each of the past two years, he has found at least 100 delicate nests hidden among the grass stems by species such as the sedge wren, dickcissel, grasshopper sparrow and lark sparrow. Pheasants and turkeys also have moved into the grass, he said.
“We are starting to see different bird communities established in the plots in accordance with their preferences for the vegetation mix and even the soil types,” Pfrimmer said.
Article taken From The Gazette Newspaper
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When and how to do a dormant seeding is a question that is often asked when sowing native seeds. By following these simple guidelines, you can be successful using a dormant seeding.
Make sure your site is prepared and there is no sign of any growing live vegetation present. An exception would be if you were planning on supplementing an existing planting to add more diversity. After the ground temperature drops below 50 degrees, you can start sowing your seed usually in the Midwest this occurs at the end of October or the first of November. Even if you have 2 inches of snowfall, the seed can be broadcast over the snow. Any time in late fall or even winter, seeds can be broadcast.
You can check your soil temperature in your state by googling for soil temperatures for instance in Iowa, you may go to: http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/NPKnowledge/soiltemphistory.html
If you have a small area, one to two acres or less, broadcast your seed by hand. In this instance the seed can be mixed with 10 to 20 parts of wet sand to 1 part seed by volume. After you have thoroughly mixed your seed with the wet sand, divide it into 2 to 4 lots and go over the entire area with each lot. The seed can then be broadcast by hand using an ice cream container under one arm and reaching in with the other hand to grab a handful of this seed matrix. Cast it in a swinging motion just as you would feed chickens. With the next lot of seed, walk in a different direction so as to get a more even distribution of the seed. This is repeated with each lot and going a different direction each time.
Since this is a dormant seeding, we are depending upon Mother Nature to achieve good seed to soil contact which is the most important element in any kind of seeding. Mother Nature will then rain, snow, freeze and thaw. This is just what we want as it will ensure the proper stratification of the seed to break the dormancy code and allow better germination in the spring. Stratification is a process whereby we can either by Mother Nature or human treatment break the dormancy of seeds to enable germination.
Go to Native Wildflowers & Seeds Website for a variety of quality native seeds and seed mixes. Ion Exchange, Inc. is a Native Plant and Seed Nursery for over 25 years. They grow and market native wildflowers, grasses, sedges and rushes.
Here in SE MN I noticed the same lack of Monarchs in mid-summer. We also had robust milkweeds with very few larvae. I heard from (entomologically oriented) folks in NE MN that in June they saw far more Monarchs than usual, but with their relatively low population of milkweeds the Monarch seemed to overload the larval food plant. Then in August the flight of Monarchs here in SE MN was the lowest I have every seen.
On Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 8:21 PM, Bruce And Georgeann <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I have been following this topic and want to ask about another angle of the past summer’s Monarch slump -at least it was in Nw Iowa.
The Monarch Butterflies, were a real concern here this year. We had quite good numbers showing up in early spring – in fact the dates were record early arrivals for us. And I witnessed egg laying in the pasture…even photographed eggs as they were so obvious. But the thing that really puzzled and concerned me was we had no egg hatches and no caterpillars all summer! I have never, in my life, “Not” seen a Caterpillar all spring, summer or fall!!!???!!! Why after finding eggs, I could later not find larva?
Then the summer was “scant” as far as Monarchs were concerned. Nearly none, just a handful all summer. This should not have been the case here, we had the largest crop of Asclepias (milkweeds) that I’ve ever seen here…we had A. tuberosa(Butterfly Milkweed) in record numbers…they were stunning all over the county…even the area farmers were asking me what that “orange plant” is showing up everywhere! We had way more A. syriaca (Common Milkweed) than I care to see here – the neighborhood is coated with seed parachutes from our pasture…not a real “good neighbor” relations maker with the local farmers. We also had a good share (but down slightly from past years) of A. verticillata (Whorled Milkweed) and a small compliment of A. incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) in the ditches out front.
I witnessed a lone Monarch laying eggs on some Common Milkweed outside the studio windows in late August and tried keeping an eye on them – they were gone after just 3 days!? I don’t know of “egg” eaters in the insect world but maybe something is going on? I know of parasitic wasps in caterpillars – but saw NO CATERPILLARS all summer (as I said before). I haven’t the foggiest idea what is going on?
This fall we had virtually no Monarch roosts here – we usually have 150-500 individuals roost here each fall. 13 was our high number in a roost this fall…”6″ was the other high day…”high” used very sarcastically…
Some folks following this have raised issue with the drought hurting the mid section of the continent’s Monarch survival…I’m sure that has some bearing. They also have raised issue with GMO crops. But it does nothing to explain a local phenomenon like we’ve been experiencing here…eggs laid but no hatching, no larva…with an abundance of food source for larva and adult stages. We do not spray insecticides here on the acreage, but I have no knowledge of GMO crops or spraying issues in the surrounding area, so I can’t speak to that.
Am I imagining things or is there anyone else raising these kinds of observations or concerns? …Bruce Morrison, SE O’Brien County
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