Category Archives: general nature

Cockleburs can cause more than just an inconvenience


I was walking around in the brush recently and noticed thick stands of cockleburs (Xanthium sp.). I tried to avoid them, but before I realized it my pants collected dozens. People with hunting dogs know all about cockleburs. Long-haired dogs … Continue reading

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Is manuka honey a wonder cure or another overrated holistic drug?


I was talking to a friend recently about an expensive honey from New Zealand. It’s called manuka honey and it comes from the flowers of the manuka tree. Manuka trees are commonly called New Zealand tea trees and are in … Continue reading

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Bald eagles, ospreys have contrasting styles as predators


Not long after I wrote a column on ospreys, I spotted a pair of mature bald eagles on Northeastern’s campus. I’ve never seen any at school before, but I see them occasionally around Elizabeth city and in surrounding counties. Bald … Continue reading

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Ospreys might be the greatest of all fishermen


I wish I had more time to spend on and around the water. I love to watch the ospreys patrol the skies in search of fish. Some people call them sea-eagles or sea-hawks. In many places, ospreys can only be … Continue reading

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Grape Holly is a shrub with winter appeal


Recently, someone asked me about shrubs that were showy in winter. Obviously, camellias fit that bill as do winterberry holly and a few others. Mahonia, often known as grape holly, is an underused adaptable shrub that also has winter attributes. … Continue reading

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Bushy bluestem is a native prairie grass


This time of year, along the highway in full sun we see a tan upright grass with thick feathery tops. When other vegetation is growing, we rarely notice it. Until seed heads develop, this grass is easily ignored. It’s called … Continue reading

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Christmas fern is a native plant with landscape potential


Now that we’ve had several hard frosts, many of the herbaceous wild plants have withered. There is one native woodland fern that is still bright and green. It’s called Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) and it’s a native with untapped potential. … Continue reading

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