Posts Tagged 'plants'

Butterfly Dependence

A short walk on the High Line yesterday morning:Vanessa atalantaThere were several Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta); this one was all over the Purple Coneflower (Echinacea).Papilio glaucusTiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). Danaus plexippusNot as close to the camera: my first Monarch of the year. On Blazing Star (Liatris spicata).


While I was away, the milkweeds of Brooklyn all came out. Some of them in Brooklyn Bridge Park are nearly as tall as I am. But here is my favorite, Butterfly Weed, which usually stays pretty close to the ground: Asclepias tuberosaAsclepias tuberosa.

Poison Ivy

Toxicodendron radicansThe bright shiny new leaves of Toxicodendron radicans in its tree-climbing vine form.


Anemone americanaWhen last we saw some blooming Round-lobed Hepatica, it was the white variety in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Over the weekend, we found a little cluster of the pink variation further north in Black Rock Forest.Veratrum virideWe initially took this pleated beauty for Skunk Cabbage, but further research by the Horticulturalist tells us this is actually False Hellebore (Veratrum viride). Like Skunk Cabbage, it’s a big leafy green that sprouts early, so the two are often confused. This would be a mistake should you be a forager: False Hellebore is quite toxic. Wikipedia gives a host of alternate names: American White Hellebore, Bear Corn, Big Hellebore, Corn Lily, Devils Bite, Duck Retten, Indian Hellebore, Itch-weed, Itchweed, Poor Annie, Blue Hellebore, and Tickleweed. Unlike Skunk Cabbage, the flowers come after the leaves.

Earth Day

In reality, of course, everyday is Earth Day.Asarum canadenseFrom the Black Rock Forest, here’s an emerging Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) flower. Sialia sialisAn Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis).Rana clamitans melanotaAnd some Green Frogs (Rana clamitans), before or after amplexus?

Skunk Cabbage Again

Symplocarpus foetidusThe spathes of Symplocarpus foetidus surround a spadix, which produces first female and then male flowers.Symplocarpus foetidusI’m afraid a fence keeps me from getting closer, but a portion of a grenade-like spadix can be seen here. It’s this that produces the heat, through rapid respiration (burning carbohydrates via oxidation), that give this plant its early spring, snow-defeating power.Symplocarpus foetidusOnce the colorful spathes, which help to insulate the spadix, begin to wither, the cabbagey leaves of the plant begin to uncurl.

Skunk Heaven

Symplocarpus foetidusHear ye, hear ye! The Skunk Cabbage is up at the Native Flora Garden at Ye Brooklyn Wedding Venue! Symplocarpus foetidusSymplocarpus foetidus favors wetlands, as this plant demonstrates from mid-gurgle of the stream.Symplocarpus foetidusOf course, this earliest of spring plants was up already down south weeks ago, but Brooklyn is where I am, so I celebrate it’s emergence here. The colors! The freaky strategy of creating its own snow-melting warmth! The fleshy forms in the chill murky rot of old leaves!Symplocarpus foetidusThe wheels of nature go ’round and ’round. That’s why some of us like it here on Earth (others, tragically, impose their death-driven desire to destroy and devour upon us). Also, I’ve written about Skunk Cabbage before, so there’s no sense in repeating myself.


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