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Ramblings

There are many areas of Japanese knotweed even in the Adirondacks that are so huge that only a natural enemy would be able to control it, and scientists are studying a certain insect to see if it eats only this species of knotweed, a member of the Buckwheat family. Of course Japanese beetles like it, but no one wants more of those!

But another knotweed has me pretty excited because it is a very rare one that I found just below a new beaver dam. It’s called Carey’s knotweed and the NY expert on the family has never seen a live specimen. To get there I canoed across a lake, carried a short way, then canoed across a pond in search of a different rare plant. Somehow I dredged up out of my failing memory that the botanist was looking for a knotweed with a hairy stem. So that was two rare plants, plus some beautiful paddling on a spectacular day, a good day of hunting.

An ongoing hunt: A friend who lives near Garnet Lake found a five inch swallowtail on a coneflower, one so heavy that the flower tipped down and made it difficult for the butterly to get at the nectar in the middle. It turned out to be the Giant Swallowtail, black and yellow with the tails totally yellow. Some were seen last year in the Adirondacks but most of us have never seen one. As the caterpillars eat only prickly ash in the north, a plant we have never seen either, these must just be butterflies heading out and about after emerging from their chrysalises elsewhere. As prickly ash is in the citrus family, the caterpillars are considered pests in Florida. But even with the fast rate of warming we are having, especially in winter, it will be a while until these beautiful insects will be a problem!

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