The elderberry is a tall, common shrub of roadsides and forest margins. Throughout July, the plants were crowned with broad clusters of small, white, fragrant flowers. Now the flowers, pollinated by honey bees and other insect pollinators, are giving way to prolific bunches of berries. In the photo, the elder berry shows white flowers as well as green and dark purple berries. The ripe berries will darken and turn black in color. Elderberry is one of the flowering plants that go a long way toward supporting wildlife. The plant is browsed by deer. The berries are eaten by rabbits, fox, and squirrels. At least 25 species of birds including indigo bunting, bluebird, catbird, mockingbird, brown thrasher, phoebe, robin, dove, quail, turkey, and woodpeckers regularly eat the fruit of the elder berry plant. The elderberries are used to make pies, preserves, and wine.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported yesterday that hundreds of thousands of acres of soybean and cotton fields in the Mid-South have been infested by an herbicide-resistant strain of a common weed, Palmer pigweed. The pigweed is thriving in the presence of the most commonly used chemical herbicide, glyphosate, which is commonly sold under the trade name Roundup. Soybeans, cotton, and other plants have been genetically engineered to withstand glyphosate, allowing the weed killer to be sprayed directly on the crops. The herbicide-resistant pigweed can’t be controlled by glyphosate, so farmers are being required to return to labor-intensive hand chopping of the weed. We find in agriculture that chemical resistance commonly occurs. That has been the case with beekeeping, as strains of miticide-resistant mites replaced the first mites to enter this country. The beekeepers are having to adjust their mite control tactics; now the row-crop farmers will have to do the same.