Posts Tagged 'plants'

Pods and Seeds

Asclepias tuberosaButterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa).Asclepias incarnataSwamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).Asclepias syriacaCommon Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).Asclepias syriacaThe seeds of the above.Asclepias syriacaAnother Common, with Milkweed aphids (Aphis nerii) and Variegated Ladybugs (Hippodamia variegata).

Pollen Bumble Rumble

bombusFlying between these absurdly large flowers of hybrid rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), this bumblebee was practically glowing yellow from all the pollen.bombusBut note how the wings remain mostly clean. Bees are hairy, the hairs statically charged to help pollen stick to them. Of course, you wouldn’t want your wings to be laden with pollen or anything else when you fly.

Breaking: Monarch Sighted in Brooklyn

Danaus plexippusI saw my second Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) of the year today. This was my first in Brooklyn; in Brooklyn Bridge Park, feeding on Joe-Pye Weed (Spotted JPW, I believe, Eupatorium maculatum).

As you probably know, we have done quite a number on this spectacular species, through deforestation in Mexico, reducing its food crops further north in the U.S., and poisoning its habitat everywhere; such blows make them even more susceptible to external pressures, like severe weather, in particular the drought in Texas (“external” if you don’t count our carbon-dirty hands in disrupting traditional weather patterns through global warming).

Here are some graphs of the shocking declines and here’s an interview with a biologist whose entire professional career has been about them disappearing. There’s nothing personal, of course, in this drive to extinguish one more species; we’ve done it to the whole planet, and even ourselves.

Can you do anything to keep this remarkable animal, which has a multi-generational, continent-spanning migration, around for your grandchildren? You can plant milkweed, stop the wide-spread poisoning of the environment through herbicides and pesticides, and drive less.. say what? The field-to-field cropping of corn to meet the ethanol demand means that “weedy” edges have been plowed under. We must all change our lives.

Freshwater

Perithemis teneraI was enjoying the life above the Duckweed (Lemnaceae) recently, marveling that I’ve never seen so many Eastern Amberwings (Perithemis tenera).Pachydiplax longipennisThere were also a few Blue Dashers (Pachydiplax longipennis), making more Blue Dashers.A damselfly of unknown provenance was depositing eggs.

And then, along the edge of the lake, some disturbance from below. There was an agitated simmering, not quite bubbling. I wondered what it might be. Then, rising, a mass of little black fish, tightly clumped together at the surface, swarming over each other, some half out of the water momentarily. They were feasting on something. fish The individual fish visible on the edges of this mass had serious whiskers, barbels, making me think of some kind of catfish. What the hell, I took the plunge.fishI’m taking a semi-wild guess that these are Black Bullheads (Ameiurus melas); what do you think?fishThe barbels are flush to the sides here.LemnaceaeAs an added benefit of my open-handed catch and release, the underside of the Duckweed, some of the smallest flowering plants anywhere, is revealed as purple.

Local edibles

Rheum rhabarbarumI’ve eaten a lot of rhubarb in my time, usually with strawberries. I’ve never seen it gone to seed, though, before now. Rheum rhabarbarum.Ribes rubrumIn the same community garden, Red Currants! Ribes rubrum.Vaccinium corymbosumElsewhere in the borough, High-bush Blueberry, almost ripe! Unfortunately, gleaners usually pick these too soon, cheating themselves (and me!). Vaccinium corymbosum.

More Sumac

Rhus typhinaStaghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) in exuberant fuzziness.

Sumac

RhusThe flowers of sumac (genus Rhus) are astonishingly small.


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