Archive for August 2009

Mendon Ponds/Auburn Trail Trip Sets New Genera Quest Record

August 30, 2009

The NYFA trip to Mendon Ponds and the Auburn Trail in Railroad Mills on August 22 set a new one-day record for genera seen at 258! The old record was 243 at Alley Pond Park in Queens in 2008. The Mendon area is very diverse with eskers, ponds, marshes, a kettlehole sphagnum bog and a fen. We saw 229 genera in the park so it actually was less than what we saw in Alley Pond but the walk along the Auburn Trail added 29 more genera for the grand total for the day.  The full list of species will be published in the next NYFA newsletter and added to our website. Thanks go to the eager participants whose sharp eyes spotted all the beautiful plants we saw that day and our leader Steve Daniel who knows the plants in both areas very well.  Some photos from the day are below.

Identifying plants in the bog

Identifying plants in the bog

Steve Daniel showing Triglochin palustre

Steve Daniel showing Triglochin palustre

Flowers of the rare swamp lousewort, Pedicularis lanceolata

Flowers of the rare swamp lousewort, Pedicularis lanceolata

Happy plant hunters: Steve Young, Ken Hull, Carol Southby, Georgianna Vyverberg, Steven   Daniel, Megan Caves, Sarah Shute, Ed Fuchs, Christine Sevilla, Amy   Kahn, Karen Schreiner.   Not present for photo (Kim Hartquist).

Happy plant hunters: Steve Young, Ken Hull, Carol Southby, Georgianna Vyverberg, Steven Daniel, Megan Caves, Sarah Shute, Ed Fuchs, Christine Sevilla, Amy Kahn, Karen Schreiner. Not present for photo (Kim Hartquist).

More Cattail Double-spikes

August 28, 2009

From Steve Daniel in Rochester: These were seen Thursday at WhiteBrook wetlands, part of the Crescent Trail, Town of Perinton, Monroe County.

Oh No! A Snafu With the New Website

August 28, 2009

The new nyflora.org website was going to to live today but because of unforseen technical problems we will have to wait a while longer. Stay tuned to this blog for updates.

Torrey Botanical Society Offers Research Award for Students

August 28, 2009

We are pleased to offer to student members for 2010 for the first time the Andrew M. Greller Graduate Research Award for Conservation of Local Flora and Ecosystems.  This is an annual award funded by Dr. Greller for outstanding student research directed towards preserving habitat or saving plants and ecosystems from habitat destruction in the Torrey Range, a lifelong passion of his.  We continue to offer the Torrey Botanical Society’s Student Fellowship and Training Awards to student members and the Symposium award to all members.  See details on the Society’s website http://www.torreybotanical.org.

A Trip to the High Peaks

August 26, 2009

From Patrick Raney, SUNY ESF:

These were some of the plants in bloom around Mount Marcy August 10-12
Solidago cutleri is in bloom at (Mt. Marcy, Basin, Gothics)
Minuartia groenlandica is in bloom and all over (same area, and Saddleback Mtn)
Cornus canadensis
Kalmia polifolia was in bloom just below Mt. Marcy, and at the Gothics
Houstonia caerulea in bloom below the top of Mt. Marcy
Indian pipe is in bloom all over below the peaks
Here are some photos from the area:

Mendon Ponds Genera Quest A Success

August 25, 2009

The field trip to Mendon Ponds was an amazing day.  We may have a new record for genera seen in one day.  Stay tuned to this site for photos and the final tally. Below is one photo by Steve Daniel as a teaser.

Clear Wing Hawkmoth on Cirsium muticum

Clear Wing Hawkmoth on Cirsium muticum

New Website: Three Days and Counting

August 25, 2009

The new NYflora.org  is scheduled to be live on Thursday!

Double-spiked Narrow-leaf Cattail

August 21, 2009

From Steve Young – When we were in Catskill Marsh last week we came across many examples of narrow-leaf cattail with double spikes that joined together to form the gap you see in the photo below (sorry for the bad focus).

I had never seen this before and would like to know if anyone else has seen it. If you have you may leave a comment below.

Double-spike cattail

Double-spike cattail

A Good Day At Catskill Marsh

August 16, 2009

From Steve Young: On Thursday the 13th of August I joined Chris Zimmerman of The Nature Conservancy and Melissa Kalvestrand, a graduate student at SUNY Albany, on a trek through the freshwater tidal marsh and mudflats of Catskill, or Ramshorn, marsh.
Catskill Marsh 2009

Melissa gathered up all the equipment needed to record the plants in each plot of the marsh within and around a patch of Phragmites.  The data will be used to analyze the effect the removal of the Phragmites will have on the marsh vegetation. Fortunately I got the middle of the canoe and Chris and Melissa paddled across Catskill Creek to the marsh, a short distance away.

Catskill Marsh 2009-2

Chris carried the plot marker through the high Phragmites with Melissa in the lead.  They had marked the plots with GPS and flags on previous days so it was not trouble finding them again.

Catskill Marsh 2009-5

At each plot Chris estimated how much cover each species produced in the square while Melissa recorded the data. I was there to help them with plant identification to make sure all we didn’t miss anything.

Catskill Marsh 2009-6

We saw a wide variety of plants in the marsh, some common species like the flowers of hog peanut here (Amphicarpa bracteata), and many other species that can only be found in marsh habitats.

Catskill Marsh 2009-7

There are lots of species with arrow-shaped leaves like this leaf of wapato (Sagittaria latifolia).  There’s also arrowleaf (Peltandra virginica), pickerel-weed (Pontederia cordata) and spatterdock (Nuphar advena).  They are not so hard to tell apart in flower but it’s good to know what they are in leaf and the characters that separate them.

Catskill Marsh 2009-14

For the few hours of low tide a whole new flora reveals itself as the water goes down and the small mud plants appear, mostly strap-leaf arrowhead (Sagittaria subulata) but other small mud plants are hidden among the larger ones and one has to be willing to get down in the mud to see them (take note Mike Rowe of the Discovery Channel). At high tide the spatterdock leaves float on the surface of the water but at low tide the rest of the plant is seen stretching up from the mud. One wonders how much photosynthesis these plants can get in while exposed since their leaves are often covered in mud.

Catskill Marsh 2009-20

We were fortunate enough to see the flowers of the little strap-leaf arrowhead with are male and female.  The male flower is shown here with three white petals and yellow stamens.

We were able to finish the plots by midafternoon under cloudy and cool conditions with no mosquitos! It was a great day in the marsh and we even got so see a few plants of swamp lousewort (Pedicularis lanceolata), a state threatened plant. It was time to go home and hose the mud from the jeans before they went in the washer.

NY Times Article on Taxonomy and the Naming of Organisms

August 13, 2009

Click here to see an interesting article on taxonomy by CAROL KAESUK YOON.

I like the last paragraph, copied below, which shows the value of the profession.

Just find an organism, any organism, small, large, gaudy, subtle — anywhere, and they are everywhere — and get a sense of it, its shape, color, size, feel, smell, sound. Give a nod to Professor Franclemont and meditate, luxuriate in its beetle-ness, its daffodility. Then find a name for it. Learn science’s name, one of countless folk names, or make up your own. To do so is to change everything, including yourself. Because once you start noticing organisms, once you have a name for particular beasts, birds and flowers, you can’t help seeing life and the order in it, just where it has always been, all around you.


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