From the Director's Desk: Grant Assists Buckleya Collection

By Fred Breglia

Grant funds have always played a major role in the projects we accom­plish at Lan­dis. From con­certs to ren­o­va­tions, trail work to inter­pre­tive sig­nage, award­ed grants have allowed us to keep our col­lec­tions and grounds thriv­ing. In late 2019, we final­ized the details of a grant award from the Schoharie Coun­ty Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict. These funds enable us to revi­tal­ize our rare and unique Buck­leya col­lec­tion and to remove inva­sive plant species from our wild­flower and pol­li­na­tor meadows.

Buckleya distichophylla,'Pirate Bush'
Buck­leya distichophylla,‘Pirate Bush’

Buck­leya dis­ti­chophyl­la, com­mon­ly called pirate­bush,” is threat­ened or endan­gered in its native range, which includes Ten­nessee, Vir­ginia, and North Car­oli­na. This plant is thriv­ing at Lan­dis, and botanists con­sid­er our col­lec­tion as one of the best pre­served. Buy­ck­leya is unusu­al in that it is a hemi­par­a­sitic plant, mean­ing that it attach­es to the root sys­tems of oth­er (host) plants with struc­tures called haus­to­ria and draws nutri­ents through them. Host plants for the pirate­bush at Lan­dis include east­ern hem­lock, pine, and larch trees.

The Soil and Water grant allowed us to remove inva­sive plants that have been steadi­ly encroach­ing our Buck­leya Col­lec­tion. These include Lonicera tatar­i­ca (Tatar­i­an hon­ey­suck­le), and Rham­nus cathar­ti­ca (com­mon buck­thorn), both list­ed on the NYS inva­sive species list. L. tatar­i­ca is a peren­ni­al shrub that forms a very dense pop­u­la­tion which out­com­petes and sup­press­es native plants. R. cathar­ti­ca is a small decid­u­ous tree form­ing thick hedges with long branch­es that crowd and shade out native shrub and herba­ceous plants. The restora­tion involved Lan­dis’ grounds man Rus­sell Glass remov­ing those inva­sive spec­i­mens one by one, care­ful­ly work­ing with hand tools in order to avoid dam­ag­ing the Buck­leya. The fund­ing also made it pos­si­ble to pur­chase a pro­tec­tive fence and inter­pre­tive signs for vis­i­tors.

Anoth­er por­tion of the fund­ing was used to remove and con­tain inva­sive species in our wildlife and pol­li­na­tor mead­ows. We used a brush hog for this, work­ing late in the sea­son to avoid any ani­mals or ground nest­ing birds. The inva­sive species removed includ­ed L. tatar­i­ca, R. cathar­ti­ca, and Robinia pseudoa­ca­cia (black locust). R. pseudoa­ca­cia is native to the south­east­ern U.S., but is con­sid­ered an inva­sive out­side of that range. Once intro­duced, black locust spreads eas­i­ly, shad­ing out oth­er sun lov­ing plants.

In 2020, Lan­dis will con­tin­ue to solic­it funds to keep our grounds and col­lec­tions healthy and habi­tats thriv­ing. Through grant awards, mem­ber­ships, and the ded­i­ca­tion of our trustees, vol­un­teers, and staff, we will uphold our ded­i­ca­tion to pro­vide a native plant diver­si­ty for all to enjoy.

Spring 2020

Volume 38 , Number 1

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