Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fruits of Fall- Part II

Buckbrush Symphoricarpos orbiculatus
Click to enlarge
Much as learning the Latin names can be a pain, I again learned their value.  After looking up buck brush and finding it didn’t fit my common plant, I discovered there is buck brush and buckbrush (without the space)!
Our common “buckbrush” produces dense clusters of small quarter inch coral red fruit, each with two pale smooth seeds.  It is browsed by white tail deer, but is eaten by birds and small mammals only when they are desperate.  Cattle avoid it so it is frequently found around the edges of fields which have been grazed in the past.

Multiflora Rose Rosa multiflora

Multiflora Rose
Love the fruit- hate the plant!  Originally introduced from Asia, it was thought to be of value as a natural hedge for cattle.  It was also valued as it (1) grows well without any care + (2) has no natural predators + (3) can grow anywhere = INVASIVE SPECIES.   It has vicious recurved thorns which grab and hold on to you.

It was planted by some transportation departments along roads as a crash barrier.  I don't know if it stops a crashing car or whether a careening car avoids it because of the thorns!  Another supposed virtue was its ability to attract wildlife.  The fruit (technically rose hips) are colorful and apparently tasty in the spring and attract wildlife, tricking them into spreading its seed everywhere a bird can poop. 
"Multiflora rose reproduces by seed and by forming new plants that root from the tips of arching canes that contact the ground. Fruits are readily sought after by birds which are the primary dispersers of its seed. It has been estimated that an average multiflora rose plant may produce a million seeds per year, which may remain viable in the soil for up to twenty years. Germination of multiflora rose seeds is enhanced by passing through the digestive tract of birds" DCNR
More information is at the Plant Conservation Alliance "Least Wanted" site.

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