Airlie GardensSunday, February 20, 2011
Enter the curious world of insects and plants with Matt Collogan, environmental educator program manager for Airlie Gardens
Bright red lichens draw our attention to the trunk of Ilex opaca, American Holly
Lichens are symbiotic composites of fungi, algae and often cyanobacteria. They can be classified into structural forms: fruticose (shrub-like), foliose (leaf-like) and crustose (crust-like). Note the different forms below.
Usnea, with the flat spore-producing disks in the image above, is a fruticose lichen that has been used medicinally for at least 1000 years.
Both resurrection fern and spanish moss are epiphytic plants, commonly seen growing on live oak, Quercus virginiana.
Goldenrods are extremely important to insect populations; aside from their nectar they are a larval host for many species (115 lepidopteran sp!) and attract insect predators as well.
Airlie Garden residents
The turtles seen here are probably yellow-bellied sliders. Although adults are omnivorous, the juvenile feeds heavily on insects.
2011 Year of the Turtle
The search is on!
The larvae of Bagworms, in the Psychidae family of lepidopterans, manufacture these protective cases from leaves, twigs and silk soon after they hatch.
These natural engineers have caused them to be the subject of bio-inspired applications and products.
Although adult cardinals can eat seeds and fruit, insects are an important part of the nestlings’ diet. Native plants ensure a healthy food supply for their young.
Thanks Matt! for sharing your wealth of knowledge about living networks—from the network of mycelial mats below our feet to the ecological network of goldenrods.
and thanks to Airlie Gardens! Visit Airlie Gardens
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