Common Buckeye and Painted Lady Butterflies on Seaside Goldenrod!


Common Buckeye and Painted Lady Butterflies on Seaside Goldenrod. This video is from a long gone day down at the NJ Shore.

Plants of New Jersey # 16 False Hellebore


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False Hellebore

Welcome! Today we are going to discuss False Hellebore (Veratrum viride).  False Hellebore can grow to up to 6 1/2 feet tall. The wetland indicator status of this plant is FACW which means this plant is primarily found in freshwater wetlands.  False Hellebore is part of the Lily family of plants.

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False Hellebore

The leaves, in my opinion, are rather neat looking. That said, a lot of people confuse this plant (especially in early spring) with Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). A good way to know the difference is this plant does not smell.

False Hellebore

False Hellebore in Bloom

False Hellebore is perennial (which means it comes back every year). The flowers of False Hellebore are yellow-green. The plant blooms between May and July.  It takes between 7-10 years for a plant to bloom. You can find this plant usually where Skunk Cabbage grows (forested wetlands & wet meadows).

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False Hellebore Leafing Out in Early Spring

Livestock owners are not fond of False Hellebore as all parts of this plant are extremely toxic especially the roots. There have been cases where livestock have gotten poisoned from eating this plant. As you can imagine, we humans should never eat this plant either!

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Plants of New Jersey # 15 Black Cherry Tree


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Black Cherry Tree (Prunus serotina) in Bloom

Welcome! Today we are going to discuss the Black Cherry Tree (Prunus serotina).  The Black Cherry Tree is the largest native cherry tree to New Jersey and probably the most important to wildlife who readily consume its berries. Continue reading

Plants of New Jersey # 14 Christmas Fern


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Christmas Fern

Welcome! Today we are going to discuss the Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides). Christmas Fern is one of the most common ferns found in the deciduous forests of New Jersey. If you’ve come across a dark glossy green fern as you wander the woods chances are you are looking at Christmas Fern. The fern is a member of the Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern) family of plants. The wetland indicator status of Christmas Fern is FACU. This means that while the fern is usually found in uplands it may be found in freshwater wetlands on occasion.

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Christmas Fern in Wintertime

Christmas Fern is evergreen and brings a touch of green to the browns and grays of winter. New fiddleheads replace the old come spring. It’s name came from settlers using the fern for Christmas decorations since it was one of the few green plants around in December. Some say that the frond of the fern even looks like a Christmas stocking.

Christmas Fern

Growth Clumping Habit of Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern does not carpet the forest floor as some other ferns do. Rather, it forms clumps. The fern is found along shady and rocky woodland slopes and can tolerate moist to somewhat dry soil.

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