Jan. 21, 2018

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We are not alone.  Many of us know about, but choose not to think about, the microscopic face spiders (mites actually) we carry around.  But what about plants?  Researching that question turned out to be surprisingly rewarding.  Those annoying house plant mites are by no means the whole story.  Many plant mites are beneficial.  They are predators on foliage eating arthropods, and eat damaging fungus.  More than a few plant species have developed tiny pits, sometimes fringed with protective hairs, to house their mite buddies.  That's why we looked at a Viburnum today.  They're among the genera that have mite domatia.  Studies have demonstrated that plants with beneficial mites are healthier and produce more fruit and seeds than the same plants with no mites present.  That's good for the plants, and for all our wild friends that don't seem to mind eating sour berries.  On the other hand, these berries do seem to last well into winter.  Wonder why that is, Euell?