Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Grass Identification and Ecology Workshop to be Offered at The Morton Arboretum

As I've done the past two years, I'll be leading a grass identification and ecology workshop at The Morton Arboretum this summer.  Information on the workshop follows.


Tired of seeing "unknown grass" and "Dichanthelium sp." on your vegetation sampling datasheets?  Need to know what species that Elymus is to figure out if you're in a wetland or an upland?  Interested in learning vegetative characteristics for some of our more common grasses?  Just want to know more about grass identification and ecology in general?  If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," then the workshop discussed below being held on September 8-9, 2016 at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois may be for you.  If you have any questions about the workshop, email Scott Namestnik at

Learn to identify the grasses that add beauty and interest to the summer and fall landscape. Grasses allow us to read the landscape: from soils, habitat, disturbance and past land uses. They form a critical component of the biodiversity and with nearly 11,000 species, this is the fourth largest plant family. This workshop consists of an intensive, hands-on approach incorporating both classroom work and field study.  Identify warm season grasses in the field and lab, learn the specialized terminology and distinguishing features, discuss their ecology, and practice identifying species from keys. 

Instructor: Scott Namestnik, senior botanist, Orbis Environmental Consulting
Notes: Held both indoors and outdoors. Please dress for the weather each day. Limit 20
Supplies: Please bring a water bottle, a hand lens, and wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes for walking over uneven terrain. Fee includes all workshop handouts, morning refreshments and a box lunch.
Intended audience: Advanced students and professionals.
Prerequisites: Prior experience with plant identification required
Course number: 
Thursday, September 8, and Friday, September 9, 2016, 9:00 4:00 p.m.
Botany Lab, Research Center
Nonmembers: Fees include admission to the Arboretum. 
$195.00 members
$230.00 nonmembers
CALL: 630-719-2468
IN PERSON: Stop by the Visitor Center during open hours.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sharp-lobed Hepatica!

Ah spring! Today the sun was shining and the temperature was mild. I took a long walk in the woods and soaked in as much of the beauty as I could carry. I smelled the rich, earthy fragrance of old leaves on the forest floor warming in the sun. The sky was blue, birds were singing, and bees were gathering pollen and nectar. I saw a Mourning Cloak gliding easily on the breeze and a pair of Question Marks racing around in a quick spiral dance. As I sit here this evening, I am savoring the memories of my day in the woods. One of the highlights of the day was a large, spectacular display of Sharp-lobed Hepatica. 

This colorful member of the Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae) was long known as Hepatica acutiloba. Some are now calling it Hepatica nobilis var. acuta. I am reminded of the words of Gertrude Wister: “The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.” Well said, and noted!