Hello Neighbor

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A recent report published in Science Daily describes the results of a recent research study published in the journal Current Biology supporting the hypothesis that when under attack from insect herbivores plants indeed communicate with each other.1

No, they don’t scream, but use chemicals called Volatile Organic Compounds and release them into the atmosphere and are detected by their neighbors.

One of the major findings from the study is that when plants are under attack the compounds released become more similar between species suggesting a type of cross species communication.

The Author of the study Andre Kessler describes the results of the study as follows:

“What we very often see when plants get attacked by pathogens or herbivores is, they change their metabolism,” Kessler said. “But it’s not a random change — in fact, those chemical and metabolic changes are also helping them cope with those attackers. It’s very much like our immune system: though plants don’t have antibodies like we have, they can fight back with pretty nasty chemistry.” 2

Interesting stuff.

The article in Science Daily is an easy read and a little splash of color to beat back a dull January day might be just what the doctor ordered.

Courtesy of none other than….Plants!

References:
1. Aino Kalske, Kaori Shiojiri, Akane Uesugi, Yuzu Sakata, Kimberly Morrell, André Kessler. Insect Herbivory Selects for Volatile-Mediated Plant-Plant Communication. Current Biology, 2019; 29 (18): 3128 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.08.011

2.Cornell University. “Plants alert neighbors to threats using common ‘language’.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2019. .

Decembers Light

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The mid-December sun, traveling low across southern sky casts long shadows on the icey blue face of a small pond and gently lights the landscape beyond. Decembers light is like no other and helps me keep track of the time like no wall calendar or wristwatch can.

The Fungus Among Us

I have always found mushrooms fascinating life forms. Not plant, not animal yet vitally important for the health of both plants and animals. However, they are a bugger to photograph yet I never stop trying.

Paul Stamets wrote a great book on Fungus call “Mycellium Running” and delivered a very interesting TED talk several years ago:

Sights and sounds

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The golden glow of the Aspens in the morning light.
Two chickadees singing a-dee-dee-dee with a nuthatch honking as the leaves rustle in the breeze.
The crows gurgling and woodpeckers pecking in the distance.
Sights and sounds of the forest on a morning hike.

The fruits of their labor

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Working hard from spring through summer the plants have done their thing. Now all that hard work is  proudly on display.

The Choke Cherries have ripened and will provide food for bears and birds and even a human or two.

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The Oregon Grape has produced berries of purple-blue that will help feed the grouse and pheasants as well as waxwings.

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The wild rose has a a tough go of it as these bushes are a favorite food of deer. These Rose Hips were hanging high on the only branch not trimmed low to the ground by a local family of deer. A mother Mule Deer and her two fawns can really make quick work of a rose bush.

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The snowberry bushes are numerous and cover the forest understory. This year they have done well and the berries will provide food for songbirds, game birds and many small mammals as winter rolls into town.

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The plants have been busy and the fruits of their labor show.

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant: Cleome serrulata

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Rocky Mountain Bee Plant: Cleome serrulata was a wonderful late blooming wildflower near us this year. It drew numerous species of bees, and butterflies, from near and far and always had visitors when in bloom providing pollinators with a generous sip of nectar.

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Growing up to 4 ft tall Bee Plant stands out in the fields of tall fall grasses.A beautiful and very sculptural wildflower Bee Plant is fun to photograph as well.

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According to the USDA “Cleome serrulata is an important cultural plant for many Southwestern Indian tribes. The young, tender shoots and leaves are good sources of vitamin A and calcium. In the past they were used as potherbs or medicinally as teas for fevers and other ailments. The seeds were ground and used to make gruel or bread. The Navajo still use the plant as a source of yellow-green dye for their beautiful wool rugs and blankets. Many pueblo tribes use a concentrated form of dye, made from boiling the plant into a thick black resin, to paint designs on pottery or for decorating their baskets.”

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On this particular afternoon the little green sweat bees were enjoying the plant to no end.

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Every flower seems to have a visitor.

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And one last look as even the bee fly mimics got in on the action.

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