Posts Tagged 'trees'




sassafrasSassafras, as you may know, is one of those unusual native trees that has variable leaf shapes. Three leaf types show up on the same tree: unlobed, single lobed, or double-lobed. These Sassafras albidum at Brooklyn Bridge Park all seem to leaf-out initially with the longish oval unlobed leaves, the lobed mitteny ones coming with the second wave. The roots of this species used to flavor root beer, until compounds in the root were found carcinogenic; artificial flavorings are now used mixed with corn syrup, which is no improvement in my book. Sassafras roots and bark are wonderfully aromatic, as medicine and cosmetic producers have long known.

Redbud, Ready to Bud Red

Cercis canadensisEastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) about to pop. The flowers emerge up and down the branches, and the trunk, in advance of the leaves, making the pink-flowered trees look particularly intense.

Once More, With Feeling

mag1mag2Arbor Day draws to a close. This evening’s sunset lit up this backyard Magnolia out beyond the Back 40. It’s a late bloomer, shaded from much of the afternoon sun. Two fences away, snagged with a big plastic bag, and evidently uncared for, it beckons like a dream.

Arbor Day Redux

PrunusThis magnificent specimen at the northern end of Nellie’s Lawn is at its peak right now, maybe even slightly past. A few of the petals were blowing off in the breeze, snowflake-like, perfectly encapsulating the briefness of beauty. (As much as we strive for the epic, life is a haiku, my friends.)PrunusThis is in the generally delicious Prunus genus of the scrumdelilicious Rose family, but I can’t pin it down better than this. Anybody know better?

I love how one-sided this tree is, leaning in towards the sunny meadow. By the way, it’s Frederick Law Olmstead’s birthday, so this one is for him.

Young Greens

Liriodendron tulipiferaThe Tuliptree’s leaf is quite distinctive, although it looks a tad maplish here in its youthful stage. Liriodendron tulipifera is also known as Tulip poplar, Yellow-poplar, White-poplar, and Fiddle-wood. It is one of the largest hardwoods in North America, and is generally marked by a tall straight trunk. One of the grandest examples in Prospect Park grows on the northern edge of Nellie’s Lawn; exposed to the southern sun, Elizabeth’s Tuliptree has had years of opportunity to branch out, so it doesn’t follow the usual trunk plan. This particularly tree, which I’ve heard called the tallest in the park, has taken a beating over the years. Tuliptreee saplings produce very large leaves in their race for the sun, growing well beyond the big hand-sized leaves of the mature tree. This one is just starting out. Good luck, potential green giant!green2I think this is an example of the flowers of a Norway Maple (Acer platanoides). A whole host of them had been blown down, and the flowers were being patrolled by ants on the ground. Most likely, they would be patrolled by ants up above as well. There’s food here: pollen, nectar, and other invertebrates that like these foods.green3

Inside the Magnolias

My new sunglasses make it difficult to see the screen on my camera. So I didn’t realize these were in monochrome until afterwards.These blossoms at Pier 6 and Atlantic Avenue were already on their way out. Brief is the bloom of the magnolias.Another tree with the color back on:


cherrybombIn honor of the rhetorical excess of Lil’ Kim Jong-un, I will bury you in cherry blossoms!cherrybomb Prospect Park will be a blazing pink sea of cherry blossoms!cherrybombbeeThe worker bees of the Democratic People’s Republic will sweep across the pole to conquer the cherry blossoms of Brooklyn!

It begins



PrunusCherries are starting to bloom.Trachemys scripta elegansAlthough still chilly, the morning sun was strong enough to begin heating these hard cases up.CrocusThe bulbs and corms, of course, are bursting with stored-up goodness. Junco hyemalisDark-eyed Junco, a winter bird, still hanging around.

Two weeks ago, when I was last in Green-Wood, the cemetery was all about the Common Raven, vocalizing basso profundo. I neither saw nor heard it today. Bereft of a mate, has it flown the borough? Mockingbirds, Jays, and Robins were making all the noise this morning. I noted two dozen species, with the highlight being my first Golden-crowned Kinglet of the year, and three Tree Sparrows. Pieris japonicaJapanese Andromeda.


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  • And that was Graham Greene as the insurance rep. Weird, but fantastique! 7 hours ago
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