American Hog-peanut, Amphicarpaea bracteata

With attractive trifoliate leaves and the ability to fix nitrogen, American hog-peanut is a vigorous annual vine that twines around neighboring plants – making it welcome in some places, but usually considered a weed in ornamental landscapes. It is a somewhat unusual plant because it produces two types of flowers and seeds. Learn more about this North American native in the pea family in this article…

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Dodder, Cuscuta spp.

Tangles of pale yellow or bright orange strings running amok over other plants may remind you of science fiction tales, but there are actually real plants that grow like this. The nearly leafless, stringlike stems of dodder can be seen occasionally on a wide variety of plants in different habitats. Learn more about the biology of these parasitic plants that depend on their host plants for nutrition in this article…

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Scale Insects

Scale insects feed on many plants, but are often overlooked because they are immobile and many types look like small bumps that just might be plant parts blending in with the leaves, twigs and branches. These insects secrete a waxy covering – that gives them their common name – to protect them from the environment and predators. Learn more about this group of inconspicuous and atypical insects in this article…

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Houseplants

Houseplants

One in the Plants Plus Series – a remix of past training presentations, printed materials and other references focused on specific plants or topics to help you increase your knowledge so you can better answer homeowner questions. To get 2.5 hours of continuing education credit for watching the video presentation, just complete the short quiz! This Plants Plus package focuses on the benefits, care and selection of houseplants.

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Kiwifruit, Actinidia spp.

What’s brown and fuzzy all over and green inside? Well, the kiwifruit, of course. This Chinese fruit was popularized when it was imported into New Zealand, renamed kiwifruit instead of Chinese gooseberry, and developed as an export crop. Today this fruit crop is grown in many places worldwide, but there is more than just the kind found at the grocery store. To learn more about kiwifruit, read this article…

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Annatto or Achiote, Bixa orellana

If you’ve ever eaten American cheese, it’s likely you’ve had annato, a natural orange-red colorant that comes from the waxy covering of the seeds of Bixa orellana.  This small tree or shrub native to tropical America has beautiful pink flowers and interesting spiny fruits. Learn more about the plant and its uses in this article…

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Aphids

Aphids may be viewed as just another pest for gardeners to try to eliminate, but they’re really fascinating insects, with bizarre lifestyles and eating habits and they’re also dinner for lots of other insects. Forming colonies covering the leaves and stems of plants, these small sap-sucking creatures reproduce incredibly fast and a few also transmit plant diseases. Learn more about this large group of insects and how to manage them in the garden in this article…

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Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis

With showy orange flowers, jewelweed comes into its own in late summer and fall. Growing in dense patches in moist, shady habitats, this native plant offers nectar for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Usually grown just as a wild plant, it can be added to rain gardens or to suppress weeds in appropriate areas. Learn more about this self-seeding annual in this article…

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Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui

The painted lady butterfly is a common visitor in Wisconsin, especially in the fall. These colorful insects prefer open areas, including prairies, old fields, vacant lots, and gardens where they feed preferentially on the nectar from relatively tall herbaceous perennials. The spiny caterpillars feed on a large number of different plants. To learn more about this butterfly, read this article…

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Root Crops

One in the Plants Plus Series – a remix of past training presentations, printed materials and other references focused on specific plants or topics to help you increase your knowledge so you can better answer homeowner questions. To get two hours of continuing education credit for watching the video presentations and reading the articles, just complete the short quiz! This Plants Plus package focuses on root crops.

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