Nature

This Northern Scarlet snake is sometimes mistaken for a Coral Snake.
Glenn Bartolotti, via Wikimedia Commons

If you happen upon a snake with bands of red, yellow, and black that has red and yellow bands touch, the is an Eastern Coral snake. Beware! Otherwise, you may be looking at a "mimic," like the Northern Scarlet snake.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Elderberries are decorating South Carolina roadways and river banks right now. These clumps of bright green foliage, often eight to twelve feet tall, are topped with large, flat clusters of white flowers. You see them most often in relatively open areas where there is organically rich soil associated water – along ditches or bordering streams and rivers. Interesting, those large clusters of flowers, botanically categorized as corymbs, are not particularly attractive to pollinators.

A Killdeer with its nest and eggs.
Mykola Swarnyk via Wikimedia Commons

Wilson's Plover is a coastal bird. Killdeer is an Upland Plover that is common all over South Carolina.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Some yuccas deservedly have the name Spanish Bayonet or dagger because of the sharp points at the ends of their leaves. But we have two native yuccas that are much less threatening and still have beautiful blossoms. Both Yucca filamentosa and Yucca flaccida are smaller and have somewhat softer foliage than their big relatives, and flowering stalks that top out at five feet. The leaves have threads, filaments, along the leaf margins, like fabric unraveling.

Moths and Yucca

Jun 15, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Some hummingbird moths, so named because of their size, visit yucca flowers at night to enjoy their nectar. But the important pollinators are yucca moths. Relatively small white insects, the female moth enters yucca flowers and uses special mouthparts called tentacles to collect pollen, which she rolls into a ball to transport. She lays her eggs in the ovary of a yucca flower, and then places some of the fresh pollen onto the female stigma.

Rattlebush
Dinesh Valke [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A listener spots a  plant in Barbados that is similar to Rattle Bush. The latter was introduced initially in Florida.

Spanish Bayonet

Jun 14, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Like Yucca aloifolia, Spanish Bayonet, the plant called Spanish Dagger, Yucca gloriosa, also is native only to the lower southeastern states. Although it has a similar size and flower display, its leaves aren't quite so stiff and have a less lethal point at the end. John Nelson tells me the margins of Yucca gloriosa leaves are smooth and won't cut your fingers.

The Great Leopard Moth

Jun 14, 2018
The Great Leopard Moth.
Arnstein Rønning [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This moth is common in South Carolina. It over-winters as a caterpillar and builds its cocoon in the Spring.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Many people who have cut grass with push lawnmowers think that there should be a special place in the hell for yucca plants, as they have backed into them and suffered a painful stab wound. As a matter of fact, an Australian hospital reports it has treated dozens of persons with serious ear injuries incurred while working around yucca plants. The most dangerous yucca we have in South Carolina is Yucca aloifolia, or Spanish Bayonet.

A Brown Widow Spider?

Jun 13, 2018
An Orchard Orb Weaver Spider, Jekyll Island, GA.
gailhampshire [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

The Orchard Orb Weavers have red markings on the belly, but, are much smaller than Brown Widows.

Red-Bellied Watersnakes. An unusual group photo, probably one female in the tangle being pursued by 3 males.
Vicki DeLoach [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

The Red-Bellied Watersnake is common in South Carolina. They are non-venomous.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Right now, striking plants that are grown in many yards, and in cemeteries, and along roadsides are capturing our attention. Yuccas are tough, hardy plants that can persist for years and years without care and right now are blooming their hearts out. With flowering panicles that can be three feet by two feet and supported on stalks that can reach twelve feet in height, their masses of showy white blossoms top the charts for the WOW factor.

An Anhinga.
Wknight94 [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

A listener spots some "crazy" birds at Hunting Beach State Park...

Mullberry Trees

Jun 8, 2018
Leaves and fruit of a White Mulberry tree.
stux [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

There are two kinds of Mulberry trees in South Carolina. The White Mulberry was introduced. The Red Mulberry is native.

Hellgrammite

Jun 7, 2018
A Hellgrammite.
Bob Henricks [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Not fond of Dobson Flies? You won't like its larval form much better.

Snakes and Lizards

Jun 6, 2018
A Black Rat Snake.
Stephen Lody Photography [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Listeners report sights of snakes... and of an snake "impersonator."

Spotted Wintergreen

Jun 5, 2018
Spotted Wintergreen in flower, with fruit.
dogtooth77 [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) is a "lovely little plant."

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Chinese wisteria, began its journey to Western countries through the efforts of a British employee of the East India Company. John Reeves was a tea inspector who arrived in Canton in 1812. Foreigners were restricted to the port, travel and exploration were prohibited, but the markets were filled with all sorts of plant and animal treasures and Reeves became an important naturalist. He shipped many plants to England, working closely with one of the twelve approved Chinese merchants.

Cannonball Jellyfish

Jun 4, 2018
Cannonball Jellyfish at Smyrna Dunes Park.
Andrea Westmoreland [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Found on Folly Beach...

A Bard Owl
John Triana [CC BY 3.0 US], Regional Water Authority, Bugwood.org

Why would Crows harass Bard Owls?

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly
James Holland [CC BY-NC 3.0 US], Bugwood.org

A listener spots a Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.

A Brown-Headed Cowbird
naturespicsonline.com [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A Brown-Headed Cowbird is a brood parasite.

Wood Storks

May 29, 2018
Wood Stork
Irene Atkinson, Bugwood.org

A listener spots a pair of Wood Storks...

Mantis Shrimp

May 28, 2018
A Mantis Shrimp
Roy L. Caldwell, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley (National Science Foundation) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This shrimp has front appendages reminiscent of the those on a Praying Mantis.

Managable Wistarias

May 26, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The world, or rather the United States, would be a better place if we could get rid of all the Asian wisterias that have gone rogue and are taking over woodlands and abandoned and yards and houses (I’ve seen it growing into an attic when a window pane was gone). Our much less aggressive native wisterias are still vigorous vines that need a well-built trellis to support them but they’re not going to go haywire.

Heart Urchin

May 25, 2018
A Heart Urchin, Brissus latecarinatus.
Philippe Bourjon [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

An interesting find on Fripp Island...

Native Wistarias

May 25, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Making It Grow and Clemson Extension . There are two native wisterias I’ve found listed, Wisteria frutescens and Wisteria macrostachya. Sometimes Wisteria macrostachya is listed as a subspecies of frutescens but its inflorescence is longer and looser than in Wistaria frutescens according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. It prefers moist even swampy sites but s perfectly adaptable to normal garden soils.

Ring Necked Pheasant

May 24, 2018
A Ring Necked Pheasant
Becky Matsubura [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A beautiful bird spotted in Ridgeway--is it native?

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The National Park Service Exotic Plant Management Teams are responsible duties related to invasive plant species growing in 230 national sites. Recently the seventeenth team was created just for the Southeast coast.  Lauren Serra heads this   team   from her base at the Congaree National Park.

Two Eastern Box Turtles cross the road.
Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr

Now that summer is approaching, it’s a common occurrence to see turtles crawling across roadways in South Carolina (and many other states). Ever wondered why that is? In honor of World Turtle Day, I spoke with Cris Hagen, Director of Animal Management at the Turtle Survival Center, a program of the Turtle Survival Alliance, in Charleston.

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