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To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold-hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.
Ruffed Grouse ~ Bonasa umbellus
One morning in spring, the male Ruffed Grouse will suddenly start a slow drumming of its wings that gradually increased, moving faster and faster until they vanish in a blur. That frightful booming roll is the love call – which is also a warning to rivals that he has staked a territory and will defend it against all comers. The name of America’s finest upland game bird is derived from the ruff of greenish-black feathers draped around its neck and shoulders.
Mountain Laurel ~ Kalmia latifolia
Mountain Laurels are cold-resistant shrubs that grow four to eight feet high in about ten years but can easily be kept smaller by pruning. Their three-to-five inch lustrous, dark green leaves are attractive at all seasons, but they are nearly hidden beneath the large clusters of small cup-like blossoms in the late spring. The flowers range in color from nearly white to a pink so deep as to seem almost red. Brownish flecks inside the cups look like freckles or sprinkles of nutmeg. The structure of the flower is unusual – each stamen is held in a tiny slot under tension until it is released when touched by bees so that it catapults pollen onto them.
From The Wildflowers of the 50 States U.S. stamps issued July 24, 1992:
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