Posts Tagged 'trees'


There’s a suggestion that this is the oldest sassafras in NYC.
The tree is still going strong.
Now we come to an issue of tense. There are two trees here, just a few feet apart. Are these two actually, essentially, the same tree, a clonal pair, the last of a sassafras colony?
There seems a good possibility that this is so.
From certain angles, they line up and merge together.
Elsewhere in Green-Wood, a sprouting of sassafras. What might this spot might become… in 150 years?
(An ancestor, presumably of somebody, at the clones.)


A venerable sassafras (Sassafras albidum) in Green-Wood. May be the state record holder for tallest: 69′ in 2016. 138″ in diameter at 4.5′ height.
More interestingly, at least to me, is the question of age. Does this pre-date the establishment of the cemetery in 1838? If not it must come close.
Sprouting adjacent. Sassafras is a clonal organism.
You would be correct in your supposition that this magnificent bark is habitat. Just think of all the life forms that have lived upon and beneath it!
I was lucky enough to see this in my orbit of the tree. A piece of bark over a foot long had fallen off and on the inside was this Eumenes wasp mud pot nest.

Stay tuned for more sassafras tomorrow. Yes, more!

Good Bones

A couple of red oaks.
Gates of tuliptree, or… Ents, yes, there are definitely Ent possibilities in these two.
An uncharacteristic tuliptree. Usually they are quite straight and single-boled.

Bracket Fungus

Cracked Cap Polyphore is so intimately associated with black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) that the fungus’s binomial memorializes it: Phellinus robiniae. Hard to find the tree without the fungus. Right next to this black locust is another, and it also sprouts some of these shelf-like fungal growths.

N.B.: both of these locusts are still alive.


Whoa! Make sure the five foot long branches of poison ivy coming off the vine twirled up this old pine don’t get ya!
This is one of the best examples of the vine form of Toxicodendron radicans I’ve ever seen. It’s wild and wooly and has a hell of a wingspan. It would be easy to assume that these are just sprouts from the tree, but no sir, they ain’t.

Trees in Winter

Look at this diabolical face!
The downy upper portion of the leaf scar points to Butternut (Juglans cinerea).
This one, on the other hand, baffled me. I couldn’t find it in Core and Ammons’ Woody Plants in Winter. (It is in there, though.) iNaturalist people provided the identification: this is the incredibly common Ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima) or Tree of Heaven.
These were side by side saplings, spontaneously sprouted.
A tiny spider on the Ailanthus.

Holly Month

These two tads, both at the base of the same massive beech, seem to have survived the demonic weed-whackers.
They are located about 200 feet in a straight line from this very spectacular American holly (Ilex opaca).
This damage may come from the larvae of a fly in the Phytomyza genus.
The big boy pictured above had no berries. Here’s another tree that was so loaded with them I thought it might be a European holly, but Green-Wood’s tree finder marks this one also as the native I. opaca. Which would make the leaf damage here the work of the Native Holly Leafminer P. illiciola?

All this month, the NYC EcoFlora project is documenting hollies in NYC. All the Ilex species are included. As always, they’d prefer wild or spontaneous grown specimens instead of cultivated ones, but you can add any that you see to iNaturalist. Here’s a guide to the species.


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