Twigs and Branches

A web of present and past events

These short articles are written to highlight connections of the plants, history and lore of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden with different time frames or outside connections. A web of intersections.

Willow pine cone gallJanuary 14, 2022: Do pine cones grow on willows?

NO. You have been deceived by the snug tiny house of the gall gnat midge larva who is waiting out the winter in comfort. For a look at the the inside of the house, the occupant and how it survives the winter --
Read on.

January 7, 2022: Social Distancing - it's not so new, and bees adopt it also!

Honey bee

When the plague returned to Alghero Sardinia in 1582, the Protomedius (area health official) Quinto Tiberio Angelerio quarantined the city and set rules that forbade citizens from leaving their houses, except that one person, familiar with the rules, could leave a house to do the shopping; banned public meetings and entertainments; set procedures for disinfecting; forbad shaking hands; and required people who did go out to carry a six foot cane, used to keep that distance from one another.(1)

Does any of this sound familiar?

Social distancing in bees.

beehive with mite
Hive brood cells with a mite on one cell. Photo Igor Chus.

A recent study determined that honeybees know how to avoid each other during a plague - the plague for bees being the hive parasite Varroa destructor, the mite causing hive (or colony) collapse. To reproduce the mites must migrate to the nursery cells of the hive, which are found in the center, to lay their eggs. In normal hives arriving forager bees do their waggle dance, announcing a food source, within many parts of the hive and grooming by bees to remove debris and parasites from each other (called “allogrooming”) takes place throughout. But in infected hives, the waggle dance is mostly restricted to the entrance of the hive so that infected foragers do not penetrate to the center and more grooming is concentrated in the center to protect the nursery cells and remove mites. (2)

For illustrations of this hive activity use this pdf link. For an abstract of the study use this pdf link.

(1) Published later as Ectypa Pestilentis Status Algheriae Sardiniae (1588), by the Protomedicus Quinto Tiberio Angelerio (1532–1617). Honeybee photo - University of Minnesota.
(2) “Honey bees increase social distancing when facing the ectoparasite Varroa destructor,” by Michelina Pusceddu, Alessandro Cini, Simona Alberti, Emanuele Salaris, Panagiotis Theodorou, Ignazio Floris, Alberto Satta Published in Evolutionary Biology 2021

Back to the top.

Friends News.

MPRB News:
The newly elected Commissioners of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) have now taken office. We are pleased to have back in office Commissioners Meg Forney and Stephanie Musich, who are both strong supporters of the Friends, the Wildflower Garden and the work of the Friends Invasive Plant Action Group (FIPAG). Commissioner Forney has also taken the role of President if the Board.

Previous postings

December 15, 2021: Our Wild Poinsettia - Not as showy but a native species. Did Joel Roberts Poinsett ever conceive of the popularity of the plant now bearing his name?

December 10, 2021: Our Native Holly - Birds love the berries: but leave the fruit to the birds - in humans it is a great purgative.

November 12, 2021: A possible new Oak species for Minnesota?
During the next 50 years the habitat zone of our Oaks will move northward. Find out what that means for Minnesota species and which new species may move in.

October 17, 2021: Virginia Creeper or Grape Woodbine - Can you tell the difference?:

October 4, 2021: The Autumn Grapplers: Five plants that represent a fair example of the how seeds hitch a ride on humans and animals.

September 5, 2021: Surviving the drought: The many uses of Pennsylvania Sedge.

August 22, 2021: Minnesota connections to naturalist Joseph Banks.

August 13, 2021: Cattail Invasion
We have three species of cattail in our marshes in Minnesota, one native and the other two species are imports which have been running amok for years now. How to tell them apart.

July 23, 2021: Eloise and Monet
Both Eloise Butler and Claude Monet were contemporaries; both wanted a plant garden and a water garden; both achieved what they wanted and both accommodated what many would call a weed. Details.

July 5, 2021: It would not grow for her!
Fireweed, or Great Willow Herb (Chamerion angustifolium), was an elusive plant for Eloise Butler - she told her friend Gertrude Cram that nothing would ever induce it to grow for her.

June 11, 2021: It’s under your foot, found around the world, and do you see it?
A look at Black Medick, a Pea Family legume and how to identify it.

May 22, 2021: Memories of Eloise Butler could have been much different:
What events of 1911 put Eloise in charge of the Wildflower Garden and why it might not have happened.

May 9, 2021: A cautionary word to horses about Box Elder:
Why the seeds are deadly to horses.

April 17, 2021: Yellow Trillium now in bud in the Garden.
While it is not native to Minnesota, it is still in the Garden. How did it get there?

April 6, 2021: Such a Variety
Three plants introduced by Eloise Butler to her Wild Flower Garden 100 years ago in 1921 have a story to tell.

March 21, 2021: Devil's Club:
One hundred years ago Eloise Butler brought into her wild flower garden in Glenwood Park several obscure plants. One has a lengthly history. It is called “Devil’s Club” and from the Latin name of “Oplopanax horridus” you may gather it is somewhat formidable.

March 4, 2021: 75 years ago.
One of the rarest spring ephemeral plants in the Wildflower Garden is the Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lily (Erythronium propullans). Read more about it.

Feb. 15, 2021: A bunch of berries.
All six of the Minnesota native Dogwoods were once in the Wildflower Garden but two are missing - lost and probably not replaceable. One is the Round-leaf Dogwood, Cornus rugosa and the other is the Bunchberry, C. canadensis. Bunchberry. More about them.

Jan. 31, 2021: Superstition, the Maltese Cross and White Ash all come together. -
Never mind the many useful qualities of our native White Ash tree, we turn to the superstitious quality well known in pioneer times.

Jan. 18, 2021: Dandelions to the rescue -
Herbal and medicinal uses and treatments you may have never heard of.

Back to the top.

All Selections published July - September, 2021.

Selections published January - June, 2021.

Selections published in 2020