Posts Tagged 'plants'

Look No Further For Groundcover

Where have all the flowers of spring gone? Long time passing….

Pier 1 at Brooklyn Bridge Park has a rather spectacular understory layer in its seventh year. From the top left: Celandine-poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum), mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), and wild ginger (Asarum canadense). And hiding their lights under their bushel of leaves: Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum).
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I like these so much I’m repeating it: Articles of Impeachment for Trump.

Kingsland Wildflower Roof

When last we visited this Greenpoint wildflower garden, it was right after its opening.Now the first generation of wildflowers sprouting here have emerged, with more blooms to come.Currently, the garden is only open for events. Eric W. Sanderson was talking about Newtown Creek’s history, in the context of the Welikia Project. This is an elaboration of the Mannahatta Project, the envisioning of what was here before New York City (and New Amsterdam), a catalog of the landscapes, habitats, species, and interrelationships of all these things before the coming of the Europeans. It’s an absolutely fascinating study, ever expanding. Knowing what we’ve lost to vital to knowing what we can regain.

Newtown Creek was a tidal creek surrounded with saltwater marshes, with fresh water streaming in from the northeast. It was canalized and industrialized — at some point in the 19th century it was the country’s seconds busiest waterway after the Mississippi! — and now sits astride one of the largest underground oil leaks in the country. Civilization, we hardly knew ya! Actually, speaking of civilization, those are sewage digesters in the background of the first photo.

Look for Sanderson’s presentations. (And read his book Terra Nova, an entire course in our age of petroleum.)

An offshoot of the Creek is called Whale Creek. Why? Did a whale wash ashore there once? Were whales harvested there at some point? Before petroleum, light, fuel, and lubricants came from whales.

Don’t Know Jack?

Someone hath browsed off the overhanging spathes and tips of the spadicies of these Jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum). This gives us a good view of the pin-striped goodness within these curious flowers.Otherwise you have to get personal.This is a flower that hides itself.Who is this Jack, you might well ask, and what is he doing in the pulpit? To say the spadix “looks like a man,” as does Better Homes & Gardens, seems quite the euphemism. The part is not the whole. According to this site, the plant is pollinated by fungus gnats and thrips. Also of note on that page: the ill-tasting plant scares off herbivores, so who did the work seen up top? Two legged? Deer not yet in the know?

Beginnings

Oh, spring, spring, you are so fast! Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans).One of the lindens (Tilia). Some galls are already planted on these. As with the leaves immediately below, these were windfalls. Pin oak (Quercus palustris).Beech (Fagus) about to blow.Mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa) already blown.
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Share the pre-existing condition of being human? Then the GOP WealthCare abomination that passed the House yesterday isn’t for you.

Naturalist Notes

Viola canadensis, a native violet.It was cool, so this Robin (Turdus migratorius) was hunkered down on those blue blue eggs.A Red Velvet Mite of the family Trombidiidae. Predators of the leaf-litter zone, as large as a blood-gorged tick and, being mite-y, rather looking like one.So many vocal White-Throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) in the Ramble!And a recent sunset.

Blooming

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides).Toothwort (Cardamine).Trillium.Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense), unrelated to ginger root (Zingiber).

Obolaria virginica

A gentian family member not easy to spot down in the leaf litter of early spring. This was poking up less than two inches. We found this one, and others, in an unused, unpaved driveway in Virginia. Appropriately enough, since both its species epithet and common name, Virginia Pennywort, reference the state. (Virginia Pennyleaf is another name for it.) It does not seem to get up here to New York.

Notably, though it has green leaves, it’s one of the plants that isn’t fully dependent on photosynthesis. Instead, it takes some of its energy from the fungi it’s symbiotically associated with. That makes this it a mycotroph, or fungus flower.


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