Moth visitor

I found this beautiful moth on peonies in June. I wondered if it might be one more insect pest, but it turns out to be a Clearwing moth, Albuna pyramidalis, whose larvae bore into the roots of fireweed and devour them. This one is probably visiting to sip the nectar oozing from the edges of the sepals.

Clearwing moth Albuna pyramidalis 3

Bog blueberries in the Garden

IMG_4813 copy

Transplanted bog blueberries, Vaccinium uliginosum,  from the wild can be planted in a garden with soils amended with peat moss. Productivity can be incredible once the plants become established. They also root from buried stems, and these can be cut from the mother plant and transplanted into a garden. Stem cuttings and seeds also work.

A new haskap cultivar from Maxine Thompson

Maxine Thompson has introduced several haskap cultivars over the years, and ‘Taka’ is the latest.

New Plant Patent

Phenology of Cloudberries and Lingonberries in Labrador

Here is a link to an article by Canadian Researchers who are interested in following the growth, flowering and fruiting of two of the most important wild berries, cloudberry and lingonberry. They followed phenological sequences of flowering and fruiting and documented potential pollinators in their region.  It is interesting to compare their cycles with Alaska. It was published in:

Canadian. Journal. of Plant Science. 96: 329–338 (2016)

Cloudberry and Lingon phenology

Abstract: Plant habitat, growth, fruit yield and occurrence of pollinators in cloudberry and lingonberry fields/bogs were monitored and analyzed at three locations in southern Labrador: Lanse’au Clair (51°41’ N, 57°08’ W), Red Bay (51°43’ N, 56°26’ W), and Cartwright (53°42’ N, 57°0’ W) over the two growing seasons, 2011 and 2012. The length of the growing seasons was 100–120 d (DFRA 2014) with 600–700 growing degree days (GDD) (AAFC 2014). The 2012 season was warmer than 2011. The plants recorded in belt transects belong to six families: Rosaceae, Ericaceae, Pottiaceae, Juncaeae, Equisetaceae, and Sphagnaceae. In the Ericaeae family, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Arctostaphylos alpina, Empetrum nigrum, and Vaccinium angustifolium were found. In both seasons, the cloudberry was the first to bloom, followed by wild blueberry, lingonberry, and Labrador tea. The fruit yields of cloudberry and partridgeberry in southern Labrador were higher than those recorded in Finland, Norway, and in the USA. Pollinators were present in large numbers. Most of the specimens were from three orders: Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Lepidoptera. Temperature, precipitation, wind, and sunlight affected plant growth and the occurrence of pollinators. To our knowledge this is the most comprehensive study of plant growth, yield, and pollinators’ activity in cloudberry/partridgeberry fields conducted in Southern Labrador, Canada.

Native Alaskan Ethnobotany

Check out this link to a series of movies about Alaskan Ethnobotany. One video is specifically on berries.

Alaska Ethnobotany

Haskap oral delivery system

I first read this thesis and laughed hysterically at the thought of developing an “oral delivery system for haskaps”. The author experimented with methods of optimum release and absorption of anthocyanins from haskaps. She developed “a theoretical physiologically-based, multi-compartmental pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model to describe the fate of anthocyanin”. Got that? So my myopic brain thought, “Here’s a novel oral delivery system– just eat the berries!”  Right?  After I stopped laughing, I read a little deeper and learned this article very seriously addresses haskaps as medicine. Think about a Type 1 diabetic who needs shots or a pump to deliver a measured amount of medicine throughout a 24-hour period. This research attempts to find out the best way to deliver measured amounts of anthocyanins from haskaps over long periods. I still prefer shoveling the berries into my mouth, but what would happen if you constantly bathed your cells in anthocyanins over hours, days, years? Interesting thought!

Haskap medicine

Grafting workshop in Fairbanks

Join Steve Mastermind for a grand time grafting apple trees. There is a charge as well as two sessions, one for beginners and one for people who have done it before. RSVP as must.   Grafting Workshop 2016