Tag Archives: invasive

Mute Swan

The other day I came across a lone Mute Swan (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Cygnus olor) in a small lake in southeast Michigan. Unlike Trumpeter Swans, Tundra Swans, and other large white waterfowl that are native to North America, these birds are … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Tall morning glory

Although native to the American tropics, tall morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea, Convolvulaceae) has been spread throughout much of temperate North America by humans. Gardeners favor this plant for its big heart-shaped leaves, beautiful purple flowers, and its attractiveness to butterflies and … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Dame’s rocket

Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis, Brassicaceae) is a common sight along many roadways and fields in the late spring and early summer. The large, attractive flowers have made it a favorite garden plant since its introduction to North America from Eurasia … Continue reading

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Brown anole

Native to Cuba and the Bahamas, brown anoles (Squamata: Polychrotidae: Anolis sagrei) were introduced to Florida in the 1970s.  Since then they have proven to be highly invasive, quickly becoming one of the most common lizards in the state. Living close … Continue reading

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House Sparrow

One of the most common birds in North America is the House Sparrow (Passeriformes: Passeridae: Passer domesticus). These prolific birds are found almost exclusively near human habitation, preferring to make nests along the edges of buildings. After their first introduction from Europe … Continue reading

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Boisterous European starlings

The other day I noticed a commotion from the top branches of a sugar maple here in southeast Michigan. At first it just sounded like random bird chatter, but then I noticed distinct calls from several different species. When I … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Autumn olive

I come across autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata, Elaeagnaceae) almost everywhere I go here in southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio. Most of the plants I see are young single-stemmed individuals like the one shown above. Sometimes I also see older multi-stemmed shrubs: … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Morrow’s honeysuckle

Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii, Caprifoliaceae) is one of several Asian bush honeysuckles that were imported to the United States long ago. It has much in common with Amur honeysuckle, which I wrote about the other day. Both were introduced for use as ornamentals … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Amur honeysuckle

Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii, Caprifoliaceae) is one of several bush honeysuckles introduced to the United States. It’s distinguished from related plants by its acuminate (sharply-pointed) leaves, hollow piths (stem centers), and paired, round red fruit that grow on very short peduncles (stems). … Continue reading

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European starlings

A few weeks ago I noticed a number of European starlings (Passeriformes: Sturnidae: Sturnus vulgaris) foraging along the edge of a highway here in southeast Michigan. These birds are often found in large groups probing the ground for invertebrates to … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Flower fly on a spotted knapweed

Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa or C. stoebe ssp. micranthos, Asteraceae) is an invasive plant that has spread throughout most of North America since being introduced here from Europe in the late 1800s. It outcompetes and displaces native plant species through … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Bees on purple loosestrife

While out hiking at Pinckney State Recreation Area here in Michigan I came across a lot of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria, Lythraceae) in the wetlands.  I also came across a lot of bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) feeding on the nectar of … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Fire on the mountain

I came across this plant on Matecumbe Key in Florida a couple of months ago. I hadn’t got around to identifying it, but while thumbing through a field guide the other day I accidentally stumbled across it. It seems most … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Jamaican feverplant

I recently came across some of these Jamaican feverplants (Tribulus cistoides, Zygophyllaceae) at the south end of Matecumbe Key in Florida.  This prostrate herb is also known as puncture vine or puncture weed because the fruit grow stiff, sharp spines. This … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Hairy vetch

After several freezes here in southeast Michigan, today I was surprised to find a plant that was not only still very green, but still flowering.  Its cold tolerance has earned it the name winter vetch, but it’s more commonly known … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Flower-of-an-hour

A few days ago I came across a rather interesting plant I hadn’t seen before.  This individual was growing alone near some landscape rocks at a friend’s house here in southeast Michigan.  I keyed it out as a flower-of-an-hour (Hibiscus … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Stinking chamomile

A common weed in disturbed areas, stinking chamomile (Anthemis cotula, Asteraceae) lives up to its name.  When the leaves are crushed they give off a pungent odor.  Personally I don’t find the smell to be too repulsive, but I could … Continue reading

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Plant-Arachnid Interaction: Comb-footed spider on a spotted ladysthumb

While out in a floodplain forest in southern Michigan, I came across a lot of spotted ladysthumb (Polygonum persicaria, Polygonaceae).  Introduced from Europe, this invasive plant is very common in this area.  While photographing the foliage, I noticed several leaves … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Lady beetles on garlic mustard

This time of year I frequently find lady beetles (family Coccinellidae) crawling around on a variety of flowers.   It seems that they’re eating pollen, but I can’t be sure.  They’re normally considered predaceous, with the adults and larvae feeding primarily … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Garlic mustard

Note:  The following is an excerpt from an undergraduate paper I wrote in 2010. Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata, Brassicaceae) is considered one of the most harmful invasive plant species in North America.  This introduced shade-tolerant herb thrives in deciduous woodlands … Continue reading

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