Wonderful world of native plants

The wonders of pine cones and the trees that produce them


On June 20, the Taos Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico welcomes Renee Galeanno-Popp, founder of Project Pine Cone, as the speaker at our monthly meeting at 6 p.m. in the boardroom of the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, 118 Cruz Alta Road.

Galeanno-Popp will introduce us to her Project Pine Cone, which has enabled her to collect pine cones from more than 76 species around the world. In addition, she will also discuss the natural history of pines, entertaining and informing us about the members of the Pinaceae family of conifers, particularly the species native to Northern New Mexico.

The word "conifer" means cone-bearing. They are gymnosperms ("naked seeds"), woody plants that do not produce flowers and are mostly evergreen trees.

Conifers have needle-shaped evergreen leaves and seeds attached to the scales of a woody cone. They are a major source of softwood timber, resins and turpentines. There are over 600 species of conifers, including the world's oldest trees, the Great Basin bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva), and the largest trees, the giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) of California's Sierra Nevada.

On Saturday, June 23, she will conduct a workshop on conifer identification. Beginning with an overview of conifer classification and morphology in New Mexico, she will also give a quick overview of their ecology and distribution in the state before leading a tour of a private conifer arboretum. Reservations are required as seating is limited.

Members of the native plant society and attendees of the Wednesday talk will be given first priority. Book your place at the meeting June 20, email TaosNPS@gmail.com or call Jan at (575) 751-0511.

Galeanno-Popp has a bachelor's degree in botany and a master's degree in forest ecology. Now a resident of Colorado, she spent 25 years in the U.S. Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico, including three years as regional botanist in Albuquerque and eight years as assistant director of fish, wildlife and plants on the Lincoln National Forest in Southern New Mexico.

New book out

The Colorado Native Plant Society has published the 3rd Edition of "Common Southwestern Native Plants: An Identification Guide", by Jack Carter, Martha Carter, Donna Stevens and Jennifer Bousselot. According to a press release, this edition has been expanded to include nearly 200 plants native to the Southwestern United States.

It is an ideal book for beginning hikers and experienced plant lovers alike. Jack and Martha Carter, longtime members of NPSNM now living in Colorado, accurately point out that "it is so colorful (thanks to several CoNPS photographers!) and well-formatted that it can be used as a coffee table book." This beautiful book can be purchased at our meetings and at special events for $22 (retail price $25).

Snap that Plant photo contest

The Native Plant Society of New Mexico has announced its first statewide Native Plant Photo Contest, Snap That Plant.

Do you enjoy taking photos of all the wonderful diverse plant species of New Mexico? Got some awesome photos to share? We want to see them. We are calling on all photographers, young and old, to join us in our exploration of New Mexico's native plants.

Submit your native plant images in the wild or in gardens: using plants as food or medicine; interacting with people, animals, or insects, you name it. We want to showcase our community members and highlight the beauty of the Southwest. Get creative!

Selected photographs will be featured in NPSNM publications and social media as well as in our 2019 Native Plant Calendar. You could win awesome prizes, get your photos featured locally or statewide while joining the fun in spreading awareness of native plants.

For more information on the contest and how to submit your photos visit: npsnm.org/summer-photo-contest

Join in on the fun and support the education and outreach efforts of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico: npsnm.org/about/join/

Our monthly meetings, open to the public, are usually held on the third Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the boardroom of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, 118 Cruz Alta Rd. Look for updates on our chapter webpage, npsnm.org/about/chapters/taos, or our Facebook page (search for "Native Plant Society New Mexico Taos Chapter"), or call (575) 751-0511, email TaosNPS@gmail.com.

Videos of past meetings can be found at: tinyurl.com/mhds73l.

How to contact us

This column is printed every second Thursday of the month. For questions or suggestions, please contact us at TaosNPS@gmail.com or call 751-0511. Martenson is the president of the Taos Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico and a member of the board of NPSNM.