Friday, July 27, 2012
These past few weeks biologists at the Urban Wildlife Institute have been seeing large sphecid wasps (of the Sphecidae family) buzzing around Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Blue hyssop is an upright, clump-forming perennial of the mint family that's native to parts of the upper Midwest and Great Plains. It's noted for its mid- to late-summer bloom of lavender to purple flowers and anise-scented foliage. The flowers appear in false whorls, which are densely packed into cylindrical, terminal flower spikes. Their nectar is attractive to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.
Common Names: giant blue hyssop, anise hyssop
Scientific Name: Agastache foeniculum
Native Status: Canada through Northern U.S.
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Height: 2–4 feet
Flowering Time: June–September
Flower Color: Purple, lavender
Interest: Attracts bees, hummingbirds and butterflies
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
The black-crowned night herons are always a wonderful sight at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Heron chicks have been heard in the area since early May. Finally, now, a number of them are trying to figure out how to fly.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Sunday marked the second anniversary of Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Celebrate two years of growth in the urban oasis with these time-lapse photos showing the landscape in spring, summer, fall and winter.
Friday, June 22, 2012
This beautiful prairie wildflower has weathered the recent drought well at Nature Boardwalk. Butterfly milkweed is a tuberous, rooted perennial. It grows in clumps to 1–3 feet tall and features clusters of bright orange to yellow-orange flowers atop upright to reclining, hairy stems with narrow, lance-shaped leaves. The complex flowers are divided into five parts with upward-projecting hood-like nectaries and conventional petals below. (A nectary is the nectar-producing location of the flower, typically held in some sort of a cup or tube at the end of fused petals.) Spindle-shaped seed pods split open when ripe, releasing papery, brown, silky-tailed seeds for dispersal by the wind. The flowers and leaves are a nectar and food source for many butterflies. The plant’s other common name, pleurisy root, refers to past historic use of the roots as a folk medicine to treat lung inflammations.
Common Names: butterfly milkweed, pleurisy root, butterfly weed
Scientific Name: Asclepias tuberosa
Native Status: United States to northern Mexico
Plant Type: herbaceous perennial
Height: 1–2.5 feet
Flowering Time: June–August
Flower Color: yellow, orange
Interest: Flowers bloom in summer. Fruit/seed production begins in summer and ends in fall. Attracts butterflies.
Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo
By transforming the South Pond into Nature Boardwalk, Lincoln Park Zoo has created an urban ecosystem in the heart of the city. Enjoy a virtual view as native plants and animals establish themselves in this rare refuge.
As Lincoln Park Zoo’s director of horticulture, Brian oversees the zoo’s gardens, from bud to bloom.
As coordinator of wildlife management, Mason chronicles the bugs, birds, fish, insects, mammals and more that make their homes at Nature Boardwalk.
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