April 16 Program Canceled
Healing the earth, one yard at a time.
April 2020 e-News

In this issue:
  • April 20 Program - CANCELED
  • Letter from WORC President, Marti MacMacArthur
  • May 18  Program - Plants and Ecology of Aman Park:
    A Tour Led by Botanists With Over 50 Years of Experience 

    Presented by William Martinus and Leon Schaddelee, Botanists

  • May Native Plant Sales
  • It's Garlic Mustard Season!
  • May 9–23 - Garlic Mustard Drop Off at Cascade Township Hall
  • Native Plant Exchange to be held at June Program
  • WORC Member Quotes
  • Monarch Lookalikes and How to Tell the Difference 
    Excerpt from the blog by Rebecca Chandler, Naturalist 
    and Ethnobotanist
  • Natives to Know - Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla
    By Ruth Oldenburg
  • April is Citizen Science Month
  • National Wild Ones Awarded $19,000 Grant
  • Wild Ones River City Shop at CafePress

Scroll down for details.

For the safety of our members and friends, and due to our venue at Calvin University being closed, our April 20th program is canceled. We hope to offer the program Butterflies, Migration and Human Impact presented by Stephen Malcolm at another time.

Stay safe, stay well!
Letter to Wild Ones River City Members and Friends

As I write this note to you I certainly hope that you are healthy and managing the anxiety of this pandemic as best you can. I find that I sometimes want to retreat from having to think about any of it—to 
realizing that the things that I value still need attention. Perhaps a new way of thinking is needed in order to cope with the many unknown questions with which I must contend.

Once again, Mother Nature is providing comfort to me with the daily unrolling to Spring that I can observe in my yard. The birds are returning and singing their songs; the early moss and Spring ephemerals are beginning to emerge and there are buds on my spicebush and dogwoods which will continue to grow with each warming day. This reassures me that time will continue to pass and this uncertainty and trauma will not last forever. 

In the meantime, your Board Members of Wild 
Ones River City are trying to figure out how to stay connected and supportive of you in your endeavors to plant more native plants in your yards and to create ecologically healthy plant communities. Sadly, we’ve had to cancel our March and April Chapter meetings because it was the only decision that made any sense under these circumstances. We will be holding our first virtual Board Meeting on April 2nd and we’ll see what looks possible to us at that time.

However, you can still use this time to deepen your understanding of native plants through reading the Spring Wild Ones Journal, which arrived in your email if you are a member. You can also watch Doug Tallamy present to different audiences by watching some of his lectures on YouTube. Maybe you have a book that you bought and just haven’t had time to read. Now, before the weather gets too nice, might be a great time to open that book and transport yourself to a garden filled with native plants. Luckily, a walk in a park or nature area—as long as there are distances between people—is still a great way to feel that connection to nature and the unfolding season.

When this passes and it is safe for us to return to being together again, we will truly understand how valuable our relationships are for each of us. I miss seeing each of you and feeling the energy that comes from those times when we are together supporting each other in our efforts to “heal the earth, one yard at a time”. There are details that will need to be worked out and things will be different for a while, but I trust that your love of Mother Nature and native plants will help carry you through this time and will continue when we emerge from our own cocoons. 

Take care and stay healthy,

Marti MacArthur
Ones River City Chapter
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Photo: WORC President Marti MacArthur in her urban native garden

Plants and Ecology of Aman Park: A Tour Led by Botanists With Over 50 Years of Experience

May 18 • 6:30–8:30 pm

(Check our website for possible cancellation or changes to this program.)

Aman Park
O-1859 Lake Michigan Dr.
Grand Rapids, MI 49534

Presented by William Martinus and Leon Schaddelee, Botanists

The program will include a one-mile hike through the floristically rich Sand Creek floodplain forest and oak-forest upland. The talk will focus on descriptions of the different plant communities of Aman Park, how the landscape was shaped by geology and history. We will see numerous plant species including ferns, grasses, sedges, trees, shrubs, and wildflowers and learn the stories they tell.

More details to come in the May e-News.

To see all the WORC program listings for 2020, click below or download the 2020 Programs PDF.
Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens 2019 Sale
May Native Plant Sales
(Sales may be subject to change—check the websites before you go)

Download the 2020 Native Plant Vendor List

Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens Annual Native Plant Sale
May 2nd Sale is CANCELED due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The sale will be rescheduled, possibly in early June. Wild Ones will be notified.

Kent Conservation District Annual Native Tree and Wildflower Sales
2020 preorder sale catalogs available online.
phone orders call Jesse Schulte 248.245.3977
Saturday, May 2 • 10 am–3 pm
Tree and Shrub pre-orders due to office: April 10

Native Forbs, Grasses, and Sedges
Saturday, May 23 • 10 am–3 pm 
Wildflower pre-orders due to office: May 3

3260 Eagle Park Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
616.942.4111 x100 •

Pierce Cedar Creek Native Plant Sale
May 16 • 8 am–3 pm
40 species of native grasses and wildflowers
Pre-sale orders are due by Friday, May 8. Download the Pre-order Form
701 W. Cloverdale Road, Hastings, MI 49058
Download PDF of Driving Directions

It's Garlic Mustard Season!

Garlic mustard is a highly invasive plant that stays green all year. It has the odor of garlic when crushed. The young rosette (cluster of leaves) grows close to the ground. Adult plants grow upright with white, four-petal flower at the end of the stalk.

  • Out competes or displaces native plants and trees.
  • One plant can produce up to 3,000 seeds that can remain viable in soil for ten years + 
  • Releases chemicals that hinder the growth of most other plants and trees.
Prevent Further Spread:
  • Monitor your property carefully and frequently for new infestations. Removing one or two plants before they go to seed is much easier than removing hundreds later.
  • Clean shoes, pant cuffs, pockets, and equipment thoroughly after walking or working in an infested area.
Suggested Control: 
  • Hand removal is best achieved before plants go to seed. When the soil is moist, grasp low and firmly on the plant and tug gently until the main root loosens from the soil and the entire plant pulls out. Pulled plants should be bagged and placed in trashDO NOT COMPOST.

Photo: Chris Evans, River to River CWMA,

Garlic Mustard Drop-Off Site 
May 9–23
Cascade Township Hall
2865 Thornhills, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Native Plant Exchange
to be held at June Program

The Wild Ones River City Chapter's Annual Native Plant Exchange will be held after our June 15 program at Rockford Community Cabin, 220 N Monroe St., Rockford, MI 49341. This will allow your plants to be more developed when potting them up. More information will be provided in the May and June e-News.
WORC Member Quotes

By touring at the grounds of the Christian Reformed Church headquarters, I learned that native gardening does not have to be confined to individual yards, and that it is equally important to have large "commercial" projects... as much for PR purposes as actual impact on the environment.”

“One of the great things about being in WORC is that you not only learn from the speakers, but from each other.”

"Last summer I learned about buckthorn. I had one growing in my yard and I didn't realize that it is invasive until another member told me."

Monarch Lookalikes and How to Tell the Difference
Excerpt from the blog by Rebecca Chandler, Garden Educator, Naturalist and Ethnobotanist 
At a glance, the Viceroy and Monarch are shockingly similar with their orange and black wing coloration. This is not merely a coincidence but a means of survival for these butterflies. There is a name for this phenomenon called Müllerian mimicry—"a form of mimicry in which two or more noxious animals develop similar appearances as a shared protective device." 

It was long believed that the Viceroy used Batesian mimicry—“mimicry in which an edible animal is protected by its resemblance to a noxious one that is avoided by predators.” However, it was found that the Viceroy feeds on Willow species (cottonwood, willow, poplar trees) which contain salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin and make them taste bitter to avian predators. 


Viceroy or Monarch?
The main visual difference between the viceroy and monarch butterfly is the black line drawn across the viceroy's hind wings, (left photo) which monarch butterflies do not have. The viceroy is also a bit smaller than the monarch. The caterpillars of monarchs and viceroys are significantly different in appearance as well. 

Continue reading the blog to see the viceroy caterpillar and learn about other monarch lookalikes.
Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla, photo by Ruth Oldenburg

Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla

by Ruth Oldenburg

One of the things I look forward to after Winter is the blooming of my favorite Spring ephemeral, Jeffersonia diphylla. This uncommon plant is known as Twinleaf, as its dark green basal leaves are divided into symmetrical lobes that look as if they are two separate leaves. Its stems are thin and wiry, and its showy, white flowers look very similar to those of Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) although they are not in the same family. 

Twinleaf blooms in April, but I have to keep watch often to be able to see it in bloom. Its flowers are fleeting—a strong wind or a hard rain can knock the flowers right off from their leafless stalks. I enjoy the unusual leaves of this unique plant until Fall when the plant starts to die back. The cup-shaped flowers have 8 petals and yellow stamens. After the petals drop, the leaves fully open and green fruit forms as a roughly pear-shaped capsule that may be hidden under the leaves. When the capsule is dry, its hinged lid opens up like a little trash bin to reveal the shiny, light brown seeds that are dispersed by ants. The seeds remind me of tiny un-popped popcorn kernels. 

It is best to plant Twinleaf in moist, rich, limestone soils under deciduous trees. But plant it near a path or somewhere you are able to see the flowers up close. I have it in my yard at the woodland edge under tall trees. It should be planted where it will be in part sun in early Spring and a shady spot in the hot Summer months. It is tolerant of full shade. Twinleaf grows from 8 inches to 18 inches tall and forms clumps. 

Native Twinleaf is uncommonly found from New York to Wisconsin, south to Alabama and Virginia, (zone 5–6). The plant genus Jeffersonia is in the barberry family (Berberidaceae) with only one species in North America (one other J. dubia, in Japan). Please do not collect Twinleaf in the wild, and make sure those you purchase have been nursery propagated.

It is slow to mature and may take several years to flower. Be patient and you will be rewarded! My mature plants produce a few seedlings each year which I give away to friends. Each Spring, I receive nice comments from many of them about the progress and flowering of their Twinleaf. It is nice to know that my plants bring a little bit of joy to others.

Botanical drawing from the journal Addisonia: colored illustrations and popular descriptions of plants
Eaton, Mary E., New York Botanical Garden, 1916-[1964] v. 5 1920, PLATE 176
Holding Institution: Missouri Botanical Garden, Peter H. Raven Library

A Bit of History
The genus name Jeffersonia name honors President Thomas Jefferson, who was a farmer and a horticulturist

The study of botany, which Jefferson considered among “the most valuable of the sciences,” served as another foundation for his interests in gardening and landscape design. His excursion through New England and upstate New York with James Madison in 1791 was primarily a botanical ramble, and the following year a woodland wildflower, Jeffersonia diphylla, or twinleaf, was named in his honor by Benjamin Smith Barton, the most prominent botanist in America. At a meeting of the American Philosophical Society in 1792, Barton proclaimed that Jefferson’s “knowledge of natural history… especially in botany and in zoology… is equaled by that of few persons in the United States.” Jefferson appraised native plants for their usefulness....”

Hatch, P. Thomas Jefferson and Gardening. (2016, October 26). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from

Illustration: SDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913.Ilustrated Flora of the Northern States and Canada. Vol. 2: 129.

April is Citizen Science Month

We are all at home practicing social distancing, but we can still participate in Citizen Science Month. Every week in April, Science Friday will share ways that you can participate as a citizen scientist—from documenting the beauty of biodiversity in your own yard to helping track the spread of COVID-19. We can help by documenting our symptoms—or lack of them—to collect data on the pandemic. Scientists need data about the well (and the unwell) in order to determine the extent of the spread in various places. Spend a little more time helping “ slow the spread” by documenting your own health at Learn more about citizen science at

National Wild Ones Awarded $19,000 Grant

Wild Ones Natural Landscapers, in Neenah, Wisconsin has received a $19,000 grant from the Stanley Smith Trust for a “Practical Garden Designs for Native Beauty” project. Wild Ones will work with regional Wild Ones chapter experts and contract with professional landscape designers to develop strong, localized and customizable native landscaping plans for six target eco-regions: Chattanooga, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Toledo, and St. Louis. Read the Press Release for more information on this worthwhile project.

Wild Ones River City Shop at CafePress


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