Who Eats Kousa Dogwood?

exotic fruit nobody eats

(A Cautionary Tale in Second Person)

Here’s what you wonder:
if Kousa (Japanese) dogwoods evolved in East Asia with wildlife there, what eats Kousa fruit here?

Because you already know that Nashville butterflies and moths can’t use Kousa leaves as caterpillar food.

And because you now suspect that the fruit piling up under neighborhood Kousa trees will keep piling up, uneaten.
The fruits looks like round, warty raspberries but with long, cherry stems.

So, you watch and learn that:
*squirrels ignore them,
and
*birds ignore them.

So, you ask the Internet and learn that:
*monkeys were the main disperser in the native range,
and
*people can also eat the fruit.

Continue reading “Who Eats Kousa Dogwood?”

Stay at Home Nature: Pokeweed

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Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Happy to see American Pokeweed poking up in the yard today.

Most years, it’s too much work to process for safe eating, so I let the pokeweed grow.
This time—this particular spring—the thought of boiling *toxic* yard greens three successive times in clean water is no big whoop.

I mean,
just this morning I ground my own flour to make pancakes;
I made broth from scraps;
I planted butts of celery, cabbage, and carrots;
I made new pickles with old pickle juice,
and I made a mask out of a yarmulke (because the mask-from-a-bra idea didn’t work).  Continue reading “Stay at Home Nature: Pokeweed”

Black Walnut “log” (food and dye)

black walnut on twig
at an interstate easement

Walnut time is here again, and I’ve just realized I never posted my walnut work from a couple of years ago. I need to record what I’ve made so far, because 1) I’ll build on it next time, or 2) there will be no next time. I never know if an enthusiasm will catch fire or burn out. Either way, walnut work must be logged.

Continue reading “Black Walnut “log” (food and dye)”

Driveway-Crack Flowers: Perilla

“It’ll take over,” our neighbor warned, followed by: “I cannot believe you planted Perilla.” But, I didn’t plant Perilla. Perilla just happens. This was years ago, and the first time I’d heard the name. Until then, I only knew it as the maroon thing that fluffed in every flower bed (and pot and driveway crack) if allowed, and that the leaves looked like basil but smelled like licorice. Continue reading “Driveway-Crack Flowers: Perilla”

Hackberry Jam

Our dog loves hackberry trees. If there is a hackberry seedling within range of her face, she finds it. Under the neighbor’s boxwood, up the U-channel of the stop sign, poking from a storm drain, or wherever. She plucks the leaves with her teeth. She will chew as many as her leash lets her have time for. The seedling may be flanked by baby elm or privet or althea or bush honeysuckle of a similar size, but she only goes for hackberry leaves. Continue reading “Hackberry Jam”

Sidewalk Nature: Ginkgo Fruit

sidewalk-ginkgo-fruit
ginkgo

Fall is here, and stuff is falling. Look down. Although this site is called Look Around, sometimes and to some people, to look around is too tall an order. So look down. It’s easier. Down is just past the margins of our smartphones. And down is the quickest place to see signs of the seasons.

Welcome to Sidewalk Nature. Today’s nature is ginkgo “fruit.”* Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Ginkgo Fruit”