In less than a decade, the invasive Viburnum Leaf Beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni) has spread throughout most of New York State. They devour the leaves of viburnum species, key understory plants of our woodlands; a couple years infestation can kill the plant. I’ve seen the damage they do in Prospect Park, skeletonizing every leaf on a bush. In Brooklyn Bridge Park they’re trying to control things by hand.
But this was the first time I’ve run across one of the adult beetles. Yesterday in Prospect Park.
Published July 26, 2015
Tags: Brooklyn, plants, Sunset Park
Sunset Park is buttressed by a rough stone retaining wall that has become the home of numerous lifeforms. Above is the southwest-facing flank. Here’s the northeast wall, along 41st St. That’s where all the following were found:The presence of lichen, which doesn’t tolerate pollution, means the air here is relatively good. Indeed, elevated near the top of the Harbor Hill Moraine, the park catches the harbor breezes very nicely.There are numerous clumps of Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata), which isn’t a moss but rather a flowering plant.Haven’t yet figured out which fern this is. A spleenwort perhaps? Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).The caterpillar of the Sycamore Tussock Moth (Halysidota larrisii). Wikipedia says these can cause hives; this Auburn entomology page says nix to that, while listing other “stinging” caterpillars.’
“Stone wall, Sunset Park ……… $50,000″ from the May 10, 1906, edition of The City Record. Would love to know where these stones came from.
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 tuberosa.
Published April 30, 2015
Tags: Great Swamp, plants
The bright shiny new leaves of Toxicodendron radicans in its tree-climbing vine form.
When 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.We 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.