The class focused on learning to use Newcomb's Wildflower Guide, The Flora of Virginia and the Flora of Virginia App to identify wildflowers. Not having a botany background, Marion suggested using the Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary by James & Melinda Harris to look up the definitions when keying in the Flora of Virginia. On the first day there was a nice overview of understanding the difference between a Monocot vs. a Dicot. Always helpful to those of us that do not have a biology background. We then proceeded to use all three to identify the Common Violet. We also used Newcomb's to look up a daffodil. Intimidated at first, I found Newcomb's and the Flora of Virginia App on my smart phone quite easy to use.
We were given homework to find at least three flowers and ID them. With the large Flora of Virginia, I really had to use the Plant Identification Terminology book to understand the scientific terms and really just need to practice. However, I was able to find a flower in there I could not ID using Newcomb's and the app. Practice is definitely needed. What did I find? Whitlow grass (invasive), Ground Ivy and Partridge Berry.
The second day of class included a walk through the Native Plant Trail at the arboretum. The entire class wanted to stay out on the trail all day as we learned many new plants. I saw my very first trillium, I know, I know - been living under a rock. There were a number of flowers in bloom and just seeing everything brought a real smile to everyone's face. Returning to the classroom, we dissected some flowers - sunflower, hyacinth and then many students brought plants in to share. We also learned more about many plant families and it was suggested we should learn those.
As I almost always have my cell with me, the Flora App has been incredible helpful. An additional dozen or so plants have now been identified in my neighborhood using the app. My neighbors have been asked me over to see if I can assist in identification and if the plant if considered invasive or not. Veronica Speedwell seems to be rather widespread and invasive in all our yards.
If you have not yet been to the Virginia State Arboretum I would highly recommend a trip. They have a number of interesting classed and their spring Garden Fair is coming up Mother's Day weekend. Not to mention their Arbor Day festival. Always remember to take the time to stop and enjoy the beauty nature provides, and if you can ID some of these flowers even better!!!
|Experimental Greenhouse - Closed to Public|
|Herb Robert Geranium|