Saturday, September 7, 2013

This and That, Some Interesting Facts.

Bumblebee Blur on Spotted Joe-Pye Weed
Not only do I take photographs of our natural world and the fauna and flora that live in it, but, I also research information, especially on new subjects that I find so that I can increase my knowledge.

The Black Swallow-Wort is a member of the milkweed family, but forms twining vines that can grow from 3 to 6 feet in height.  In the spring, the black swallow-wort as clusters of small flowers and in the fall, they produce seedpods typical of the common milkweed.  The black swallow-wort is a native to self-Western Europe along the Mediterranean coast, and was thought the product to the United States for horticultural purposes.  Black swallow-wort tolerates a number of different environmental conditions.  Because the chemical composition of the black swallow-wort is different from the native milkweeds, monarch butterflies which lay their eggs on it, the eggs have nearly 0% hatching success.
Black Swallow-Wort Seeds

Black Swallow-Wort Leaves, Ponds and Seeds

On my Holly Bush I was photographing what I thought was a northern yellowjacket feeding on the flowers of the bush.  When I was with you in my pictures on the computer and checking my field guide, it turns out this was a European Paper Wasp.  European paper wasps are frequently mistaken for yellow jacket, however, the European paper washed and tenor is yellow, as opposed to black in a yellowjacket.  The European paper wasp was first discovered near Boston in late 1970s and since then has started to spread around the country and has been found in California and Washington state.

European Paper Wasp
European Paper Wasp

I've located a different species of Joe-Pye Weed, the Spotted Joe-Pye Weed.  I decided to look up some information about this weed.  Joe-Pye weed was utilized by the Native Americans for medicinal use, including the treatment of typhoid fever.  It's flowers.  We used to treat postpartum pain in women area seek treatment for venereal disease.  The early colonists adapted the medicinal use of Joe-Pye weed for treatment of fevers, diseases of the kidneys and urinary tract.  There has been some research in Germany that shows there may be a polysaccharide that is active in promoting immunities in the Joe-Pye weed plants.
Spotted Joe-Pye Weed