Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Canadian Clearweed

Canadian Clearweed
Pilea pumila
Canadian Clearweed, an unassuming common little native plant, has several claims to fame. For wildlife, it's a host plant to many species of butterflies, including Milbert's Tortoiseshell, Comma, Question Mark, and Red Admiral. For all the caterpillars feeding on it, the leaves are quite durable and are often intact late into the season.

The second claim to fame is for biology teachers. The leaves are somewhat translucent and so you can see water in the veins if the water is colored.

The third, and most hopeful, is that scientists have learned that this plant has the ability to co-exist with the dreaded Garlic Mustard! Wild Ramblings discusses it in detail, but it seems that it has evolved over time to be able to get along with Garlic Mustard. Researchers are still studying this in detail to see if they can figure out the mechanism.


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