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Tardigrades Aren't Microscopic Any More

This is the back of the tardigrade hoodie,

Tardigrades, also known as the water bears, are microscopic animals but they're not microscopic any more! They're featured prominently on the...

This is the back of the tardigrade hoodie,
This is the back of the tardigrade hoodie, "The Bohart Republic." It's available in the gift shop at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. The art, reminiscent of the California Bear Flag, is by Charlotte Herbert Alberts, an entomology doctoral student. The Bohart has its own flag! (Photo by Fran Keller)

This is the back of the tardigrade hoodie, "The Bohart Republic." It's available in the gift shop at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. The art, reminiscent of the California Bear Flag, is by Charlotte Herbert Alberts, an entomology doctoral student. The Bohart has its own flag! (Photo by Fran Keller)

The California Bear Flag features a grizzly bear. The California State Legislature adopted the  official version of the Bear Flag in 1911 in a law signed by then Gov. Hiram Johnson in 1911.
The California Bear Flag features a grizzly bear. The California State Legislature adopted the official version of the Bear Flag in 1911 in a law signed by then Gov. Hiram Johnson in 1911.

The California Bear Flag features a grizzly bear. The California State Legislature adopted the official version of the Bear Flag in 1911 in a law signed by then Gov. Hiram Johnson in 1911.

The Professors: Fran Keller, assistant professor at Folsom Lake College, and Jason Bond, Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, are surrounded by hooded sweatshirts available for sale at the Bohart Museum. Keller, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, designed the hoodies. Bond, a spider expert, will be presenting displays at the Bohart Museum's open house on March 9. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Professors: Fran Keller, assistant professor at Folsom Lake College, and Jason Bond, Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, are surrounded by hooded sweatshirts available for sale at the Bohart Museum. Keller, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, designed the hoodies. Bond, a spider expert, will be presenting displays at the Bohart Museum's open house on March 9. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The Professors: Fran Keller, assistant professor at Folsom Lake College, and Jason Bond, Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, are surrounded by hooded sweatshirts available for sale at the Bohart Museum. Keller, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, designed the hoodies. Bond, a spider expert, will be presenting displays at the Bohart Museum's open house on March 9.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, February 15, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Violets in Winter

While trying to decide what to write this blog on, I glanced out my family room window and saw some of my violets still blooming, not as many as during December through January.  The leaves that were few and far between in late October are growing as most of the violets die back.

Some of you might know these plants by its many common names, the botanical name is Viola odorata,  Some of its common names are, garden, sweet, wood violet and of course common.

Several years ago, I brought home a very small container of violets from my parents home to remember their Vacaville garden.  It was the “plants to grow" back then. Almost every garden had them.  So this small container came with me to Fairfield.  I didn't know much about gardening then, ( I am still learning, new things every day )but I soon learned it didn't take them long to move from the small container to a small patch of soil.  Now they are all over, growing in cracks in the cement and clear across the yard from where they started from.  YES, they are invasive, once they move in, they do not leave no matter how you try. You think you have removed all of them, then turn around guess what, they are back.

But there is a good side to them.  In the winter, most of the leaves die back and the purple violets bloom. So they do add some color on a cold winter day. In the summer, they might have a few stray violets but not many, they mostly leaves then.

Oh yes, I took some back to the garden they came from, so now my granddaughter and her husband can enjoy plants from her great-grandparents yard.

Violet photo
Violet photo

Posted on Friday, February 15, 2019 at 3:40 PM

A Fruit Tree with Edible Stalks

If you like growing unusual fruit trees, you may want to consider growing a Japanese Raisin (Hovenia dulcis) tree.  The actual fruit produced by the tree is small (only about a ½ inch), hard, dry, brown and inedible.  But the tree produces a multitude of edible fruit peduncles that swell up and turn reddish brown when “ripe.”  Only measuring about a ¼ of an inch, their taste is often compared to a crunch raisin or a crunchy raisin with a pear like taste. The “raisin” can be snacked on fresh off the tree or dried for later consumption.  The trees produce a copious amount of “raisins.”

In South Korea, Japanese raisins are often incorporated into beverages and sold as a hangover cure.  The Japanese raisins contain dihydromyricetin, a compound that helps breakdown alcohol in the liver.  Although a few studies have been conducted on rats, the use of Japanese raisins as a hangover cure currently lacks sufficient human scientific studies regarding its effectiveness for this purpose.

Hardy down to USDA zone 6, the Japanese raisin tree is a self-fertile deciduous tree.  It grows from thirty to eighty feet tall. It grows best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade.  And although it grows in a wide variety of well-draining soils, it grows best in sandy loam.  It prefers a soil pH of 6.0 – 7.8.

Trees begin to blossom after three to four years, but it can take up to ten years for the tree to begin producing ripe peduncles, or “raisins.”

Photo by Mauroguanandi, CC  BY  2.0
Photo by Mauroguanandi, CC BY 2.0

Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 2:10 PM

Bee My Valentine!

A yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, nectaring on a spiked floral purple plant, Salvia indigo spires (Salvia farinacea x S. farinacea). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Remember receiving valentine cards that read "Bee My Valentine?" Well, every day can be Valentine's Day when there are bees in your garden. We...

A yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, nectaring on a spiked floral purple plant, Salvia indigo spires (Salvia farinacea x S. farinacea). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, nectaring on a spiked floral purple plant, Salvia indigo spires (Salvia farinacea x S. farinacea). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, nectaring on a spiked floral purple plant, Salvia indigo spires (Salvia farinacea x S. farinacea). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ooh, this nectar is good! The yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, can't get enough of this salvia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ooh, this nectar is good! The yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, can't get enough of this salvia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ooh, this nectar is good! The yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, can't get enough of this salvia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Yes, I can
Yes, I can "bee" an acrobat when I want to "bee." A yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, on a salvia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Yes, I can "bee" an acrobat when I want to "bee." A yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, on a salvia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 12:45 PM

See Bugs, Bees and Nematodes on UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day

A six-foot-long mosaic and ceramic sculpture, Miss Beehaven, anchors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. It is the work of Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It's going to be a long weekend, but it's a short one when you consider all the things you can do and see at the eighth annual UC Davis Biodiversity...

A six-foot-long mosaic and ceramic sculpture, Miss Beehaven, anchors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. It is the work of Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A six-foot-long mosaic and ceramic sculpture, Miss Beehaven, anchors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. It is the work of Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A six-foot-long mosaic and ceramic sculpture, Miss Beehaven, anchors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. It is the work of Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A colorful--and viable--bee hive at the  Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. Bees don't usually fly until the temperature hits 55 degrees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A colorful--and viable--bee hive at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. Bees don't usually fly until the temperature hits 55 degrees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A colorful--and viable--bee hive at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. Bees don't usually fly until the temperature hits 55 degrees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis nematologist and graduate student Christopher Pagan (center) greets visitors at a UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis nematologist and graduate student Christopher Pagan (center) greets visitors at a UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis nematologist and graduate student Christopher Pagan (center) greets visitors at a UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Butterflies are a popular attraction at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Butterflies are a popular attraction at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Butterflies are a popular attraction at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

At the Bohart Museum of Entomology, visitors can hold the stick insects. This is a black velvet walking stick with red wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
At the Bohart Museum of Entomology, visitors can hold the stick insects. This is a black velvet walking stick with red wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

At the Bohart Museum of Entomology, visitors can hold the stick insects. This is a black velvet walking stick with red wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

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