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UC Davis Seminar: Fly Research Could Provide Some Answers on Schizophrenia Disorder

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects less than one percent of the U.S. population. When schizophrenia is active, symptoms...

An illustration from the seminar of postdoctoral fellow Sergio Hidalgo Sotelo of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
An illustration from the seminar of postdoctoral fellow Sergio Hidalgo Sotelo of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

An illustration from the seminar of postdoctoral fellow Sergio Hidalgo Sotelo of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

Posted on Friday, October 15, 2021 at 5:03 PM
Focus Area Tags: Health, Innovation

When Life Hands You 'Little Lemons'

Despite my vow to avoid purchasing any more clematis —well, this year at least—I couldn't resist snapping up Clematis ‘Little Lemons' when I saw it on sale.  This charming super-dwarf clematis has yellow nodding blooms that turn into fluffy, silvery-gold, Dr. Seuss-esque seed heads that shimmer in the light. The lacy leaves are dark green.  The plant is a non-vining variety that does well in containers, hanging baskets, or as a groundcover in the front of a border.

photos by Erin Mahaney

‘Little Lemons' is a Clematis tangutica variety.  While the full-size variety can grow up to 12-15 feet, this variety is a “super-dwarf” plant that is described as 18-20 inches tall and wide.  My plant has grown much wider, approximately 36 inches with its trailing stems, but the height seems to be as described.  It has bloomed all summer, from May into September, and will likely continue into early October. 

As with other clematis, ‘Little Lemons' prefers well-drained soil and regular water.  It needs full sun to part shade.  The plant can cause contact dermatitis for some people, so it is best to use gloves when handling it.  The clematis belongs to Pruning Group 3, which means that it blooms on the current year's growth.  In the winter, plants in this group should be pruned back hard to 8-12 inches from the ground.  This variety, however, will typically bloom earlier and longer if the plant isn't cut back so hard. 

While I would love to see ‘Little Lemons' in a hanging basket where the nodding flowers could be better appreciated, it's not feasible to maintain a hanging basket in my windy yard.  But so far, the plant has done well in a pot tucked out of the wind.  While the cheerful blooms are a welcome addition to the yard, it is the silly, fluffy seed heads that make me smile when I walk by.  They provide an interesting addition to floral arrangements too.  All in all, I'm glad that life handed me ‘Little Lemons!'

thumbnail Attachment-3
thumbnail Attachment-3

Posted on Friday, October 15, 2021 at 2:30 PM

Outstanding Research Paper on Agricultural Drones Wins Editors' Choice Award

Winning an Editors' Choice Award was a milestone for an international research team, including UC Davis entomologist Elvira de Lange. De...

Entomologist Elvira Lange utilizing a drone. Agricultural drones, she said, are
Entomologist Elvira Lange utilizing a drone. Agricultural drones, she said, are "highly versatile and have great commercial potential."

Entomologist Elvira Lange utilizing a drone. Agricultural drones, she said, are "highly versatile and have great commercial potential."

Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2021 at 3:45 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development, Environment, Innovation, Natural Resources, Pest Management

Borrego Springs Road Trip Report

Greetings from Borrego Springs. Seemed like we should get out of the Northern California heat, so we headed to the desert in southern CA.  Borrego Springs is located between San Diego and the Salton Sea in a valley in the high desert.  Contrary to its name, there are no springs.  The water source is solely due to the underground aquifers.  There are some hot springs in Agua Caliente, which are not far from here.  As this is the low season, many of the tourist areas are closed, so there are not too many people here.  The tourist season starts up again in late October.  We have been down here in January, and it is a really nice getaway, but may have rain then.  (One can only hope.)
 
Anyway, I really like coming to the desert.  Don't think that I like it enough to live here permanently, but do enjoy it when I'm here.  One thing I love is how different the vegetation is from home.  That being said, a particular favorite is the Palo Verde trees.  The Spanish translation means "green stick" for their green-colored branches. There are three types of Parkinsonia and they are a member of the Fabaceae family (yes, PEAS!)  The most common is the P. florida in the southwestern U.S.  The other is the P. aculeata, which is common in the Sonoran desert and foothills in northwestern Mexico.  The third is a foothill variety called P. microphylla.  It is more common in Mexico.  THEN... there is a cultivar called "Desert Museum" which has no thorns and grows more upright than the others.
 
These trees are very fast-growing and can live 100 to 400 years!  They grow in fine, fast-draining soil, primarily in washes.  They are considered the most drought tolerant of all the deciduous trees and adapt to the environment by growing slower and more shrub-like when there is less water.  They also drop their leaves in the hot season and even drop their stems in a prolonged drought.  Once established, they can survive on little to no water for prolonged periods.  They grow best in hot, dry climates, in full sun, and tolerate the cold down to 15 degrees F.  (Sounds like the perfect desert tree.)   They propagate from seeds produced during a short flowering season.  One reference that I read said that even though they generally flower in the spring, they may flower at other times, depending on the weather in the area.  I found this reference after I found the flower in the attached picture.  The seed pods really resemble pea pods too.  The seeds are very hard and require scoring and soaking to get them to germinate.  The flowers attract all kinds of pollinators and are a food source to native birds and animals.  They provide a protective canopy for the slow-growing saguaro cacti, which generally outlive the tree!
 
Now for the ONE thing that truly makes them unique.  When they drop their leaves, they photosynthesize through their green bark! 
 
I wondered why it is called "Blue" when the tree is actually green, but I couldn't find any explanations in the references.  Pretty much all the references were from Tucson publications, but online, you can find plenty of sales info and pretty pictures.  I know that I will never be planting one in my yard as it would not tolerate the soggy soil of our winters, so I guess I will have to continue heading to the desert to enjoy them.

photos by Jenni Dodini
photos by Jenni Dodini

Palo verde flowers.
Palo verde flowers.

palo verde jdodini 2021
palo verde jdodini 2021

Seed pods
Seed pods

Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2021 at 10:25 AM

'Entomological Giant' Frank Zalom Receives Highest ESA Honor

He's a giant in his field--a veritable Sequoia in the flatlands. But he's an entomologist with an incredible reach that extends in practically all...

Frank Zalom, UC Davis distinguished professor and a past president of the Entomological Society of America, is a newly elected Honorary Member of the Entomological Society of America, the highest honor afforded an ESA member. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Frank Zalom, UC Davis distinguished professor and a past president of the Entomological Society of America, is a newly elected Honorary Member of the Entomological Society of America, the highest honor afforded an ESA member. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Frank Zalom, UC Davis distinguished professor and a past president of the Entomological Society of America, is a newly elected Honorary Member of the Entomological Society of America, the highest honor afforded an ESA member. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Frank Zalom, a former 16-year director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, examines an almond tree. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Frank Zalom, a former 16-year director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, examines an almond tree. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Frank Zalom, a former 16-year director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, examines an almond tree. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 5:20 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development, Environment, Food, Health, Innovation, Natural Resources, Pest Management

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