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Muhlenberg Botanic Club of Lancaster, PA

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All photographs copyright by Mike Slater unless otherwise noted.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A new Fern Genus named "Gaga"

Duke University scientists have name a new fern genus after the singer Lady Gaga.

There are nineteen species in the genus Gaga including 2 new species and 17 split off from other genera based on DNA sequencing. Among the reasons the name was selected are the costume Lady Gaga wore at the 2010 Grammys which resembled a fern gametophyte and the fact that one of the identifying DNA sequences in one gene was "gaga" for the base sequence guanine-adenine-guanine-adenine.

gaga and fern
Lady Gaga and the fern gametophyte.from

here is the link to the youtube video of the 2010 Grammy performance with the costume.

Enjoy the ferns and the music!


p.s here is my favorite (biology based no less!)  Lady Gaga parody: 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Muhlenberg Botanical Society Meeting -November 2012 meeting - the last one of the year.

November 15, 2012: Link Davis, "Name That Remnant!"
7:00 pm - 9 pm at the North Museum

Come enjoy a botanical guessing game in which Link will show us 
the picture of a seed pod or flower remnant and ask the audience 
to guess what it is. Then he will follow with a picture of each plant
in bloom.

Link Davis, a lifelong resident of Montgomery Co., has degrees in
biology and physical science. For thirty years he taught physical science 
and chemistry in the Norristown Area School District. Since retirement
he has driven a school bus and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity 
and his local SPCA. He continues to educate children by presenting
lessons on insects and by sharing his collection with schools to enhance 
their curricula. Although his interest in wildflowers began about two
decades ago when he began attending botany walks sponsored by 
the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, it is only in the last five years
that he has seriously photographed the wildflowers of Southeastern PA.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Tell Native Butternuts from Butternut-Heartnut hybrids

Our native Butternuts are being heavily attacked but a canker fungus. One problem people encounter in trying to conserve them is that Butternuts readily hybridize with Japanese Walnuts (aka Heartnuts) and produce fertile offspring. Apparently most Trees we think are Butternuts are actually hybrids especially ones growing near our farms and houses. The Purdue Extension Service has a very good brochure (available in PDF)  out on how to identify the Hybrids.  I have used it to confirm my suspicions that the large tree in our neighbors yard is a hybrid. We get seedling from squirrel planted seeds in our yards all the time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The First Meeting of the 2012-2013 Meeting season of the Muhlenberg Botanic Club will be held this Thursday September 20th at 7:00 pm

September 20, 2012:Members' Night Photos and Plant Exchange
Bring a show and tell item, old copies of nature magazines, slides, or a digital show to share. A laptop and digital projector setup will be available. If anyone has film slides to share, please let Mike know so he can bring a traditional projector.

For the plant exchange, please bring well-potted plants other members might like to adopt. Although our focus is on native plants, others are fine, too. Members who don't have plants to share are welcome—actually encouraged—to take plants home. We must continue to KEEPTHE MEETING ROOM CLEAN, SO PLEASE BRING PLANTS IN FAIRLY CLEAN POTS AND MAKESURE THERE ARE NO INSECTS ON THEM. If you spill dirt/plants, etc., YOU are responsible for cleaning up the mess. We need to leave the Kinsey room as clean or cleaner than we found it so we can continue these exchanges.

Please note that this is the beginning of our fiscal year and membership dues are now due. 

If you would like to be contacted by e-mail for occasional spontaneous work days or field trips, plant rescues, or similar events, please include your e-mail address. At the bottom of the form, please include comments or suggestions for field trips and meetings, or topics you might like to see added to the newsletters or the website. Bring dues with this form to the September meeting or mail them to  

Matt Dilley, 20 Greythorne Rd.   Lancaster, PA 17603-7403
include your:    Name:  Address: City:  State:  Zip:  Phone:    E-mail address:
and would you like to receive the newsletter only by e-mail?  ____ yes  _____no

The September 2012 Muhlenberg Botanic Society Newsletter is up online
at the 2012 Newsletter web page it is available in PDF, doc and docx formats. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring 2012 Muhlenberg Botanic Society Field Trips

Saturday  March 17, 2012: Steinman Run Preserve (Steinman and Trout Runs)
Meet at 10:00 a.m. Late winter/early spring botany. including early flowers (maybe), winter trees and shrubs and some mosses, liverworts and lichens. Leader: Tim Draude (717-393-7233)

        Directions: From Lancaster City, take PA Rt. 272 South (Willow Street Pike/Lancaster Pike) through Willow Street. Continue south on 272 to Smithville. Turn right on Pennsy Road (just past Frey’s Evergreen Plantation on the left and before the large stone arch railroad bridge over the highway). Follow Pennsy Road for approximately one mile, then turn left on Kreider Road. At the stop sign, proceed straight, crossing over a bridge spanning the old low grade rail line.  At the next intersection, bear right onto Rawlinsville Road. Follow Rawlinsville Road for approximately one mile, then turn right at the fork onto Stump Road. Follow Stump Road for approximately 1 ¼ miles. The lot is on the left and is well marked.
Saturday April 14, 2012: Nolde Forest State Park
Meet at 10 a.m.  Spring Wild Flowers. Leader: Mike Slater (610-775-3757 or

       Directions from Lancaster: take US 222 north past the PA Turnpike to the Adamstown/Knauers exit. Turn left onto PA 568 east, go about 2 miles to Knauers. Turn left onto PA 625 north and go 3.7 miles to the Nolde Forest Main Entrance Rd. Turn left, but be very careful of oncoming traffic, as it is hard to see! Go 0.4 mi. to the main parking lot.

Friday April 27, 2012: Shenk's Ferry Wild Flower Preserve
Meet at 10:00 a.m. Note that this is a weekday trip to view the late spring wild flowers that we usually don't see at their peak, for example, masses of Phlox divaricata. Leader: to be determined (consult the website or contact Mike Slater for information).
Directions: Proceed south from downtown Lancaster on PA 272 S/US 222 S (S. Prince St.); at PA 324 (New Danville Pike), bear right. Follow New Danville Pike for 5.2 mi. into Conestoga, where it becomes Main St. Continue 1.4 mi. through Conestoga, then bear left onto River Corner Rd. (Township Rd. 420). Go 1.3 mi. Cross River Rd. onto Shenks Ferry Rd. and go 1.1 mi. Turn left onto Green Hill Rd. (Township Rd. 418), go 500 feet, then make a sharp right as Green Hill becomes a gravel road. Continue down the hill to the river. Bear left, parallel to the railroad tracks, and go about 0.2 miles. Park along side the road.

Saturday May 5, 2012: Walnut Run Area (along US 322 West of Brickerville)
Meet at 10 a.m. We should see Pink and Yellow Lady Slippers and other spring wild flowers.
Leader: Fred Habbeger  (717) 859-2521 or

      Directions: Take either PA 501 or PA 72 north from Lancaster. Meet at the Game Commision Parking lot (where the fringed Gentians bloom in the fall). It is located 4 miles west of Rt. 501 at Brickerville and 3.7 miles east of Rt. 72. The parking lot is on the south side of  US322. 

May 12, 2012: We are planning a longer trip to a private property in Mifflin County, south of State College, to a limestone area where many interesting plants grow. Anyone who is interested should contact Mike Slater at 610-775-3757 or for details on car pooling and/or meeting point(s). We will probably leave early and car pool from Lancaster or from Fort Hunter, north of Harrisburg.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 15 th Meeting Announcement for the Muhlenberg Botanic Club

Ralph Goodno of the Lancaster County Conservancy will be presenting a program about the Urban Forest Center. The vision for the center involves vegetative restoration of a degraded site; developing conservation and ecological education opportunities and facilities (indoor and outdoor); expanding recreational and wellness programs; design and build highly sustainable site and buildings as demonstrations of what can be done with current and emerging technologies and design practices. Through a highly public design charrette is December and multiple public meetings, they have developed a schematic site master plan for the project and are eager to receive additional public feedback and involvement as the planning and design moves through the next steps.

The Conservancy would love to receive ideas and feedback on our their plan. Also there are clearly opportunities for the Muhlenberg Botanic Society to become involved in the project as they are planning a series of “Centers” at the site. These include 1) Public Engagement Center, 2) Conservation Center, 3) Nature Education Center, 4) Collaboration Center, and 5) Stewardship Center. 

See you all Thursday at 7 pm for the program and the refreshments!

Mike Slater, Vice-president, Muhlenberg Botanic Society

Saturday, February 4, 2012

January 2012 Muhlenberg Botanic Club Newsletter is up

The latest Muhlenberg Botanic Club Newsletter is up with the field trip and program schedules. Click on the link at the bottom of that page. (Oly the MW word version is up at this time.)
or go to and follow the links