This is a tree I first saw as a pre-teen at Girl Scout Camp. I was fascinated with the waxy flower petals. I could pick one up and run my fingers over it all afternoon. It was kind of like a worry stone, before they became popular.
Tulip Poplar flower and leaves
The acrid inner bark, and the roots are used as a diuretic, tonic, and stimulant. A tea is used in the treatment of indigestion, dysentery, rheumatism, coughs, fevers etc. Externally, the tea is used as a wash and a poultice on wounds and boils. The root bark and the seeds have both been used to expel worms from the body
The root is used as a lemon-like flavoring in spruce beer, where it also serves to correct the bitterness of the beer. It is a major species for producing honey in the south. It produces a dark red honey with a strong flavor, favorably regarded by bakers.
The bark can produce a nice gold colored dye.
Tulip Poplar sideview
Early pioneers hollowed out the long, straight trunks to make thin walled canoes – it was in such a canoe that Daniel Boone packed his family and belongings and left Kentucky for the Spanish Territory. Liriodendron tulipifera is the state tree of Indiana, Kentuky, and Tennessee.
Tulip Poplar flower, close-up
Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly Have you ever wondered what is flitting before your eyes as you walk near wet areas…streams, ponds, even a wet ditch. It sparkles, and dances on the air. It just may be the Ebony Jwewlwinged Damselfly (Calopteryx maculata).
Ebony Jewelwing damselfly - MaleD
They are not strong flies, and flitter around you like a butterfly for short distances landing frequently. It should be easy to approach them for relitive closeups, just make no sudden moves, remember they like sunny spots under the cover of the woods.
Like other damselflies they consume large numbers of other bug pest, so encourage them! Some of what the consume are Large Diving Beetle, Eastern Dobsonfly, Water Flea, Green Darner, Aquatic Worm, Northern caddis fly, Rotifer, Copepod, Scud, Dogwood Borer, Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, Flatworm, and the Green Hydra.
Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly - Female (note the white spot on the wing)
Virginia Bluebells are often found in the moist areas of nature…rich, wooded bottomlands, along streams, and wooded valleys. They are spring ephemeral plants (blooming for a short time and then going dormant) they need to be planted with other plants that will then grow in to fill their space in the shade garden.
I first saw these pretty pink and blue bells at Longwood Gardens in Kennet Square, Pennsylvania. They had been planted under the shade of old, large trees.
The Bluebell was used by Native Americans to treat consumption, whooping cough, and as a general tonic when made into a strong tea. There is no indication of it being used as food.
It is pollinated, and lovingly visited by hummingbirds, bee flies, butterflies, skippers, and Sphinx moths, including hummingbird moths. They are also visited by honeybees, bumblebees, Anthophorid bees, Mason bees, large Leaf-Cutting bees, and Miner bees which are seeking nectar, and thereby pollinate the flowers!
I live in a small town, Greenwood. It received its name because at one time the woods surrounding the town were filled with Holly as the understorey trees and shrubs. Today I often see areas where the Holly is still in the understorey, dark green all year long! This spring we found several small hollies struggling to survive in the back portion of our acre. They must have been brought here from over flying birds!
The Holly tree, a tree of myth, a tree sacred to the Witches of old, and still held in great esteem. The ancient Romans used holly in the Saturnalia festivals in winter. The Christians, in attempting to subjugate the pagan belief systems, made Christ’s birth celebration in December and used holly in decorating, first to blend in and later to convince the people they really were not that different! You know the song… ‘Deck the halls with boughs of holly!’
Holly leaves were used in the old herbal practices for lung issues such as catarrh (mucous production in the head), bronchitis, pneumonia, influenza, pleurisy, and smallpox. The berries were not so kind to the body, they cause violent vomiting, and so great care has to be exerted in their use.
The only food use I could find referenced, was the use of the leaves of the Holly in the Black Forest as a substitute for tea. During the American Civil War it was a very popular tea substitute in the South.