Archive for the ‘Plant Places’ category

Looking for Wildflowers Along the Mohawk

April 28, 2014

By Steve Young

20140427-185313.jpgI took a stroll along the Mohawk Bike Path in Aqueduct, Niskayuna today to see what wildflowers I could find. The trail runs at the base of a slope where it meets the floodplain of small creeks flowing into the Mohawk River. Here are the wildflowers that greeted me along the way.

One of the first wildflowers visible was the beautiful bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis

One of the first wildflowers visible was the beautiful bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis.

Some of them were already in fruit.

Some of them were already in fruit.

Early blue cohosh, Caulophyllum giganteum, flowers as the leaves expand.

Early blue cohosh, Caulophyllum giganteum, flowers as the leaves expand.

Enless patterns of trout lily leaves.

The endless patterns of trout lily leaves,  Erythronium americanum, continue to amaze.

Trout lily in bud.

Most trout lilies were in bud.

A few of the flowers were open!

A few of the flowers were open!

Some mayapple leaves, Podophyllum peltatum, were still tightly folded, waiting for warmer weather.

Some mayapple leaves, Podophyllum peltatum, were still tightly folded, waiting for warmer weather.

Others were on their way out, like unfolding butterfly wings.

Others were on their way out, like unfolding butterfly wings.

Virginia waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum, was actually wet from the light showers.

Virginia waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum, was actually wet from the light showers.

But its common name actually comes from the leaf pattern that looks like water droplets covering the leaves.

But its common name actually comes from the leaf pattern that looks like water droplets covering the leaves.

Sharp-leaved hepatica was in flower but the flowers were mostly closed in the wet weather.

Sharp-lobed hepatica, Anemone acutiloba,  was in flower but the flowers were mostly closed in the wet weather.

The showers added water droplets to the fuzzy leaves of common mullein, Verbascum thapsus.

The showers added water droplets to the fuzzy leaves of common mullein, Verbascum thapsus.

The sun came out at times and the these leaves of early meadow rue, Thalictrum dioicum, were lit up from behind.

The sun came out at times and the these leaves of early meadow rue, Thalictrum dioicum, were lit up from behind.

Wetland sedges arise from their old leaf bases in a vernal pond.

Wetland sedges arise from their old leaf bases in a vernal pond.

Red elderberry flowers are still in bud and the leaves look strange.

Red elderberry flowers, Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa, are still in bud and the leaves look like something is affecting them.

Other wildflowers were still in leaf, like many of the violets, but I look forward to coming back with the Friday Field Group this week to see how far along thing are .

 

A Day on Long Island

September 10, 2011

I made a trip to Long Island recently and had the opportunity to see some interesting natural areas. – Steve Young

The beach at Goldsmith's County Park on the Long Island Sound side of the North Fork. Looks like some sand management is going on.

Some of the common beach plants include clotbur . .

and sea rocket, whose fruits actually look like little rockets ready to blast off.

On the dunes, masses of Rosa rugosa were in fruit.

Sea lavender was fairly common and in full flower.

Sea lavender, Limonium carolinianum, is our only representative of the Leadwort Family, Plumbaginaceae, in New York.

Spikegrass, Distichlis spicata, is also a common representative of salt marsh vegetation.

Saltmarsh-elder, Iva frutescens, one of our shrubby composites, was releasing pollen from its ragweed-like flower clusters.

It was sprinked on the opposite, succulent leaves below.

Prickly pear cactus was in among the dune plants but I didn't see any flowers or fruits.

Gray's flatsedge forms a clump of stems in the dunes. It has many rays in the inflorescence and bulbous roots if you dig it up.

In the woods closer to the road was a stand of sweet pepper-bush, Clethra alnifolia, in flower and in fruit.

West of Riverhead, I walked to a rare coastal plain pond to see that the water levels were up to the top. In drought years these ponds drain down to reveal many more plant species that are waiting patiently to germinate when the water is low.

It was raining a lot of the time but on the way back the sun came out to shine across the leaves of the pitch pine oak forest.

Glistening water droplets hung from the ends of the pitch pine needles.

An oak gall had dropped from a tree to the sandy trail.

Scores of new mushrooms were arising out the the sand in the trail too.

On the firebreak between forest patches an exotic catalpa has managed to survive, the only one I saw.

Since this visit Hurricane Irene has paid a visit to the Island and these forests probably look a little different now.  I’ll have to go back and see how they fared.

 

 

Staten Island Greenbelt Video. A Refuge for New York Flora.

August 25, 2011

This video presents the history of the Greenbelt and its importance on Staten Island. The Greenbelt is a refuge for many New York State rare plants. It provides an environment for plant enthusiast to observe many species on the extreme southern edge of our flora that aren’t seen elsewhere in the state. This video is included in a series of nature videos available on the website of the Protectors of Pine Oak Woods. CLICK HERE to see the videos. – Steve Young

Scaroon Manor Campgound Flora, From Gardens to Wild

July 11, 2011

Scaroon Manor, on the western shore of Schroon Lake, was one of the largest resorts in the Adirondacks with over 100 buildings and elaborate gardens and recreation facilities. See photos below.

It closed in 1960 and the state took it over in 1967.  All the buildings were razed and eventually a day-use area and campground were developed (this is the first year for the campground). Its hard to imagine such a large resort while camping at the site today.

A an old road leads north from the main bathhouse though the woods and along the shoreline where rock outcrops are nice places to enjoy the lake. At the northern edge of the property, along the sandy lakeshore, is a small northern white cedar swamp that has been flooded by a beaver dam built right along the beach where a small outlet stream emerges.  I have never seen a dam built along a lakeshore before. Its a beautiful area that deserves more exploration.  Here are some of the plants we saw. – Steve Young

Round-leaved dogwood was in fruit.

The meadow-sweet was just about to flower.

Some kind of gall was affecting the fruits of the speckled alder.

And the leaves too.

The narrow sandy beach curves up to the northeast with the cedar swamp at the north end.

Shinleaf flowers were everywhere along the path to the beach.

A view into the flooded swamp from the beach.

Stands of bur-reed were common in the flooded areas.

A flock of mallard kept eating something in the flowers of white water-lily. Was it the insects in the flowers?

The site definitely deserves a lot more exploration and a plant list.  Maybe NYFA or the new Adirondack Botanical Society can schedule a trip there in the future.

South Bay Task Force Blog (near City of Hudson)

October 5, 2010

Tim O’Connor has put up some nice photos of the plants and natural areas of South Bay near the City of Hudson in Columbia County.  You can see them HERE.

Adirondack Follensby Pond Aerial Video

October 5, 2010

Here is a aerial trip around Follensby Pond, the new purchase of The Nature Conservancy and recent site of a bioblitz.

For video CLICK HERE. Length 2:34.

Adirondack Spring Pond Bog Aerial Video

October 5, 2010

If you have ever been to Spring Pond Bog, a patterned peatland, in the Adirondacks you will appreciate this video.  If you haven’t you will want to go there!

For video CLICK HERE. Length is 4:10.


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