I almost cried

njtea(NJ Z6)

driving along our lovely road today, I noticed that an entire stand of beautiful mayapples had been eaten - probably overnight by the deer. I've never know that to happen before.

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ecopit(5a IL)

Just as the deer had the right to eat the mayapples, njtea has the right to be sad that it is gone. I only learned what mayapple is a month ago, and was shortly thereafter surprised to find a patch of it behind my neighbor's house. It is a neat plant.

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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

It's funny - the boogerheads seem to leave the large stands of mayapple in the woods alone, but they eat the ones I've planted in my yard. They have been coming back and multiplying though - one of the benefits of being an ephemeral is you can get your head chomped off and come back next year.

The boogerheads or one of their smaller cousins also nosed through a cage and re-chomped my un-identified violet that was re-growing.

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nyssaman(Z6 ON)

Why would you cry. The enjoyment that you get from may apple is secondary to why it is really there, sustanence for deer and bunnies and other furry animals are the primary reason it exists. I think one of the problems with us humans is that we think everything in the world exist for us and us only. We are only part of the soup we are not the main ingredient. Think of the glass as being half full - if the mayapple and other native plants were not being eaten then we would have a real problem worth crying about ;)

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

Go ahead and be sad... the hooved rats are so over populated in certain parts of our state that they are decimating native fauna and woodland habitats.

Of course its not really the hooved rats fault. Man has disturbed the environment to the point that natural deer predators are gone and created habitats that are perfect for the deer to thrive in...

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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

I checked out some local woods - they have been eating the larger mayapples. There's been a big change in the last six years - very little growing in the understory now but garlic mustard and Japanese honeysuckle. Lot of Norway maples about 25 years old ready to take over the canopy. THAT could make me cry - the mayapple can recover from the deer alone.

In a local woods where there is fairly intensive bow hunting the invasives have much less of a foothold.

In the Jersey woods where I grew up there were no deer - there were native plants.

It's not the deer's fault but the problem isn't that we've taken away their habitat. It's that we took away the predators and stopped hunting the deer. The woods don't need the deer - they are not a key species. Put lots of deer together with invasives - bad synergy.

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jclark42(z6 CT)

I learned something interesting about mayapples the other day when my wife and I visited the New England Wildflower Society's Garden in the Woods. Apparently, the eastern box turtle is the primary distributor of mayapple seeds. It makes sense, seeing that the mayapple fruits are at just the right height for a turtle to snack on. It makes me wonder- if the rats-on-stilts eat all of the mayapples, will the seeds be dispersed, or are their digestive systems different from the box turtles? My neighbor told me that for years, every spring the box turtles would make their way up from the pond, across the street, up our shared driveway and into the woods in back of our house. In the past five years, we haven't seen a single box turtle.

In our area, the deer seem to love to eat the native plants, but won't eat the invasive stuff like garlic mustard, knotweed, bittersweet, etc. This seems to promote the growth of the invasive plants by removing what little competition they have. Unfortunately, the deer have no natural predators around here, only the occasional run-in with a car on the highway..

-Josh-

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cypsavant(z5/6 Ontario)

Venison is tasty. Revenge is sweet. Avenge those mayapples.

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njtea(NJ Z6)

Nyssaman, mayapples are NOT on the deer menu unless they are starving.

"Venison is tasty. Revenge is sweet. Avenge those mayapples."

And I do get my revenge during hunting season. Bless my hunter, last year he took four or five the beasts.

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gr8green

This is a little off-topic.....but garlic mustard's been mentioned in a few of these posts. I've got some in the back of my yard. Being invasive, I'd like to know.....has anyone ever used it for eating, or found any beneficial use for it?

Thanks.

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njtea(NJ Z6)

I have a friend who has made a soup flavored with garlic mustard and used it in a pesto.

Considering how harmful it is to the ecology of the forest, however, it's my feeling that it's best to get rid of the darned stuff, which is way easier said than done.

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catherinet(5 IN)

I understand your sadness, and I also understand what nyssaman feels. I try to have a holistic view of things, but it's very difficult, now that man seems to have upset the balance of things. We have a large creek running through our woods. Many times over the years, beavers have come here and started eating all our trees. If they had a huge area to live in, and we had several thousand acres of trees around it, we might not get so upset about the tree loss. But now there are sooooooo many people, living so close together, and animals are stuffed into small sections, and they eat too much of an area, and it interferes with our plans for the land, etc., etc., etc.
It's a very complicated issue. And it makes NOT being sad when we see a very beautiful area leveled by the deer, very hard.

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