Books, Humor and News

A new poem just on Irma Bombeck’s follows the Pitcher Plant Article for Wisconsin Entomological Society, Feb. 2020. I had writer’s guilt leaving the crane fly and the snow flea trapped in the food tube, so wrote a poem for their self-rescue escape at: 

This is the article. Pitcher plant’s tube leaves digest many insects, even in winter. Their diet is less diverse in winter, yet snow flies (Chionea sp or crane flies) and snow fleas that are not insects but are Arthropods (genus Hypogastrura) end up in a tube stew during the bright warmer days in winter when the red tube leaves absorb heat and actually melt the snow around them. The open tubes in the snow appear as hungry mouths with a watery soupy stew made from rotifers, mites, algae and more, its own food web.

On of my botany lab favorites was to insert a turkey baster into a pitcher tube leaf when on a field trip, and take enough liquid tp give 24 students a few drops on the microscope slides. The excitement in the class was high as they shared their finds, moving from one student’s microscope to another, and then drew several of the lifeforms they saw.

Snow fleas are springtails and their tail shape snaps them into the air in a boing, boing, hopping around on the snow, so they cold accidently boing into a pitcher plant tube leaf. Snow flies, on the other hand, would come down on a warm winter day to sip the aromatic tube stew. Slipping on the spines at the top once its wings are wet, the snow fly cannot fly.

The outlook is dismal for the snow fleas and snow flies, but potentially nutritional for the pitcher plant. Nutrients in the bog peat are low, and  pitcher plants have big showy flowers to nourish and grow tall above their food tubes in  June. They are hungry all the time.

A Self-rescue escape by Linda w. Curtis

A flea and a fly in a carnivorous stew,

Said “Oh me! Oh my! Now what’ll we do?

Said the fly, “Let us flee”, said the flea, “Let us fly!

So they jumped on a chump until they were dry.

The flea hugged the fly,  and snap-jumped into the sky.

Then the fly flew the flea up and into a tree very high.

Said the flea, “That was cool!” Said the fly, “I’m no fool.

We’re both smarter now, no more swimming in pools.”

Next Book in Progress

Prairie Carex of the Upper Midwest with Carex from wet and dry prairies, and savannas including rare sedges found  in Lee County, Illinois and Rock County Wisconsin this past summer.

Available Books

Bog-Fen and Woodland Carex books are $24 each. Send letter with check  to Curtistothethird, P.O. Box 731, Lake Villa, Il. 60046.

Research Notes

Areas searched for book Bog-Fen Carex in Wisconsin included Beulah Bog, Cedarburg Bog, Lima Bog, Spruce Lake Bog, Cherry Lake Sedge Meadow, Harrington Bog, Milwaukee River Tamarack Bog, Mauthe Lake Bog, Chiwaukee Prairie fens, Powell Marsh in Manitowish Waters, and Surprise Lake Bog in Crandon, & others.

In Illinois: Volo Bog, Barrington Bog, Brandenburg Bog, Pistakee Bog, Cranberry Lake Bog, Cedar Lake Bog, Wauconda Bog, Pike’s Marsh and Cranberry Bog in Moraine Hills State Park and the entire Zion beach-ridge plain and fens, from Kenosha Dunes through Chiwaukee Prairie and south through Wisconsin’s Illinois Beach Dunes, Hosah Preserve, south to Waukegan Dunes.

Rare plant Carex discoveries in Volo Bog Illinois State Preserve were:                                           C. brunnescens, C. canescens, C. chordorrhiza, C. disperma, C. trisperma, and C. echinata. Also sedge Cyperus diandrus.

The summer of 2019, Carex crawfordii was discovered in Lee County by Linda W. Curtis and a week later by Greg Wahl in Whiteside County. Only 2 previous sightings were documented in Illinois. 

C. echinata voucher plants were sent to Illinois State Museum herbarium and duplicates kept for the Volo Bog Nature Center herbarium. Rare plant reports were sent to IDNR and Illinois Endanger Species Board with gps.

The globally endangered Carex paeninsulae was discovered among the Indian burial mounds in the Archaeological Park in Crystal River in Citrus County and later in Peacock Springs in Suwannee County, Florida.  State threatened C. chapmanii was discovered at Three Sisters Springs, also Crystal River, during sedge field research.

In 1989, Linda discovered State endangered Megalodonta beckii among 16 other aquatic plants in Cedar Lake, Lake County, Il., and published 1990 in the Journal of the Illinois State Academy of Science. In Wisconsin’s Rock County, Linda found Carex swanii  in an oak savanna and  filed the rare plant report to the WDNR with a specimens sent to UW-Madison and UW Stevens Point Herbaria. In Illinois,  Carex mesochorea was discovered in the prairies of Nachusa Grasslands, in both Lee and Ogle Counties.


Education B.S. Wisconsin State College, Stevens Point, 1962. Botany M.S. U of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1974.Courses taught: Biology, Environmental Science, American Forest, Botany, Genetics, Local Flora, Plant Pathology, and Natural Areas Restoration.

College Positions UW-Milwaukee, Teaching Assistant of Botany courses and microbiology for UWSchool of Pharmacy. First teaching position in Lake Forest College, then Barat College, College of Lake County, Grayslake, Il., and McHenry Community College.


  • Aquatic Plants of NE Illinois 1996    SOLD OUT
  •  Woodland Carex Upper Midwest 2006                                            
  •  Bog-Fen Carex of the Upper Midwest 2015          


  • Harbinger Newsletter of INPS, Carex Corner #1-10.
  • Northeast Chapter INPS: Nodding Onion, Summer 2019,
  • Chiwaukee Prairie: Steps in time.
  • Illinois Audubon Magazine 2016: Sedge Meadows.
  • Illinois NE Native Plant Society 2016: Sedges, What good are they?
  • Illinois Steward 2007- Sedges, Why Don’t We Know Them?
  • Lake County Forest Preserve -2016, Horizon Magazine.
  • Wild Ones Journal – 2016, Sedge Meadows.
  • Globally imperiled Peninsula Sedge, Palmetto, FNPS, Dec. 2015.
  • Wisconsin Entomological Society Newsletter- 3 articles in 2018.
  • Erigenia 2013 INPS Journal: Carex of Zion Beach-plain Ridge.
  • Erigenia 2010 INPS Journal: Additions to Volo Bog Herbarium.
  • Transactions of Illinois Science Academy 1990: Megalodonta beckii

Carex Reports 

  • Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Fl. 2013-2019
  • Florida Gulf Coast Carex, Citrus, Levy, Dixie Counties, Florida 2015
  • Devil’s Hammock, Levy County, Florida 2015
  • Goethe State Forest, Levy County, Florida 2013
  • Cedarburg Bog, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin 2013  
  • Chiwaukee Prairie, Kenosha County, Wisconsin 2014
  • Fort Sheridan, Lake County, Illinois 2012-2015
  • Harrington Beach, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin 2013
  • Illinois Beach State Park, Lake County, Illinois 2012
  • Hosah Park, Zion, Lake County, Illinois 2014
  • Illinois Audubon Amboy Marsh, Lee County, Illinois 2014- 2015

Florida Research

  • USF&W Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, Levy and Dixie Counties, 2016,  USF&W Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River Wildlife Refuge,  Citrus Co.
  • FDEP Suwannee and La Fayette Counties, Troy and Peacock Springs, Gilchrist County, Florida 2016-17, Waccassasa Bay, Levy County  and Blues Springs State Park,  2018. Rainbow Springs State Park, Marion County,2019.
  • FDEP and Crystal River Parks and Recreation, Citrus County  Homosassa Springs Park, Chassahowitzka, and Withlachoochee Preserves, Ozello Trail, Otter Creek, Crystal River Ecowalk, Yoeman Park, Churchhouse Hammock.

Recent Illinois Field Research

  • Lee County, Illinois Audubon Amboy Marsh, 2014-15, 2019
  • Nature Conservancy,  Nachusa Grasslands, Research & Symposium
  • 2018, Illinois Audubon Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary 2017-19
  • Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, Illinois Nature Preserves and The Wetlands Initiative, Putnam County, Illinois 2018,
  • Nature Conservancy Chiwaukee Prairie West, Kenosha County, Wis and Fairmeadows, Rock County, Wisconsin, 2019.

Coming soon: the 2019 Illinois Audubon Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary and Amboy Marsh Nature Preserve Reports. Florida Rainbow Springs State Park report altered with Salvinia molesta as the invasive water fern and not S. minima.

Linda W. Curtis is author of three science books and also writes humorous

, P.O. Box 371, Lake Villa, Il 60046.  Ask Linda about @

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