Daily Archives: May 5, 2016

Tent Caterpillar Can Be Beneficial

oriole caterpillar

While many have a not so high opinion of the Tent Caterpillar – they can defoliate trees and make a mess of people’s patios, it does have environmental positives. Jim Macaluso sent this photo of a Baltimore Oriole at DeKorte  feasting on the fuzzy critters. Jim writes: I know that everyone hates the dreaded Tent Caterpillar, but most people don’t realize they are an important food source for newly arriving migratory birds.

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Mayapple, Wildflower of the Woods

As we were winding up a nature walk at DeKorte Park a few weeks back a very nice woman  stopped to ask me, “What are those plants that look like little green umbrellas growing alongside the building?”  “You mean the turtle umbrellas?”  I asked with a smile.  While they may not actually be turtle umbrellas  they are a great native perennial that, by the way, really are an important food source to turtles.

Blanketing the forest floor in places like Losen Slote Creek in Little Ferry and even in shaded areas of  DeKorte park, Mayapples  (Podophyllum peltatum) are an early woodland wildflower that stands about a foot tall with palmately lobed umbrella-like leaves that typically  colonize to cover large parts of the forest floor.

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