Nature

Eyed Click Beetle, Alaus occulatus
By Henryhartley (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

A listener spots an Eyed Click Beetle and wonders about the purpose of the false-eye spots.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.  The Kilauea Volcano is causing instantly discernable damage as it erupts in Hawaii. Whole neighborhoods have been lost to its larva flows and the vog or volcanic smog from its emissions threatens air quality. Although we don’t have volcanos to worry about in South Carolina, our urban trees, which contribute to healthier air quality for us by reducing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen, are threatened by volcano mulching.

A Southern Copperhead
Ltshears [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The Copperhead is more likely to strike when disturbed than any other venoumous snake in the state.

Carolina Wrens often come back to the same area each year to nest.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. As you drive around your city of town, keep an eye out for how trees in commercial settings are mulched.  There’re many places where companies obviously pay landscape maintenance crews a lot of money to keep things tidy and neat. Sadly, some of the no doubt well-meaning workers don’t have a good knowledge of basic horticulture, especially when it comes to mulching trees as volcano mulching is a craze.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Beautyberry can seed down like crazy and be somewhat weedy, but people who like to do arrangements always are grateful to have it when the stems are covered with purple-pink clusters of fruits. If you grow it or have access to some naturalized plants, I suggest you prune it in early spring each year. Callicarpa blooms on new wood and if you cut it low to the ground, it will send out longer shoots, better for arranging, in response to that pruning.

Caterpillars?

Jul 13, 2018
The larvae of the Dusky Birch Sawfly are often mistaken for caterpillars.
Lacy L. Hyche, Auburn University, Bugwood.org

The Dusky Birch Sawfly is a stingless wasp. As the common name implies, its prefered food plant is the River Birch.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. For many years Ruthie Lacey and I decorated for parties. I was charged with bringing stuff you couldn't order, things gathered from the wild that added more variety and interest to arrangements that also contained typical florist flowers. So sticks, grass seed heads, wooly mullein stalks and such were my contributions. In the fall, our "most favorite" a category that changed with the seasons, plant material was stems of beautyberry, Callicarpa americana.

A "Mermaid's Bracelet"

Jul 12, 2018
A tube from a polychaete worm, most likely a Plumed Worm, Diopatra cuprea.
Karen Parker, Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr

A family finds an object in a tidal pool which one of the children dubs a "mermaid's bracelet." It's actually a tube extending from a Plumed Worm, or Diopatra cuprea, beneath the sand.

A Great Crested Flycatcher.
Amy Evenstad [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds the nest of a Great Crested Flycather and has a question...

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The USDA NRCS Plant Guide is one of my favorite places to find out neat stuff about native plants. Their page on beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, tells us that this plant is adapted to dry or moist open woods in areas with hot, humid summers and moderate winters. No wonder it was especially prevalent in the zoo portion at Brookgreen Gardens when we visited recently. The small clusters of flowers give no indication of the fabulous clusters of shiny purple-pink flowers that will follows.

Fox Squirrel

Jul 10, 2018
An Eastern Fox Squirrel.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System

A listener spots an odd looking squirrel in Santee...

The Ichneumon Wasp

Jul 9, 2018
An Ichneumon wasp laying its eggs. Inside the wood is the larva of another insect, possibly a Horntail wasp.
Igfugl [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The Ichneumon Wasp lays its eggs in the larvae of other insects.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We spent a few days near the coast recently and visited Brookgreen Gardens, where the plants are as interesting as the sculptures. You can use your pass for several days which was perfect - w e got there relatively early one morning and spent a few hours looking at sculpture leaving when the temperature got too high. The next day, we returned to see the native animals housed in the zoo. As most of those exhibits are in a wooded understory situation, we were spared the blazing rays of the sun.

A Scarlet-Winged Lichen moth.
Seabrooke Leckie [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The caterpillar of this moth feeds on lichen.

Owl Pellets

Jul 5, 2018
An owl pellet.
gailhampshire [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Owl pellets, like the one a listener found, contain the remains of the animals the owl "recycles."

A Black Rat Snake.
Stephen Lody Photography [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds a Black Rat snake making a meal of a squirrel. Rat Snakes are powerful constrictors and feed on small mammals.

Vase Vine

Jul 3, 2018
Clematis viorna
By peganum from Henfield, England (Clematis viorna) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds a beautiful, bell-shaped "flower" in Pickens County and wonders what they are.

Cliff swallows nesting under a bridge.
Marlin Harms, via Wikimedia Commons

The colonial nesting birds are often found on cliff faces in the western U.S. In South Carolina, you will often find them under bridges.

Deer Flies "Bite"!

Jun 29, 2018
A feeding Deer Fly.
Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org

Deer Flies, or Yellow Flies, are out in number this year, especially near water. And, yest, they will "bite"!

Corn snake
Mike Wesemann via Wikimedia Commons

Corn Snakes are often mis-identified as venomous and, unfortunately, killed.

Mating Moths

Jun 27, 2018
A mating pair of Pink-Striped Oakworm moths.
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry, Bugwood.org

A listener finds a mating pair of Pink Striped Oakworm moths.

Northern Parula Warbler

Jun 26, 2018
A Northern Parula Warbler.
Dan Pancamo [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The neo-tropical migrant breeds in South Carolina, then flies south to tropical climes.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Blueberries, figs,  and muscadines are plants good for  backyard orchard s–   you don’t have to do much as far as insect or disease control goes. Elderberry is another plant you might add to your backyard if you have some room. In other parts of the country, there are lots of both commercial and home orchards of elderberry but for some reason we haven’t used them much in the south. But Dr.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In the history plant pharmaceuticals, elderberry was an essential medicine across Europe, including Russia and the Scandinavian countries, and among the Native Americans of North America. The traditional uses included numerous respiratory ailments, especially congestion and allergies, digestive problems – especially if a laxative was needed, and to for headaches, fever reduction, and a host of other ailments.

Lady's Tresses Orchids

Jun 22, 2018
A Lady's Tresses Orchid.
siege2050.blogspot.com

If you find one of these lovely plants, it's best left in place if you want it to thrive.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A Clemson botany professor, the late Dr. John Fairey made learning about the local flora fun with his unusual and often fascinating comments about plants.   We learned that the stems of elderberry, in glorious bloom now, are “weakly lignified.” The outer portion of the stem is truly woody while the interior is filled with pith. Dr. Fairey told us that in the days before synthetic packing material, elderberry pith was used to pack delicate scientific instruments.

Happy Summer Solstice!

Jun 21, 2018
NatureNotes
SC Public Radio

Today is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you’ve been out driving recently, you should have noticed one of our showiest wild flowers in bloom. Elderberry has a coarse texture due to its large, pinnately compound leaves held on stems eight to twelve feet tall. It’s the flowers and fruits that are so eye-catching though. The flowers, although individually small, are borne in flat, broad clusters and with their white color contrasting with the green leaves, are very noticeable.

Pages