Archive for February 2012

A future powered by photosynthesis?

February 25, 2012

Check out this research at Cambridge University that uses moss in biological fuel cells to produce electricity! Spoiler alert: it’s actually symbiotic bacteria in the soil that are powering things up using organic compounds released by the photosynthesizing bryophytes.

Read the short article here: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/features/the-hidden-power-of-moss/

SUNY ESF Alumni Sponsor the Return of the American Chestnut

February 18, 2012

On April 18, test trees of American chestnut produced by the Restoration Project at ESF will be planted at an event at the New York Botanical Garden, the place where chestnut blight was first discovered in 1904. The Research Project has more than 100 varieties either in field trials or waiting to be tested.  The event will include a lecture on chestnut trees at 3 p.m. followed by a planting of trees at 4:30 and a reception and dinner at 6:00 in the renovated  stone mill at the garden. Fees are $31 for the lecture and $100 for the dinner. Reservations are required and sponsorships are encouraged.  If you are interested contact the ESF alumni office at 315-470-6632 or alumni@esf.edu. Let’s hope this is the beginning of the return of the American chestnut tree to our eastern forests.

Funds Avialable for Student Research on Aquatic Plants

February 18, 2012

A graduate student research grant in the area of aquatic plant management and ecology is being offered by the Aquatic Plant Management Society’s research and education organization. For more information CLICK HERE.

Help this duck enjoy aquatic plants.

MyNature Apps You Tube Channel Has Many Videos on Identifying Native Plants

February 17, 2012

MyNature Apps has a You Tube Channel  that features many videos on how to identify many of our common wildflowers.

Here is one of his videos identifying Spotted Joe-Pye-Weed.

MyNature Apps Has Fun Quiz for Identifying State Trees

February 17, 2012

CLICK HERE to see how to get this fun app for identifying state trees.

New Endemic Yellow-eyed Grass, Xyris bracteicaulis, is Described From Long Island

February 15, 2012

A new yellow-eyed grass, Xyris bracteicaulis (Xyridaceae) has been described by Dr. Lisa Campbell of the New York Botanical Garden. It is known only from a single historical collection from Lake Ronkonkoma on Long Island which also makes it a new endemic plant for the state. The Coastal Plain pondshore habitat in New York supports dynamic plant communities with species rare for the state. In this publication from Harvard Papers in Botany, the new species is described, illustrated, and compared to morphologically similar specimens.  To access the article CLICK HERE.

DEC’s Saratoga Tree Nursery Kicks Off Annual Tree And Shrub Seedling Sale And Giveaway

February 14, 2012

From the DEC Press Release:

Landowners Can Take Advantage of Low-Cost Native Plants, Schools Can Get Them Free.

More than 50 species of trees and shrubs are now available to schools and public and private landowners at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Saratoga Tree Nursery, DEC announced today. The Saratoga Tree Nursery provides trees for erosion control, wildlife habitat, reforestation and other uses.  For further information CLICK HERE.

Staff working at the Saratoga Tree Nursery (DEC photo)

Saratoga Springs Street Tree Inventory Needs Volunteers

February 13, 2012

Starting in May the Saratoga Springs Street Tree inventory is looking for volunteers to help complete the survey by the end of June. There is a minimum of 10 hours of volunteer time and training on identification and recording will be provided. If you are interested contact Rick Fenton at 518-421-7098 or fenton@nycap.rr.com.

Carex aggregata Rediscovered in New York

February 12, 2012

By Steve Young, NY Natural Heritage Program

In 2008 Heather Liljengren and Camille Joseph, staff members of the Greenbelt Native Plant Center in Staten Island, were collecting graminoids for seed preservation in Inwood Hill Park on the northern tip of Manhattan Island during the last week of May. They noticed a sedge that looked different and collected it to send off to Dr. Rob Naczi, a sedge expert at the New York Botanical Garden, for identification. Dr. Naczi confirmed it as glomerate sedge. Then in June 2009 Rob Naczi himself discovered it in the southwestern portion of the botanical garden grounds near the Bronx River during a survey of the plants of the Bronx Forest. Both of these discoveries were then reported to the Natural Heritage Program in 2011.

Only three populations of glomerate sedge have ever been reported from New York (there is also a Torrey specimen at NYBG with no location) which is at the northeastern edge of its range. It was first collected from the Perch Lake area of Jefferson County in 1949 then again in 1959 from the Spring Valley area of Rockland County. In 1988 Mike Oldham, a Heritage botanist from Ontario, collected it in Oakwood Cemetery during a trip to the Natural Areas conference in Syracuse. Another trip to the cemetery site in 1990 did not find the plants again. All of these collections occurred during the last week of May or in June. For 20 years there were no more collections or sightings of this sedge in New York until that day in Inwood Park.  This sedge now has the distinction of being the only state endangered or threatened plant that currently exists on Manhattan Island.

From the New York Natural Heritage Program conservation guides we have the following information about identifying this sedge: There are three other members of Carex section Phaestoglochin (C. sparganioides, C. cephaloidea, and C. gravida) that are similar.
Carex sparganioides is perhaps the most different from C. aggregata of these three. It has a more elongated inflorescences (3-15 cm long) with a larger proximal internode. In addition the widest leaf blades are 5-10 mm wide (Ball 2002).

Carex cephaloidea is the most similar to C. aggregata of the species that occur in New York. Carex cephaloidea has the widest leaf blades (4-)5-8 mm wide and the ligules are just longer than wide. In addition, the pistillate scales are 1.5-2 mm long, subobtuse to acute, and the bodies are no more than 0.5 times the length of the perigynia. Mackenzie in his description of C. aggregata (as C. agglomerata) used culm scabrousity to separate C. cephaloidea and C. aggregata. The angles of the culms of Carex cephaloidea being strongly serrulate while those of C. aggregata are only roughened just below the inflorescence. These character states may be incorrect or subtle.

Carex gravida does not occur in NY but was attributed to the state incorrectly in the past. It is not expected in the state. Carex gravida mainly differs in having the summit of the leaf sheath fronts white, hyaline, not thickened, and fragile.

Carex aggregata illustration from Britton and Brown 1913.

Bloom App Brings Spring Closer

February 11, 2012

February 11 is the day when the end of winter starts. The dead of winter lasts from January 10-February 10 according to meteorologists and is the stretch of the winter with the coldest temperatures.  If you would like to imagine what spring will bring and you have an iPhone, you can sprinkle a few flowers around your favorite winter landscape with a fun app called Bloom.  You can see how it works in the photo I took below. I feel more cheerful already! – Steve Young

 


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