Archive for July 2010

USA Topographic Map from ESRI on the Web

July 31, 2010

If you would like another option for looking at topo maps of New York or other places in the US you can use this new map from ESRI on  If you click on Basemaps on the top of the map you can look at different maps including aerials and USGS maps.  Its very helpful when planning botany trips.  Go to the map HERE.

Sample Map

Time to Refresh Your Memory on Aster and Goldenrod Scientific Names

July 31, 2010

Many scientific name changes have been made in the Aster Family lately and there are a number of places you can go to refresh your memory on the changes to asters and goldenrods. Here are some websites where you can read up on them:

A list of name changes in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide can be found on the sidebar of this blog.

This is a website of Asters and Goldenrods of New England:

Here is a list of aster synonyms from Humboldt University: Synonyms.doc

This is a website describing John Semple’s taxonomy of the asters and goldenrods:

This is the aster family treatment in the flora of North America:

Time to go in the field and test your memory!

Showy aster, Eurybia spectabilis, on Long Island. Photo Steve Young

NYFA Annual Meeting and Field Trips a Success

July 27, 2010

Over twenty NYFA members enjoyed our field trips and annual meeting in the Cranberry Lake area over the weekend.  We saw many interesting plants in the beautiful poor fens of the area and after a hearty lunch provided by Ed Frantz at his camp, we elected this year’s board members including the two new members Kim Smith and Anna Stalter.  Saturday afternoon we saw old growth white pines and another interesting bog near Wanakena.  We ended our outing Sunday morning in a large, beautiful, poor fen at Hitchins Pond.  Thanks go to Anne Johnson and Bernie Carr for organizing the trips and to Ed Frantz for his hospitality at the camp.  More details will be coming in the October newsletter. See more photos at the Picasa web album.

Lost Pond Bog near Wanakena.

Hitchins Pond Bog.

Pondering over bog plants at Hitchins Pond.

Happy members by an old growth white pine, Wanakena. From left to right: Joe McMullen, Anne Johnson, Connie Tedesco, Peter O'Shay, Aissa Feldmann, Steve Daniel, Chris Martine, Laura Lehtonen, David Werier, Alan Strong, Alex Young, Bernie Carr, Carol Gates. Photo by Steve Young.

Giant Pine-Drops (Pterospora andromedea) Reappear This Year Along Lake Champlain.

July 27, 2010

The giant pine drops that were rediscovered last year north of Plattsburgh reappeared this year in the exact same spot. It’s still a mystery why this plant has become so rare in New York after being seen many times across the state in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Currently PhD. student Nick Dowie from the University of Wyoming is researching its relationship with Rhizopgon fungi and rarity. Below are photographs taken of this year’s plan by Lawrence Gillett, the person who originally discovered the population.

The Decline of Newpapers and Pressing Plants

July 24, 2010

An unintended consequence of the decline of the newspaper business (our local newspaper is getting really thin now) is the loss of newsprint to press plants. Maybe we should press them between iPads! Any other suggestions? (an iPress?) – Steve Young

Botanist Using Apple iPad In The Field

July 23, 2010

Below is a photo of botanist David Werier using his iPad in the field to look at plant manuals he has stored on it.  David says it saves him a lot of weight and he can carry many references that would have been impossible to bring in the field in the past.  It has a protective case and a clear plastic cover over the glass.  We were puzzling over a plant in a gorge in the Finger Lakes and it only took a few seconds for David to find the key characters in a manual he has stored on it. He doesn’t use it to enter data and he hasn’t dropped it in the water yet! – Steve Young


July 23, 2010

From a DEC Press Release:

Additional Investigation Planned After Invasive Beetles Found in Traps

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis and state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) on private properties in the Town of Bath, Steuben County, and Town of Saugerties, Ulster County. The EAB is a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black, and blue ash.

The first detection of EAB in New York was in the town of Randolph, Cattaraugus County, in June 2009 ( Since the Randolph find, state and federal officials have implemented an extensive monitoring effort that includes the deployment of approximately 7,500 EAB purple traps in ash trees in high risk locations including major transportation corridors.

The Steuben County discovery occurred on July 12 when a state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff member inspected one of the state’s EAB purple traps. The traps are sticky and contain a chemical lure that attracts adult EAB. The detection was confirmed this week by Cornell University. The Ulster County discovery occurred on July 15 after USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) staff member check of a federally-deployed EAB trap and confirmed by USDA APHIS. Each EAB trap had one confirmed EAB specimen.

Update to Small Whorled Pogonia Orchid Discovery

July 16, 2010

After the initial discovery this summer of Isotria medeoloides in Orange County, a follow-up survey was done this week and almost 100 more plants were counted.  That is an encouraging sign that the plant is doing well and may be in other areas. The New York Natural Heritage Program is planning to evaluate and  search additional habitat in Orange County to see if the orchid occurs anywhere else nearby.

Do You Know What a Novel Ecosystem Is?

July 16, 2010

The concept of Novel Ecosystems is gaining traction in the conservation community and will have implications with how preserves and other natural areas are managed (less management of invasive species for example).  In the words of one ecologist, “Novel systems will require significant revision of conservation and restoration norms and practices away from the traditional place-based focus on existing or historical assemblages.” If you are interested in how many conservationists are thinking about the future you should become familiar with this new philosophy. It has many implications about the future of our flora in New York.

For more information go to the Google search page for this topic HERE.

Ed Ketchledge, NY Botanist and Educator, Dies at 85

July 9, 2010

From Steve Young – NY Natural Heritage Program

This link is to an obituary in the Watertown Daily Times:

I met Dr. Ketchledge in 1971 when I was his undergraduate student in dendrology at SUNY College of Forestry (as it was known back then) at Syracuse in the early 1970s. I remember him as a great teacher (he gave me an A) and I think his love of trees and plants probably rubbed off on me as I found my way to a botany career over the years. Little did I know back then that we would be friends and colleagues as we both worked to preserve the flora of the high peaks of the Adirondacks. When I started working with The Natural Heritage Program in the early 1990s I went on numerous field trips with Ketch to observe the Adirondack flora.  We both trained the summit stewards on Whiteface Mountain, a flora he spent many years refining (he was the first one to spot the invasive wild chervil on the Lake Placid turn). He was also especially fond of the plants at Bloomingdale Bog and some of the weird-looking lycopods in the sandy areas of nearby Vermontville. He was an excellent bryologist too and he never failed to point out the interesting mosses he saw along the way. He provided me with a treasure-trove of information about Adirondack alpine plants and I always enjoyed being out in the field and learning from him. In a 1999 letter to me he wrote, “As I reflect back over what I’ve done since surviving combat in WWII, my greatest pleasure and satisfaction is the many lasting friendships that I still enjoy from my years of sharing information with eager young people at ESF, each one a reflection in turn of my own quest for information and knowledge of the natural world from which we spring. I honestly believe I have learned and enjoyed that phase of my career more than any other effort/voyage I have have pursued.”

I will miss him.  Below is a photo of Ketch (on the far right) I took in June of 2001 on one of our trips together to Whiteface.

Ketch with the Summit Stewards on Whiteface


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