A ‘circumpolar’ plant here in NEPA? I think so



I believe this is stiff clubmoss, even though it’s described as a “circumpolar” plant and is normally found north of here. But this was in an acidic bog so I’m thinking I’m right. I’m sure somone will point it out if I’m wrong.

Lycopodiaceae (Clubmoss Family)

Stiff ClubmossDescription

General – perennial with horizontal, leafy, rooting stems creeping on or near ground surface, up to 1 m long; erect stems simple to twice forked, 5 – 30 cm tall, bottlebrush-like, with numerous bristly leaves.

Leaves – many, needle-like, 3 – 10 mm long, usually spreading, firm, sharp-pointed, in 8 vertical rows, appear whorled.

Spore Clusters – in stalkless, single, 12 – 35 mm long cones; spore clusters in axils of yellowish to greenish, egg-shaped, slender-pointed bracts, tightly clustered in cone.


Moist forest, thickets, and heathland; widespread across Northwestern Ontario’s boreal forest, north past treeline to Arctic coast; circumpolar.


Running club-moss (L. clavatum) is found in dry, mossy sites across the boreal forest and around the world. It is similar to stiff club-moss, but running club-moss has a slender hair at the tip of each leaf , and its spore-bearing cones are on long stalks. The Woods Cree used club- mosses to separate raw fish eggs from the membranous sacs in which they are produced. This was done by wriggling the egg mass and a bunch of stiff club moss together with the hands. The separated eggs were used to make fish-egg bread. Club-moss spores have been used as a dusting powder in surgery, as baby powder and to treat various skin problems, including eczema and chaffed skin. The spores repeal water so strongly that a hand dusted with them can be dipped into water without becoming wet. However, their use as an anti-absorbent is limited as they are know to irritate mucous membranes. The Carrier used to put club-moss spores to divine the future of the sick people. The spores were dropped into a container of water and if they moved towards the sun, the patient would survive. Club-moss spores are very rich in oil, and they are highly flammable. At one time they were used by photographers and theatre performers as flash powder, giving the effect of lightning on the stage. Because they ignite explosively, club-moss spores were called ‘witch’s flour’.

Trap Free Montana reruns my piece on the evil, vile despicable practice of trapping.

What Hunters Think of Trapping

June 2, 2016

FWP Wildlife Commissioners, I hunt. I fish. I travel and I spend money. And I love Montana. The trout of the Big Horn. The wild turkeys. The elk. the deer. I know them well. The commercial trapping of predators for their fur, which is sold for cash, is NOT hunting and the fact that this is allowed, to benefit a tiny fraction of your population, is hurting your state more than you know. Profit is the motivation, not meat for the freezer. The mechanics of the equipment used mean suffering and pain versus the “quick kill” ethical hunters strive for. Makes me sick. As you make your decisions regarding trapping, know that the world is watching and we care. As a hunter, I care. Thank you!

Trapping isn’t hunting – it’s needless torture    Bob Quarteroni
“Never, ever, will I forget the soul-rending wails of pain. ”



Trapping is not Hunting

  • Hunting is strictly regulated and hunters are generally  penalized for shooting the wrong species. Hunters have a season, wear orange, have a bag limit, are not allowed to bait animals.
  • Hunters are not permitted to leave their guns set unattended ready to shoot. In Montana it is illegal to leave a fishing pole unattended. A trapper can set and leave as many traps and snares as they chose. Trappers tell FWP they set 50,000 traps.
  • Training is not mandated for trappers, except for legally trapping wolves attendance at a 6 hr class is required.
  • Montana residents do not need to purchase a $29 trapping license except to trap furbearers and wolves. The traps do not discriminate whether they are set by a licensed or non-purchaser.
  • Less than 1% of Montanans purchase a trapping license, 6,000 approximated.  This does not cover the salaries and benefits of the Montana furbearer division.
  • Trappers do not need to report their “Incidental” non-target catches, including rare and protected species if the trapper deems they can be released “unharmed”.
  • Records are absent or incomplete of the number of trapped wildlife including protected species, family pets.
  • No provisions exclude all species from being trapped or snared, costing us losses in game species, pets, and protected species. Costing us lawsuits as well.
  • Unlike guns and ammo, there is no excise tax on traps.
  • Trapping is legal year round in Montana.
  • While our public lands and our wildlife are our most valuable assets, Montana has one of the worst score cards in the country for trapping regulations. This facilitates some trapper’s attitude of self serving entitlement and results in a child like tantrum to anything that threatens it.
  • Trapping commercializes our wildlife which is a violation of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model that Montana bases wildlife management on.

‘Stinking’ groundsel gets no respect

groundselAh who can ever forget the evil Luis Montoya in “Tresure of the Sierra Madre:” “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”

Which came to mind when I found this Stinking Groundsel — no kidding, that’s its name — in a swampy area of Frances Slcoum the other day.

Name also: Stinking Groundsel, Sticky Ragwort (USA)
Family: Daisy Family – Compositae, subfamily Asteroideae
(formerly Aster Family – Asteraceae)
Growing form: Annual herb.
Height: 20–50 cm (8–20 in.). Stem branchless–branching from top, quite sturdy, densely tomentose and glandular-haired. With strong fragrance.
Flower: Single flower-like approx. 6–10 mm (0.24–0.4 in.) capitula surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitula flowers yellow, ray-florets tongue-like, often curled up; disc florets tubular, small. Stamens 5. Pistil of 2 fused carpels. Involucre broadly funnel-shaped, involucral bracts 1 row, lanceolate, green, usually with black tips; outer bracts 3–8 at base of involucre, 2–4 mm long, very narrow, usually entirely green, spreading. 5–25 capitula borne in a lax corymbose cluster.
Leaves: Alternate, lower short-stalked, upper stalkless, but not amplexicaul. Blade obovate, pinnately lobed, quite thick, covered in sticky glandular hairs, lobes toothed.
Fruit: Cylindrical, ridged, glabrous, brown, approx. 3–4 mm (0.12–0.16 in.) long achene, tip with unbranched hairs.
Habitat: Railways, roadsides, sand pits, wasteland, streets, fields, sandy shores, rocky outcrops, sea-shores.
Flowering time: July–September.

Modern Finns may think of sticky groundsel as a common-or-garden weed in open land, but in fact it is quite a recent arrival. Its home is the scree beds of the Alps, from where it has spread to Finland with traffic, first to southern Finnish harbour areas and then via St Petersburg to eastern Finland. It was first observed in Finland at the end of the 19th century and by the turn of the century it was already growing in several places. It did not begin to take great strides, however, until much later. This spread seems to be accelerating even today and it will doubtless expand and move into new areas over the coming decades. Just as its territory is expanding, so it seems to be expanding its life span – the species has already begun to adapt to Finnish conditions. Global warming will only help sticky groundsel.

Sticky groundsel has characteristic glandular hairs which secrete a substance that is as sticky as fly paper and by the end of summer it is quite a mess with all the dust, sand, small insects, hairs, feathers, downy seeds, its own cypselas, candy wrappers and who knows what else that have stuck to it. In rail yards and storage areas the plant can be completely black with coal dust and soot. Sticky groundsel is not bothered by getting dirty, however, and it grows and flowers without any problems, producing its seed at the turn of summer and autumn. The plant likes to grow in habitats such as railway embankments, which radiate heat on sunny days. It has managed to travel to the northern terminus of the Finnish rail system, although it is rare in Lapland. It has travelled with the wind to roadsides, waste ground streets and yards. Sometimes it grows as a weed on cultivated ground and quite often by the coast or on rocky outcrops, where it might join heath groundsel (S. sylvaticus), which is native to Finland, and on fields it might link up with common groundsel (S. vulgaris). Like its close relatives, sticky groundsel can’t really stand being crowded by other plants and disappears as the competition increases.

Mayapple madness: Is this another sign of global warming????

No matter what’s going on wrong in the world, we can rest assured that we’ll NEVER run short of mayapple….found literally acres upon acres in a swampy area in the rain at Frances Slocum on Saturday…..

I wrote that but I have a serious concern that the explosive growth of mayapple is similar to the explosions in everything from all the robins around these days to the more livable climates for ticks and why Pennsylvania is now the top state -= by  far — for tick infections in the United States.

We are playing with fire and with Trump and Pruitt in charge it’s only going to get worse. If these morons aren’t voted out the future is going to be very bleak, very strange and very, very different.mayapple field (2)

Even a few minutes can be enough time to find one of nature’s little gems

See that. Only have an hour or so after Wegman’s, doggie rescue (they’re being sat in home for another weekend with the bipedals all in North Carolnia for another graduation) but decide to go to Deep Hollow for a bit and rtewarded with a new flower for me: three-part violet. Very cooling looking guy.

Just goes to show that at any time in the wondeful world of nature, a bright new discovery awaits you. It’s like it’s Easter every day and you neve know when you’re going to find a really cool new Easter egg around any bend.

yellow violet


You can’t find natures treasures if you don’t look for them and if you’re not in the woods, your eyes are closed, because the woods can’t come to you.

Here endeth the sermon :–).

Family: Violaceae – Violet family Genus Common Name: Violet Native Status: Native Dicot Perennial Herb

Viola tripartita – Three-parted Yellow Violet, Threepart Violet, Wedge-leaf Yellow Violet. There are two varieties of this relatively rare violet – Viola tripartita var. tripartita and Viola tripartita var. glaberrima. It’s historical range includes rich, wooded slopes in a dozen of the southeastern United States, as far north as southwestern Pennsylvania, where it is now believed to be extirpated, and southeastern Ohio, where var. tripartita is believed to be extirpated and the remaining population of var. glaberimma is protected with an official status of Endangered. It is also protected in Florida and Tennessee.

Found in:

Journal Articles Referencing Violet
Three-parted Yellow Violet shows its brownish-purple-striated yellow blossoms in mid-spring. It grows up to about a foot tall, and has alternate leaves in the upper part of the stem. Var. tripartita, the one shown here, is the only stemmed yellow violet east of the Rockies with divided leaves. There are usually three lobes, although that may vary. The example shown here seems to be unusual in that I haven’t found a photo of a plant with a leaf so far down the stem. The leaves of var. glaberrima are more diamond shaped and are not parted; that variety is also known as Wedge-leaf Yellow Violet.

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Gaywings reminds me of my very first day looking for wildflowers

gayGaywings, or fringed polygala. Always a favorite to me because, way back in about 1976, Johanna C. was taking a novice out looking for wildflowers near Toftrees and this was one of the first we found and I was charmed, and hooked.

Flower: Flower shape: irregular

[photo of flower] Like a cluster of small birds taking to flight, one to four, pink to almost white flowers, each about ¾ inch across, emerge from leaf axils at the stem tip. Two broadly oval petal-like sepals are arranged opposite each other at flower base and flair out likes wings. Two more sepals are neatly wrapped around the center flower column, and a fifth, highly modified with delicate lavender fringes at the crest closes up the underside. The center column angles up and away at roughly 45 degrees from the plane of the wings. This plant also produces greatly reduced, flower structures under ground that produce seeds asexually (called cleistogamous).

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] The above ground flowering branches are erect and produced from prostrate underground stems. These branches produce small scale-like lower leaves and a whorl of leaves at the branch tip, just below the flowers. The upper leaves are simple, oval to egg-shaped, ½ to ¾ inch wide and 1 to 1½ inches long, tapered at the both the base and into a point at the tip. Leaves also have smooth surfaces and the edges are rough but not toothed.


It was once believed that leaves fed to nursing mothers or dairy cattle would increase milk production. In Minnesota, this species is restricted to moist, rich woodlands in north central and northeastern counties. In some references, Gay-wings is listed as the synomym Polygaloides paucifolia

Another look at human nature: people who move less than most plants do….

By Bob Quarteroni

Being thin may not be all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it might be seriously damaging to your health.

Bob Quarteroni (PennLive file)

The thin being referred to here doesn’t refer to body weight but to what’s happening in your brain due to our national disease, American Morbus: Sitting for long stretches, millions upon millions of inert meat packages, pudding pops from coast to coast.

A new study links sitting too much with not only the old litany of heart disease, obesity, et. al, but with actual physical changes in the brain.

Researchers from UCLA found that sedentary behaviors– like couch potato TV viewing or sitting at work all day — were linked to changes in a part of the adult brain that’s critical for memory.

Specifically, sedentary behavior was linked to thinning of the medial temporal lobe, a brain region involved in the formation of new memories.

According to LiveScience.com, “Brain thinning can be a precursor to cognitive decline and dementia in middle-age and older adults.”

The study included 35 people between the ages of 45 and 75. The researchers scanned the participants’ brains and got a detailed look at their medial temporal lobes.

According to LiveScience.com, “The results showed that sitting for extended periods of time was closely associated with thinning in the medial temporal lobe, regardless of one’s physical activity level.

“In other words, the study suggests that ‘sedentary behavior is a significant predictor of thinning of the [medial temporal lobe] and that physical activity, even at high levels, is insufficient to offset the harmful effects of sitting for extended periods,’ the researchers said in a statement.”

Being sedentary is such a part of our blubbery landscape that a name for this behavior has been coined, “sitting disease.”

According to JustStand.org (it speaks volumes that there’s a need for a site devoted to the basic human act of standing up) it is “a term coined by the scientific community, commonly used when referring to metabolic syndrome and the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.”

Or, as we in the non-scientific community call it: being lazier than your average senile pig.

My encounter with women who wear the burqa: We fear what we don't understand | Bob Quarteroni

My encounter with women who wear the burqa: We fear what we don’t understand | Bob Quarteroni

Let’s be clear about one thing: Being against the burqa has nothing to do with interfering with anyone’s freedom of religion.

This stat absolutely floored me: According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, every hour of television watched may reduce lifespan by an average of 21.8 minutes. Smoking of a cigarette reduces lifespan about 11 minutes.

That’s why sitting – being sedentary – was reviled as “the new smoking” in 2010.

“Excessive sitting is a lethal activity,” Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James Levine memorably told The New York Times. Yikes,” said a Fortune magazine article.

A 2013 survey commissioned by Ergotron, a global furniture manufacturer, found that “nearly 70 percent of full time American workers hate sitting, yet 86 percent do it all day, every day. When they do get up, more than half (56 percent) use getting food as an excuse…. In total, Americans are sitting an average of 13 hours a day and sleeping an average of 8 hours resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 21 hours a day,” according to PRNewswire.

It’s hard for me to believe. Maybe it will sound like bragging – hell it probably is bragging — but I’m 70 and a few days ago I broke my generic Fitbit record for a day with more than 21,000 steps, or 9.3 miles for the day.

And it was just a regular — if busy — day: Almost two miles on the device before ever leaving home, workout at the Y, doggie duty, going in the woods to dig up some periwinkle for ground cover, an hour and a half along the Susquehanna taking nature photos, cut the grass and some yard work.

And I ran out of light or I could have kept going.

It is true that I am and have always been as fidgety as a light bulb about to blow, so movement is my standard occupation, but I just want to point out that sitting so long, except for work and church and such is a chosen activity. People choose to be slugs and sit and do nothing.

I make conscious choices to not bing watch a television series or idle hours away on inane video games (I’ve never even seen a video game) or just sitting, snack bags at hand, doing nothing, a potted plant with a remote.

But, obviously, many don’t

It’s all about choices. Even at work you can do simple things like setting an alarm to go off every hour so you can get up and move about a bit, or install a standing desk, if allowed, or just go and stand by a sunny window to read a report for five or ten minutes.

I’m not going to trot out the usual suspects for this sitting madness, the same ones responsible for our lack of time spent in nature and our growing national waistlines. We all know them by heart, starting with our unholy dance with all things electronic.

But sitting is a choice. Five straight hours watching television is a choice. Endless hours of video games is a choice.

People choose themselves into obesity, thinned brain segments, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, diabetes, high blood pressure and all the other nasty things the unmoved visit upon themselves.

So I don’t feel sorry for them I don’t accept lame excuses for not engaging in the simplest of all acts: standing and moving.

I do feel sorry for our nation and the price we have to pay – in medical bills, lost work productivity and the horrendous example to future generations being exhibited by the couch afflicted.

The answer is simple: We’re not asking people to get up and run a marathon, just get off your duffs for at least a few minutes at least a few times a day. That’s not exactly being asked to scale Everest, is it

Take a stand and start standing, that’s all you need to do.

Bob Quarteroni, a frequent PennLive Opinion contributor, is a former columnist and editor at the Centre Daily Times. He lives in Swoyersville, Pa. Readers may email him at bobqsix@verizon.net.


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