Red, White, and Blue all around the Arboretum!Each year Americans commemorate the 4th of July with bright firework displays and good eats. This federal holiday signifies the adoption of one of our nation’s most important documents, the Declaration of Independence. BBQs, baseball games, and other celebratory events will be held nationwide this Wednesday to remember the day in which the U.S. officially announced its sovereignty from Great Britain.
There has been plenty of debate as to what the colors of the American flag actually stand for. According to Our Flag, a book published by the House of Representatives in 1989, the colors red, white, and blue were strategically selected to embody the values and beliefs held by our Founding Fathers.
“The colors of the [the vertical stripes] are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.”
Here at the Arboretum, we thought it would be neat to see how our national pride is represented in nature.
We found some Red-eared Slider turtles swimming around our swamps the other day. These are one of our favorite, and most visible, Arboretum critters. These turtles spend a lot of time basking in the sunshine of the pond’s edge, so they’re easy to spot. At the first hint of danger, they slide into the safety of the open water.
With all the unusual critters running around our property, it wasn’t too hard to find something white. Right outside our office windows, we found a Black and Yellow Garden Spider (often referred to as a corn spider), spinning a lustrous silky web. The heavy white zig zag, called stabilimenta, adds strength or stability to the web. The purpose of web stabilimenta is unknown, though some believe it may attract prey, provide structural stability, or even prevent birds from flying through the webs. What is known is that only spiders that are active in daytime use stabilimenta.
Near our swamp, we also found some Blue Water Leafs. For all you botany lovers, these beautiful blue hued beauties are considered to be perennial herbs that are traditionally found in large colonies near small bodies of water like ponds and streams. Their attractive flowers and buds lure in countless pollinators from hummingbirds to butterflies and bees. This spiny, yet sturdy plant has rough hairs which makes it an ideal flora for our Post-Oak Savannah.
Just a reminder – our building will be closed on Wednesday, the 4th, but we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!