Author Archives: Bill Chaisson

Waxy Bells of the Laurels

Somehow I have missed the parade of Vaccinium blooms until now. They and the closely-related Gaylussacia are ericads (laurels) that flower before and during leaf out in late April and into early May, while the larger laurels bloom later in … Continue reading

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Fern That Drops Its “R”s

What exactly does the “Boston” fern have to do with The Hub? (And does anyone call Boston ‘the hub’ anymore?) Nephrolepis exaltata is a subtropical plant, occurring naturally as far north as south Florida and throughout the West Indies, Mexico, Central and South … Continue reading

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The Underwater Meadow

Eelgrass (Zostera marina on the U.S. east coast) is a flowering plant that grows submerged in salt water. In other words, it is not a “seaweed,” which are macrophytic algae. Eelgrass is descended from land plant that found a new … Continue reading

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The Tender Heath

The climate of Martha’s Vineyard is mild and moist. The mildness is reflected in its assignment to USDA Hardiness Zone 7a, which means that temperatures do not descend below 0 to 5 degrees F in the winter. This is the … Continue reading

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Short and Spreading Oak

Nearly anywhere you go in the United States you will find oak trees. They are often large and common, so they can often contribute significantly to the look and feel of a place. The effect reaches consciousness if you are a … Continue reading

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A New Kind of Ancient

I recently learned a new term to describe a forest ecosystem. The water district of Oak Bluffs, a town on the northern tip of Martha’s Vineyard, proposed going “green” at the site of their pumps and wells. They would add solar panels … Continue reading

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Gathering the Laurels

I grew up enjoying the site of mountain-laurel blooming in profusion each June. It is a common understory shrub in the Hudson Highlands, one of the northeast-southwest-trending chains of mountains that make up the northern Appalachians through downstate New York. … Continue reading

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