Archives for The Nature of Phenology

The Nature of Phenology 9/14/19: Fall Tomatoes

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

For roughly 200 years after the tomato was introduced to Europe, it was considered perhaps the least edible thing in European and American gardens thanks to a number of false accounts of their toxicity all seeming to stem from their unfortunate beginnings as table fare on the plates of some aristocratic foodies.

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

The Nature of Phenology 9/7/19: Black Trumpets

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

These charcoal gray to dark brown funnel-shaped mushrooms are so well camouflaged on the forest floors where they reside that they can often be missed. But once you find one, you are almost guaranteed to see many more. A classic case of “the more you look, the more you see.”

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

The Nature of Phenology 8/31/19: Chokecherries

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

Some trees bore cherries as dark as ebony, others were scarlet red and caught the sun like so many plump rubies. I walked over to a tree whose fruit were a dark rich red reminiscent of Washington state’s bing cherries. I plucked two cherries from a cluster and popped them into my mouth to savor their wild sweetness. But as soon as my teeth crushed the thin pulp of these cherries, the juice squished across my tongue and my mouth was instantly flooded with unfettered tartness, bitterness, and puckering astringency as though my mouth was stuffed with cotton. I spat out the pulpy pits from my mouth along with as much juice as I could.

The Nature of Phenology 8/24/19: Mountain Cranberries

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

While most folks state-side are familiar with the almost grape-sized cranberries of bogs, the mountain cranberry is a much smaller plant with berries that are as small as wild blueberries. As for their flavor, mountain cranberries taste just like their boggy brethren, though perhaps they pack a little bit more flavor into their diminutive forms.

The Nature of Phenology 8/17/19: Goldenrod

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

If you’re a person who suffers from spring allergies but you get relief during the heat of summer, you might be edging into another bout of allergies now. Not only is goldenrod not the most likely culprit for these late season allergies, it has historically been used to combat maladies like hay fever and urinary tract infections due to its antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. The genus of the many species of goldenrod that exist around the world is “Solidago,” which in Latin means “to make whole”—a reference to goldenrod’s many medicinal uses.

The Nature of Phenology 8/10/19: Sawyer Beetles

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of this hefty beetle was its elegant antennae which extended from its head a full two times the length of its body and formed a brilliant delicate jointed arch which curled slightly at the tip. These two long antennae, sometimes called horns can get this bumbling native beetle into a heap of trouble.

The Nature of Phenology 8/3/19: Seed Dispersal

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

No matter the size of a seed, whether it’s smaller than a poppy seed or as large as the 40-pound coco de mer seed, all seeds have a few things in common: they have an embryo, which will develop into a more familiar-looking adult plant, a food source for that developing embryo, and a seed coat, which protects it. Seeds emerge on a flowering plant after the flower has been pollinated and developed into a fruit, which surrounds those seeds. The whole point in this process, of course, is to ensure the survival of the next generation.

The Nature of Phenology 7/27/19: Raspberries

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at thenatureofphenology.wordpress.com.

A perfectly sun-ripened wild raspberry still glistening with morning dew is one of the loveliest wild indulgences. The word “picking” when applied to these berries feels somewhat wrong. Ripe raspberries slip effortlessly off the plant, leaving their greenish-white core behind, unlike their close relatives, the blackberries. As a result, raspberries end up looking like a ruby red thimble sized for a child’s finger.