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'Botanist puppies': Sniffer dogs detect noxious weeds. Updated Highly trained sniffer dogs have been successfully used for the first time in Australia to detect a noxious weed that poses a threat to the environment and agriculture.

'Botanist puppies': Sniffer dogs detect noxious weeds

Key points: Dogs detect rare noxious weed in Kosciuszko National ParkFirst time dogs have been used to detect weeds in National parksHawkweed grows in remote alpine regions within the parkConservationists hope to remove all weeds within five years The two "botanist puppies" and their expert handlers have located hundreds of orange and mouse ear hawkweed plants in Kosciuszko National Park. The noxious weed was imported from Europe for horticulture, and has since been banned from sale due to its invasive nature. "[The dogs] can differentiate one plant from another, kind of like a botanist," said weed management officer and dog handler Hillary Cherry. "They have called them botanist puppies, because they can say that is definitely hawkweed. "We never would have been able to find them. Weed only grows in remote alpine areas. Milkweeds, Monarch Butterflies and Colorado.

"Plant milkweeds!

Milkweeds, Monarch Butterflies and Colorado

" they say. But which ones? The number of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexipus) seen in the eastern United States has declined dramatically over the last couple decades. Monarch experts, e.g. Drs. If a major part of the problem is reduction in milkweed numbers, then planting milkweeds is a very effective response. However, not everyone should just write away for free seeds and toss them into their yard. North America is a big place and no milkweed is native across the entire continent. Choosing the right milkweed is more difficult in some places than in others. However, the monarch butterflies found in California and surrounding states neither migrate to forests in Mexico nor eat common milkweed.

Colorado is between the two regions and rarely mentioned in monarch butterfly/milkweed discussions. The central U.S. gets drier and drier going west to the base of the Rocky Mountains. Comments and corrections welcome. ReferencesAckerfield, J. 2015. A Glimpse of Milkweed Diversity. Milkweeds, genus Asclepias, the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, are wonderful plants.

A Glimpse of Milkweed Diversity

They are such a distinctive group that they are easy for botanical beginners to recognize. Consequently, I have been taking photographs of milkweeds since I was a graduate student who could identify only one or two wildflowers. Why is recognizing milkweeds easy? First, the milkweed flowers have a distictive shape not shared with other plants (see photo above and look at other photos. Read about it on the Xerces Society site link or Orbis). There are over 100 milkweed species, all native to the Americas. The dwarf milkweed, Asclepias pumila, stands at most a foot high. Swamp milkweed, Asclepias arenaria, is a tall handsome plant that grows in wetlands. This story is ongoing: mutants among the milkweeds poison monarchs, mutants among the monarchs eat those poisonous milkweeds without injury. Intriguing World of Weeds. Botanising the asphalt. Botanising the asphalt The German philosopher and literary critic Walter Benjamin referred to the unwitting psychogeographical practices of the urban flâneur as that of ‘botanising the asphalt’: a way of experiencing the city as a repository of collective memory by means of a dérive.

Botanising the asphalt

For Benjamin, the landscape in question was the Paris of his Arcades Project but what if we took this expression a little more literally and paid closer intention to both botany and tarmac? Do the weeds themselves have no tale to tell? After all, a country road with grass growing in the middle is a common rural trope that speaks of lonely byways and car-shunned back roads. Do the plants that find a foothold in the neglected marginalia of city streets not have as much to tell us as a cacophony of road signs or the ciphers of graffiti? The photos above were taken in Norwich and London, UK and Abisko, Sweden. Like this: Like Loading...

About East of Elveden. Weed of the Month: Shepherd’s Purse. Urban Gardening & Ecology By Saara Nafici on May 22, 2015 Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd's purse) has small white flowers, a rosette of leaves, and seed pods that look like tiny purses.

Weed of the Month: Shepherd’s Purse

Photo by Saara Nafici. Vacant lots, fields, and tree beds around Brooklyn are filled with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) right now.