Jumping Worms
Image by Tim Kennelty

Episode 18: Jumping Worms

Episode 18: Jumping Worms

Jumping worms (also know as crazy worms) are invading gardens, lawns and forests throughout the Hudson Valley. Get the latest information about these pests from Josef Gorres (University of Vermont) and how to identify and manage them on your lot. Then, Jean Thomas explains the meaning behind many botanical plant names. A worthwhile listen!

Hosts: Tim Kennelty and Jean Thomas

Guest:: Joseph Gorez

Photo by: Tim Kennelty

Production Support: Linda Aydlett and Teresa Golden


Jumping Worms: http://ccecolumbiagreene.org/resources/jumping-worm-fact-sheet; https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialanimals/jumping-worm/index.html; https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Invasives/fact/jumpingWorm.html

It’s all Greek (Jean Thomas):Plant Finder (missouribotanicalgarden.org) ; Explore Cornell - Home Gardening - Introduction ; https://mathcs.clarku.edu/~djoyce/iris; Etymonline - Online Etymology Dictionary


Welcome to Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley. Our team's goal is to present science based information about gardening and all things nature in New York's Hudson Valley. Hosts Jean and Tim, along with team members, Teresa and Linda, are Master Gardener Volunteers for New York's Columbia and Greene counties. So if you're interested in gardening or nature or nuggets of information about what's happening outside your door, settle in, enjoy the conversation. Whatever the season, we have something to say.

Musical segue

Tim: Hi, I'm Tim Kennelty.

Jean: And I'm Jean Thomas.

Tim: And welcome to another episode of Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley, who we talking to today, Jean?

Jean: Oh, we're talking to Professor Josef Görres of the University of Vermont.

Tim: This is a really special interview because I know so many people have questions about jumping worms that are out there, those exotic earthworms that are doing so much damage, and so many people have them now. And he's an expert on this. He's from the University of Vermont. And he studies ecology of soils. It's a really informative interview.

Jean: He knows everything about all the different little critters that live in the soil and how they interact.

Tim: Right, and how the jumping worms got here and what kind of damage they're doing.

Jean: And he has a very interesting perspective on things.

Tim: He does, he does, he's pretty hopeful, which is a really good thing, because a lot of times you'll read something, or you'll hear something about the jumping worms. And people talk all about the damage and all about how bad they are. But they don't really talk about what we can do about them. And he is doing a lot of research in that area. And I think he is kind of on the brink of coming up with some possible solutions.

Jean: And he sounds a whole lot more realistic than a lot of other people we've been talking

Tim: Yeah, his advice is basically if you're upset about it meditate, which I liked.

Jean: I liked the meditation.

Tim: Yeah. Or levitate, or levitate. And we have another episode of It's Greek to Me.

Jean: Oh, we got some good stuff.

Tim: And what are you talking about It's All Greek to Me today?

Jean: Well, about the Latin names. And a lot of people get intimidated by speaking the Latin when they're talking about the plants.

Tim: Yeah, I mean, I get intimidated by the pronunciation. I know there's some websites that actually will read the pronunciation for you. But that's one of the things I'm intimidated by. But they're super logical, right? I mean, the a lot of the names really describe the plant very well.

Jean: It's the description of the plant and it tells you what family belongs in and all that kind of stuff.

Tim: Okay, this should be an interesting episode, stay tuned.

Musical segue

Tim: Hi, and welcome to Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley. I'm Tim Kennelty.

Jean: And I'm Jean Thomas.

Tim: We're really excited to have as our guest Professor Josef Görres. Professor Görres teaches at the University of Vermont and is an expert on soil physical properties, soil fauna, and ecological management for soil quality. Wow. We as Master Gardeners know how important soil is. And today we're going to talk about a pest that's really destructive to our soils. And it's disrupting the balance of ecosystems. The jumping worm, welcome, Proferssor Görres. How you doing today?

Josef: I'm pretty well, thank you for having me on the program

Tim: No, we're really we're really happy to have you here. We get so many questions on this topic. And it's of really great concern to many of us in the Hudson Valley. So we're really, really happy to have you here. And we're going to ask you lots of questions, I think.

Josef: Oh, dear.

Tim: So I know there's there are earthworms from Europe. How would I know the difference between an Asian jumping worm and a European earthworm?

Josef: Well, first of all, they're both earthworms, right? So that's why it's so difficult to talk about them in a in a bad way, right? Because we're thinking of jumping worms as being negative in the ecosystem. Whereas our feeling about European earthworms doing all sorts of great things, right. So, but I would like you to think of that as, revise that opinion as well. So I'm going to get to that but I'm first going to tell you how to distinguish between the two of them.

Tim: Great.

Josef: The first one, the first thing to look for, is do they have a clitellum which is that ring around the collar that you see. So for jumping worms, which is as I said, a group of species, what you're looking for is that clitellum all the way around the body, and that it is very clearly offset by color from the rest of the body. And so even you see that here in north eastern part of the US and probably most of the US, then that would mean that you have a jumping worm. And you don't know which species it is, but you definitely know it's part of that group of jumping worms that we have.

Tim: You really can't determine from size at all.

Josef: Well, no, you cannot, not very easily.

Tim: So size is not a way ... okay. I know, I know, I unfortunately have them in my garden. I know their movement is different from other worms, right?

Josef: They move like snakes. And, and one other thing is, if you're not too scared to take them into your hand, they're feisty, they're really, really strong. They feel muscular. They're not probably not more muscular than in the European worms, but they have a higher hydrostatic pressure, which makes them feel really strong. And like balloony blown up, you know,

Tim: I've had them, I think, have tried to get out of buckets even so I completely understand what you're saying.

Josef: They're very vigorous escape artists want in our stomach for experimental units we tried to keep them in. And there's two things that seem to have worked one is sort of a laundry bag. So for fine final laundry that you can stick them in, and you can zip that closed and, and they don't get out of that. But if you have like a plastic shoe box with a lid on, it squeeze past the lid.

Jean: Oh, man, you've just described a phrase that people have talked about for years, and they say that's a bag of worms. Oh my god.

Tim: So here in the Hudson Valley, if we're seeing an earthworm in our garden, it's probably European or from Japan or China. Right? Is that correct?

Josef: Yeah, 99% I would say that is correct. So there are some earth ones that have made it further north that. But they're very, very rare. You one of them would probably find in wetlands. And the other one can be in other places. But so it's there's probably three or four native earthworms that we we could potentially find if we looked hard enough, but you have to look hard. Do they

Jean: Do they look different?

Josef: Yeah, so some of them are very, very small. They they look different, yet definitely don't have that that ring around the collar that goes all the way around the body of the earthworm. Um. for sure.

Tim: When I was first gardening, or when I was gardening with my parents, we always heard that earthworms were like so positive. If you had earthworms, they were good for the soil. They aerated soil. Is that not true with even European earthworms? I know that jumping worms do a lot of damage. And you can talk to us about that. But is that is that not true with European worms?


Well, so let's let's talk about your garden. So in the garden, that there certainly will help with aeration and an infiltration of water. So that's, that's very positive, right. And they also help with decomposition of organic matter that you put out there. Like for example, you, if you put some kind of mulch on there, or you add an organic fertilizer like manure or compost, then they will accelerate the decomposition of that.

Tim: The European or farms we're talking about now, right?

Josef: And the other. So I mean, they will do they will do exactly the same that in that sense, the difference between them is that the the jumping worms create castings taht are very, very loose. And so there's a couple of problems with that, right. So the first problem is that it is possible that some plants don't root very well in in that very loose casting layer. And the second problem is that loose casting layer is probably susceptible to erosion. And so if you have a have a garden that's on a on a slope near get a big rainfall, you're probably going to get more erosion of that soil then you want, if it's bare soil. You know, so I mean, if if you have a good plant cover, then maybe that's that's not the case. But if you know, let's say in the fall, you cleaned up, cleaned up your garden, you got a big rainfall, you're on a slope, there goes some of that soil. So those are two negative things that that we can report about the earthworms from Asia.

Tim: So I mentioned it has all kinds of impacts on on things like that are that are overwintering in that layer as well like salamanders and things like that. I mean, do we know the the impact of of losing that layer? It fully know what's what's happening?

Josef: Well, we certainly know that there is that there is an impact on the vegetation structure in that forest right so you're losing a lot of the land A story you have the understory of vegetation. And that has a couple of effects. So the first effect is that once you have all the nice pretty plants that grow in the springtime, some of the more herbaceous plants gone, because of the earthworms, then what is left are usually more woody things that that are still in a sapling stage. And so if deer comes through there, that's the only thing they have to eat. So they will, they will chew on that. And that's the end of the recipe. That's the end of the regeneration of, of the tree species in there. So you know, if you, if you start cutting, cutting those trees, there's probably not enough there's probably not enough saplings to to regenerate the canopy, that the top top of the of that forest floor, that forest structure. The other thing that that can happen is, so just imagine you are you're a bird like that nests on the ground. So it's not a tree nesting, but a ground nesting bird. And so these birds probably rely on a very dense understory vegetation to protect them from nest predators. So once that understory is gone, due to the action of the combined action of the deer and the earthworms, then those nests are open to be seen by all predators. And so you probably get a lot more predations.

Tim: So I've also heard maybe this is true or not true that that if you have jumping worms, then you're more likely not to have European norms anymore. Are they pushing out the European worms as well?

Josef: Yes, so that's a really, really good point to make. So at least here in the Northeast, we don't find many places in the forest, where you see both the jumping worms and the European worms. But if I, if I went into, we're gonna get to this in a second why that might be. But if I go into my compost pile in my backyard, and I do have these worms, I'm over it though now. So you know, I'm trying to find ways to get rid of them.

Tim: You have to talk to us. And then if you're, you have to tell us how you got through that.

Josef: You got it, you got to meditate or levitate. Levitate is even better than mediation.

Tim: Yeah, meditate and levitate.

Josef: Yeah, be above it. That's great. Anyway, anyway, so in my compost pile, where there's ample resources, lots and lots of organic matter, I see both of them. I see a good amount of, of the jumping once in a good amount of, you know, Granny's old worms. And I think it all comes down to how much resource is there. So that means, you know, organic matters that these ones are living on. And in the forest, you know, you have you have, you know, a pretty narrow window during which you have resources available when there's jumping worms. So that's a jumping once we get into forest and they will deplete the last, the last year's leaf fall within two or three months, so by August, there's nothing left. And a lot of the European ones are kind of the snooze in the summer, and they're active in the fall in the spring. Whereas the jumping ones are active in the summer and so they basically get at that resource in the summer. They're depleted and then you know, whoever snoozes loses. And the other potential effect on plant roots is that the earthworms are disturbing the soil in such a way that they also interrupt the the mycorrhizal fungi plant association. So, mycorrhiza are creatures of fungi in the soil that that make a strong connection to roots. In fact, in fact plant roots and basically, this is this is helping the plant to get more phosphorus out of the soil because you know, with the mycorrhizi the reach of the plant root is further so it allows it allows a greater volume of soil to be mined for phosphorus. Phosphorus tends to be very rare in the soil. I mean, we have a lot of phosphorus in the soil, but the available phosphorus is very, very low. So, in places where phosphorus is very limiting, mycorrhizi it makes a big difference and so if you but if if the worms are able to disrupt that connection between the plant root and mycorrhizi, then that benefit is gone.

Tim: And not to get too philosophical about this, but it's kind of like, if we draw the line between people who have them and don't have them.

Josef: Absolutely.

Tim: And obviously, if you don't have them, and we can talk about this, your ways to avoid them, but if you do have them, not just what do you do to treat them, but like, do I not worry that about bringing plants in from other places?

Josef: If you already have them, then your order of, you know, your orders for me would be to try and get rid of them. The problem with that is it's very difficult to get rid of them. So you have to, but you could potentially lower the density by by doing certain things and I'm sure we're gonna get to that later on. Right so but but in terms of this, this loaded question, should I care bringing more ones on property? So if you bring keep bringing them in, you have you have like, fat cat's chance in hell to get rid of them.

Tim: So we really should be cautious even if we have them. It's not kind of this laissez faire, I don't really care about what garden center I go to or where I get my plants, you still need to be very cautious.

Josef: Yeah, I think it I think it's probably good practice to be cautious. Yeah, sure, you can say I haven't already what do I care? Right. So. So, what we found in what my graduate student, Maryam Nouri Aiin is her name, found in, in her research is that, that these ones, even though they are thought to be clonal, that they are far from being not diverse genetically. So they are very diverse genetically. Some are more diverse than others, you know, but Amynthas agrestis seems to be super diverse.

Tim: Well, so you've answered my question, though, because you have to be cautious as a gardener about bringing in any kind of mulch or soil, whether you have them or you don't have them. So there really isn't a dividing line as much. But if you don't have them, you really don't want to bring in plants from somebody else's garden who might have them, right?

Josef: Absolutely.

Tim: So tempting, so tempting.

Josef: It is super tempting, super tempting. Ah, don't be tempted.

Tim: Can you really be assured that today's plant is not going to have any of those? I mean, I would like not tell people to do that, at this point, I'd tell them to buy a bare root plant or something, you know.

Josef: You could do that. I mean, you could do bare roots, you could say, Can you can I have some seed of this plant?

Jean: Or cutting?

Jean: Cut it, can I have a cutting of it? For sure. Or sometimes even a small small piece of fruit, we'll do it right. So find out how the plant is best propagated and then try and get a clean a clean piece of that propagation, of that of that seed, of that stem or whatever you want.

Tim: And what about mulch? Do you would I assume advise people to be very careful, at the very least about bringing something like mulch or soil onto their property if they don't have them, right?

Josef: If they don't have them, be careful with the mulch.

Tim: I'm going to talk about me, I have them in my garden. I'm sure many, many other gardeners too, because we get these questions all the time. So I have kind of a multi part question. When will I start seeing them in the season? And I guess what, what can I do? Uh, I know that you're doing some research. So you know, what, what, what can I do in the short term? And then is there anything on the horizon that that we might give us a little bit of hope in terms of what we can do?

Josef: Sure. So when what do you see them during the season? So depends on which ones you have. Most likely, if you have the three that we are mostly concerned about, you'll probably start seeing them around about beginning, for the Northeast, beginning of April.


So does it make any sense when you start seeing them as adults to start pulling them? I mean, I throw them in rubbing alcohol, but the thing of the rub to try to kill them as quickly as possible, because I don't want them to suffer suffer. They're, they're a living thing. I mean, it doesn't make sense to go out and start doing it, then it does that help at all to kind of get that first generation under control a little bit.


Yeah, so absolutely. And you've been super busy, though.

Tim: I know. And we have to do a podcast. So how we're gonna do that?

Josef: Yeah, you won't have time to collect them all. But you if you collect them, you know, collect them while you're reading, while you're doing other things in the garden. You know, so you kind of double dip on your garden chores. You know, one chore is to collect them, the other choice to pull the weeds out.

Tim: It makes you feel better, but does it I mean, does it practically do you think it makes a difference at all to collect them? I mean, obviously, there's a you know, satisfaction and knowing that you're eliminating some of them but I mean, do you think that that with the density of them that it matters?

Josef: It could matter if you do this, if you do this on a regular basis, it might matter. I think what is more important is to try and disrupt their home, right? I think in the end, it's going to come down to not just collecting them, but a number of different different measures that you can take. So disrupt the ecosystem, collect them, that's kind of disrupting the ecosystem as well.

Tim: You think so? Yes. I mean, again, we're looking for some help here. I mean, there's some treatments that and maybe you can talk about some of the ones that you're studying, or people have looked at, I know, I tried Tea Tree pellets and things like that. They kill them. The question is just, I mean, do you think that we will find something and what are we working on now?

Josef: The first thing I want to say here, before I answer that question properly is, there is no certified vermicide, right. So whatever you're doing, if you look at the label of any of those pieces of pixie dust that are out there, they're not labeled for earthworms. Tea Tree seed extract stuff helps, that works.

Tim: But they do come back. I mean, I killed many, many worms, but they come back.

Josef: They come back, because I think that it does not kill the cocoon. So cocoons, the cocoons are protecting the embryo really embryo from all sorts of things really well. Other things that you can try this upon inside in regular soap. And if you have a soap solution that is relatively dilute this might, this might work for you. The the thing I have to tell you is a) once again, it's you'll be using it as a vermicide. Dish soap doesn't have a label that says, kills worms, legally. And then the other thing I have to tell you is that if the soap solution is too strong, it'll also maybe not kill but damage plants. So they're grow slower, there'll be behind for a while. That's, that's a distinct possibility. But if you go out there before you plant your garden, and you put some soap solution out there, then the plants are not there yet. And if you kind of irrigate that stuff in the little bit more, it's probably okay to put it in there. But don't blame me if you suddenly have you know, mutant broccoli or something.

Jean: But very clean.

Josef: Well, some people say broccolis mutant anyway, so ...

Tim: And what else what else? I mean, have you been doing experimentation other chemical compounds and other biological?

Josef: So, we were putting our money on no not really our money on it, but we're spending money on on entomopathogenic fungi. So, those are fungi that are used in the industry already to kill insects. Right, so we believe that, because it's already certified for a wide range of organisms, and for a wide range of plants, that and wide range of situations that it'll be easier for us to get a certification for that. So the, the two that we have worked with the most are Metarhizium anisopliae and the other one is Beauveria bassiana. So one is I think the trade name is Met Master, and this is Metarhizium anisopliae and for the Beauveria bassiana is BotaniGard.

Tim: And they're already out there and being used as insecticides for other purposes.

Josef: Right. So, the discovery that we had is that if you do it right, and you prepare that product properly, you can get up to 80% mortality in in pots. So in greenhouses and pots, the problem is that soil is a totally different thing that's in the soil, the Metarhizium or the Beauveria would be competing with other things. So what we what we do with the Beauveria is we grow it on millet. So the millet will be something that allow the fungus to survive longer. And at the same time millet is actually a pretty good, seems to be a pretty good worm food. So they it's like maybe like a bait even it'll take three or four weeks after the ones have eaten the millet or after we apply the millet even not sure whether they would have eaten it, I think they would. You would that's how long it takes for them to die. So the fungus has to grow inside them, has to produce a certain toxin. While it's growing. It has to take over a bunch of body parts. Um, and you know, but after three, four weeks, you probably get 80% death rate, that's 80%. So, it does not mean necessarily that that the other 20% of the worms that survived that they are resistant to this, this thing. It could be about, but it means that poor chance to survive, because then they may not have eaten the stuff or may not have been gotten in contact with it, because the fungus can also grow or penetrate, penetrate into through the, through the skin. So it may not just be ingestion, it may also be just contact. But it's possible that that 20% just don't, don't be in contact with it, you know, so...

Tim: And so I don't really understand timelines for research like this. So if you're so if you're doing research, and you're hoping to get certification for this, like what realistically, for something like that, if I'm a gardener, and I'm kind of sitting here thinking like when do I think there might be a product on the market that I could actually use for this purpose? Is it you know, two years out? Is that 10 years out what's your guess?

Josef: My guess it could be out in a couple of years.

Tim: Do you think there's an understanding in the industry, in academia, in kind of the corporate world of the potential damage this particular pest can do? And is there any kind of urgency around, you know, addressing the situation?

Josef: Before I answer that, I wanted to say that we are working on a on a way that the homeowner can produce their own millet that is inoculated. So having said that, and so within probably six months, we'll have a protocol for doing that. But to answer this question is boy up people are interested in in, in the regulatory world, doing something about this, right? So first of all, in in New York State, you have you have, you have a law that says, you know, you can't have these worms. Here in Vermont, that's not quite as gone as far as that, that there's some kind of regulation, but they're now they're now actually real, real invasive, invasive species, they have the stamp of approval, the stamp of stamp of invasiveness now on them. And I know that the natural resource people, so agency of natural resources, and various other forestry people are really worried about them. And of course, the maple, maple syrup producers are worried because they're worried about, about the sugar bush, not regenerating the next 50 years, because the ones are there, because of what we talked about earlier, you know that the worms are really worms, the worms and the DR, reducing the number of saplings that that will make it into the canopy when there's a gap. Anyway, so yeah, I think that I mean, everybody from homeowner to nursery owner to, to forest people that are interested in this, right? It's really difficult, because it's, it's a, we we don't really have anything that we can say this is certified, or we have, here's here's a method that seems to work, but we haven't done we haven't done the research on it, you know, we haven't done 20 trials, because trials are expensive, and who pays for this, right? So there is no federal agency that really gets it. We have we had five USDA, big USDA grants in. now we should get, you know, the reviewers will rank you and they'll say there will still be like five reviews of the two that say excellent and fund. And then there'll be one that says good. And there'll be two that say don't fund not important, you know, that kind of thing. And so then then that that is gone, it's just that, then what are you gonna do? You know, so we're lucky that we have two anonymous donors that have helped us get as far as this. And to thanks to them. But the agencies, they don't I mean, the ones that give big grants that are necessary to the trials of what works and what doesn't work. They're just not interested.

Tim: I think we need like a closing question that gives hope. We're about to blow your brains out. So tell us so tell us I guess we kind of close here. Tell us kind of in a nutshell. Like what's the what's the future and what's the hope that you have so that gardeners can walk away and not just have to meditate and drink heavily but have a little bit of hope?

Josef: Yeah, so my hope is that within a few years, and so let's say two years, we have something that you that is certified that they can apply. It doesn't necessarily mean that they can get rid of those worms, right. But they're going to reduce them. And that's, that's probably the most important thing. When you reduce the worms, number of worms that you have in your garden, you also reduce the amount of castings you have, which means that you have you have your eggplant that stands up straight, rather than fall over. So I think that is possible.

Jean: Okay, Professor Görres, I'm going to call you Ray from now on, because you're our little ray of hope. We want to thank you so much for joining us and giving us all this detail. And actually, we're insanely grateful for a ray of hope. It's just crazy out there. And we also want to thank you for your advice on levitation and bag of worms and things like that.

Tim: And maybe you'll come back and give us some good news in in six months or a year, maybe you'd be willing to do that.

Josef: Six, six months is probably a good idea. Come back in six months, and we will have done a whole bunch of trials. We're just not doing trials on cocoons and with entomopathogenic fungi, so within six months, we should have more good news.

Jean: We'll be there

Tim: We'll be levitating in between thank you so much.

Josef: Yes, please.

Tim: Thank you.

Josef: Well, thank you for having me.

You're listening to Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley.

Stay tuned for It's All Greek to Me.

Jean: Hello, everyone, this is Jean Thomas. And I'm here to tell you, It's All Greek to Me. It's time for another look at the fascinating world of jargon, acronyms, and the dreaded Latin. Some of us are language nerds and enjoy the heck out of some names. It could be because we like the sound of the name or because we like the story behind the name. It could also be because we'd like to show off. I have a friend in the medical field who insists his patients are only satisfied if he gives them some Latin in his diagnosis. So for those who must have the authority of a Latin diagnosis for a common cold, he just rattled off the name of a plant when guy went home happy as a clam because he had a case of the rare amelanchier canadensis. Oh, that's a spring flowering native shrub. One of my favorite plant names is Metasequoiaglyptostroboides, for two reasons. One is that it's so much fun to say. Try it. I'll wait.

Jean: Wasn't that fun? The other thing I like about it is the backstory of the history and prehistory of the plant. It breaks down like this. The Greek meta means akin to so meta Sequoia means akin to Sequoia. We're all familiar with the giant sequoia trees. So the name tells us this is considered a biological relative to the sequoia tree. Glyptostroboides means like glyptostrobus, which is the Chinese swamp Cypress and other related tree. The glypto part of the word refers to the unique markings on their combs, which are similar in both trees. So in brief, the grand and glorious name for the dawn Redwood is just a pair of references to other plants in this unusual family of trees. The common name, Dawn Redwood, refers to the fact that this tree was considered to be an extinct tree from the dawn of prehistory when it got discovered in China around 1950. It has since become a familiar sight in many gardens and arboreta. But that's another story. There's a link on the web page, check it out.

Jean: Another one of my favorites is the common Iris. Iris is so common that there are six subdivisions or sub genera with over 300 species, and there are native Iris found in most of the world. They are one of the very most popular perennials in home gardens. The genus name was designated by the great Linnaeus himself. He's a scientist who started the whole binomial nomenclature system by which every known plant has a name that's the same anywhere in the world of science. He named the genus Iris after the Greek goddess of the rainbow, because as we know, Iris flowers are in every color of the rainbow. I love the flowers, whether the so called German or Siberian or Japanese types, they are all elegant and fairly easy to grow. But I went down a rabbit hole, because I became curious curious about the story behind the goddess in Greek mythology. I found out that Iris had Sisters, they were the Harpies, who were half woman and half bird. They were originally goddesses of the storm winds, but their reputations got smeared by Homer. And there's a rumor that Iris' only child was called Pathos. You know, like the house plant. This stuff can lead me astray at the hint of gossip. And let's face it, mythology and history, if you think about it, are just giant sources of gossip.

Jean: As I reviewed the previous parts of this talk, I realized that I'm guilty of committing jargon sins. I casually referred to arboreta. Like everyone knows what that means. Arboretum is the singular of the word and comes from the Latin for tree, arbor, and the suffix tom. Tom is comparable to our dom, in English, as in kingdom. So the whole word beans place of trees, it's a tree collection or tree museum. Many public parks, botanical gardens and college grounds are designated arboreta. There you could find tree collections, and the really good ones have maps or labels on their trees and shrubs. Next time, let's consider the origins for the names of some of the most popular garden perennials in the world.

Musical segue

That concludes another episode of Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley. We'd like to thank Sandra Linnell and Devin Connolly from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene counties for production support. And a special thank you to our listeners for joining us on this episode of Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley. You can find links to any of the topics mentioned in this episode at our website at CCEcolumbiagreene.org. Comments and suggestions for future topics may be directed to us at ColumbiagreeneMGV@cornell.edu or on the CCE Master Gardener Volunteers of Columbia and Greene County's Facebook page. For more information about Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene counties, visit our website at CCE Columbia green.org or visit us in Hudson or in Acra. Cornell Cooperative Extension provides equal programming and employment opportunities.

Last updated May 26, 2022