Posts Tagged 'plants'

Calyces

Diospyros virginianaThe calyx of the American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is this beautiful cross shape. Diospyros virginianaA few stay on the tree as the fruits come down, but most fall with the fruit. Diospyros virginianaThere’s still some fruit on the trees. Most of it, though, is on the ground, and some of that is well beyond eating stage. We need more possums!

(My intelligence community tells me that the “Date Plum” Asian persimmon (D. lotus) at NYBG holds onto its calyces, giving the tree a tiny-star-studded look.)

Spiny Gall

gall2Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a good gall-tree. One species of aphid, Hormaphis hamamelidis, forces the tree to make cone-shaped galls on the leaves. The young aphid grows up inside this, protected from its enemies. Another species of aphid, the Spiny Witch Hazel Gall maker, Hamamelistes spinosus, makes the tree make these hard, spiny galls that come off of the twigs.gall1Ken Chaya, who identified these for us, cut a couple of them in half. A spider had taken up residence in one. Another had the white filaments of a cocoon within.
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Have to admit missing most of the White-tailed-Deer-in-Harlem story, for I have no interest in television news ratings-fodder. In response, Jason Munshi-South had a good editorial in the Daily News on the need for a sane policy on urban wild animals.

Central Park Flora

img_1757Recently, we got to join Regina Alvarez, Daniel Atha, and Ken Chaya for one of their Central Park flora expeditions. For three years, the trio have been searching for wild — that is, not planted by the park — plants in Central Park.img_1760Atha, who has travelled the world over collecting plants, uses an elegantly simple set-up for his plant press. Two boards, some newspaper sheets, and adjustable straps. The Waldo Tribune fits perfectly.img_1762This is a Rosa: full identification would come later. img_1763The trio have doubled the number of known grass species in the park, found some very rare Pumpkin Ashes, and cataloged a lot of exotica. The links above will give you more details of their adventures in wild and perhaps not so wild sown plants that make Central Park their home.
groundc2.JPG
For instance: Groundcherry (Physalis) or Tomatillo. In bloom in December. groundc1.jpg

A 20 Point Guide for Defending Democracy. (So many points, four long years.)

Still Skipping

img_1287What a late, endless fall. This picture of a skipper was from last Friday, and there was at least one other of these quirky butterflies still working these amazingly productive ground-hugging buddleia.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m going full Thoreau in these posts. The inspiration for this blog was both a naturalist and a citizen. How could I be anything but?

Pitcher Plant

SarraceniaOne of the Sarracenia pitcher plants at NYBG; they’ve at least 7 American species in the Native Garden, though only one, S. purpurea, is native to New York.

Something’s blocking the tube here, but this moth still can’t seem to get out. No, this isn’t a metaphor for the times.

But, speaking of natives: my people came to the U.S. at least 200 years ago on my mother’s side and in 1870 on my father’s. I myself was born overseas, in Japan, where my parents were stationed with the U.S. State Department. I grew up in Poland, Canada, Italy, and Germany, as well as in MD and VA around DC.

Cosmopolitanism has always been my thing. There are lots of different kinds of Americans, and I like it that way. I live, after all, in the multicultural-polygot metropolis of Brooklyn, New York.

Yet this scoundrel of a con man Trump has used the filthy flag of nativism to gain power, giving unprecedented moral support to the worst aspects of our history, the Klan and neo-Nazis, causing a spike in verbal and physical violence against people black and brown, not least in schools. Eternal shame on those dupes who voted for this garbage, even if all they thought and hoped they were voting for was “change”; eternal support for all they threaten. I’m a middle-aged white man, but I utterly repudiate the bullshit stereotypically assigned to my ilk and will do all in my power to undo it.

Monday Meadows

meadow1Open these up.meadow2For megapixels of wonder.meadow3And speak not to me of lawns.

Woodland Aster

asterThere isn’t much of a concentration of trees in Green-Wood, as opposed to grand old specimen trees, but the tiny patch of woodland overlooking the Sylvan Water is host to these little asters, a burst of autumnal blooming. The reddish-orange parts have already been pollinated, the yellow not yet. Both bumblebees and flies were observed visiting these, which we think are Eurybia divaricata.


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