The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

March 18, 2014

Twigs give Leatherwood its name

(Continued)

They appear before its leaves do and may be found as early as March. They are a light yellow in color and usually are found in groups of three. They are around one-half inch in length and have eight extended hanging stamens. The twigs of the leatherwood that were used in basket weaving are light brown in young plants but become darker as they age. Twigs of the shrub are so leathery that they are very hard to break. You have to tear them from the plant.

Listed as a somewhat toxic plant, the leatherwood is still a food source for several kinds of wildlife. Its fruit is eaten by several kinds of birds and its seeds are consumed by squirrels and other small mammals. Deer also find leatherwood leaves a good source of food. They have been observed eating its leaves as fast as they can pull them from the plant.

However, even deer find the twigs hard to pull from the shrub, but if very hungry and little else is available they will keep after it until they have extracted a few twigs from their base.

Some plant guides state the leatherwood is so unique that there is no other shrub just like it.

I have often wondered how some of our plants and animals received their name. The leatherwood seems obvious. Its twigs are like leather and quite unique. Other plants, however, if I were to name them, I would have given them another name.

Take the dogwood as an example. Does this pretty shrub resemble a dog? It sure does not look like one to me. While it does have “bark,” I have never heard one let out a yelp.

Another one is the bittersweet. What a contradiction. Is it a bitter or sweet plant? I usually think of something as either sweet or bitter, never both in the same substance. How really did it get its name?

I could go on, but by now you can see last winter still has left me a little bit addled in the brain. If you don’t believe me just ask my friends.

Text Only
Columns
  • OPN - WT082114 - McMurtryMug - NBS Update on Oak Grove Cemetery situation On July 21, a meeting of concerned citizens, hosted at the request of Mayor Joe Wellman, was held in the City Council chambers. Present at the meeting were representatives from city and county government, Daviess Community Foundation, local funeral

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER: Salaries are a matter of perspective Salaries are a matter of perspective Editor:The Indiana Hospital Association and Daviess Community Hospital were disappointed to read a recent story in the Washington Times Herald brandishing the salaries of hospital employees for all to see. Publish

    August 13, 2014

  • Snails do have some issues Go on a hike with kids and one of the things they always look forward to finding are snails. There is something about a snail that seems to attract children. After finding a snail the first thing you hear is, “Can I take it home?” I usually say it is

    August 12, 2014

  • Melon time is the best time of the year I love the month of August. The produce is bountiful, the sun is bright and there’s nothing better than a slice of juicy watermelon straight from the field. Some of my most vivid memories come from the field in the form of the extra-large 80-plus-pou

    August 9, 2014

  • Back to school marks time for politicians to keep their hands off of education Back to school time here in Southern Indiana. While the high school football season may be just around the corner, the game of using education as a political football never seems to end. There is a constant wrestling match between Indiana Governor Mi

    August 2, 2014

  • Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat Cheating has been part of college athletics probably for as long as people have bothered to keep score.Sometimes it could be as simple as a C-note handshake or a little cash slipped into a player’s socks outside his locker with a note telling him to

    July 25, 2014

  • Letter: Sex is clearly defined Sex is clearly definedEditor:I say “Amen” to Pastor Showers’ letter to the editor. Sex in its pureness is only between one man and woman in the bonds of marriage, till death do they part. No others on the side.Man lying with man, woman lying with wom

    July 18, 2014

  • Hobby Lobby court ruling a right one for religious freedom The Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that marked an important development in the ongoing national debate on religious freedom.In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the contraception coverage mandate, imposed by the Obama Administration under

    July 17, 2014

  • Good work DCH for helping vets Good work DCH for helping vetsEditor:On behalf of the veteran organizations of Daviess County, we wish to take this opportunity to recognize Daviess Community Hospital’s CEO David Bixler for the representation of our community hospital and the servic

    July 17, 2014

  • I am proud to fight against the 'War on Coal I recently signed on as an original cosponsor to a bipartisan bill led by one of my Democrat colleagues from West Virginia that would stop the newly released Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on existing coal-generated power plants.He

    July 16, 2014