Stories from Matthaei-Nichols
You may have noticed large corn dog or sausage-like structures hanging from two trees in the Matthaei Botanical Gardens’ conservatory, but you would not want to put these sausages between buns at a ball game. These brats are actually the fruit of the aptly named sausage tree. Humans can’t eat this fruit, which is considered poisonous, but its large size and unique appearance makes it a popular attraction in the conservatory.
Local Photographer John Metzler shares some images from a winter walk on the trails at Matthaei Botanical Gardens.
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum was named one of seven botanic gardens to receive support to build capacity and leadership in urban agriculture through a partnership of the United States Botanic Garden (USBG), the American Public Gardens Association...
Matthaei Botanical Gardens is hosting free guided nature walks on select Wednesdays and Sundays. These walks are FREE, no registration is required. Matthaei Botanical Gardens' Winter Walks are held most Wednesdays and Sundays through April. These free, guided walks...
Grown from an idea that University of Michigan student Phimmasone Kym Owens cultivated, a collaboration between Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County (JFS) and Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum (MBGNA) has given rise to an area that has been dubbed by its users as “The Refugee Garden”, a space where resettled refugees can grow their own food through community gardening.
When thinking about endangered species, charismatic animals like tigers typically come to mind. But many plant species are endangered or threatened too. Endangered plants are worth protecting because when plant species are lost, not only is the world a less vibrant place, but human communities risk losing essential products and services. Plants are the base of nearly all terrestrial food webs, converting the sun’s energy into food for us all. Some plants provide medicines while others provide essential habitat to animals, including people (the wood used to make houses comes from trees).
Part of Green’s research at Matthaei Botanical Gardens aims to better understand the physiological switch that is flipped in monarch butterflies to create migratory populations in fall. “Whether it’s changing gene activity, hormonal changes, or some other potential mechanism that generates the difference is what we are studying,” said Green.
By keeping this tree here to decompose naturally, the staff at the Botanical Gardens is letting nature take its course. Even though it might look odd, the ecosystem is benefiting from the tree in several ways. Downed trees are just one excellent example of how nothing in nature goes to waste.
As the days become colder and flowers fade and turn brown, many gardeners begin prepping their spaces for winter by cutting down spent blooms, stems, and leaves. However, by leaving the plants intact, gardeners can provide a variety of benefits to area insects and birds over the cold winter months.
Matthaei Botanical Gardens is hosting free guided nature walks on select Wednesdays and Sundays. These walks are FREE, no registration required. WEDNESDAY WALKS Wednesday Nature Wonder Walks are held (almost) every Wednesday, 5:30-6:30 pm. through mid-December. We...