Archive for the ‘Rare Plants’ category

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.

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.

It’s Not too Late in the Year for Botanical Discoveries

November 28, 2011

NYFA Board member Steven Daniel reported that he recently found a population of puttyroot, Aplectrum hyemale, in Monroe County. This is the second extant record for this orchid in New York, and the first verified report for Monroe County since 1895! Puttyroot is a curious orchid – like Calypso and Cranefly orchid (Tipularia) it puts out a single leaf in the fall. This leaf is able to photosynthesize (when it is not snow covered) when temperatures are above freezing. Come spring the leaf begins to wither, and is usually gone by the time the plant flowers, typically in late May or June.

This species can be easily overlooked. Look for puttyroot in rich beech-maple woods. Now is the best time to look for it. It will stand out in the mostly leaf covered forest floor, or with a fine dusting of snow. The leaves are distinctive with their pleating and white venation.

The pleated leaves of the new puttyroot orchid discovery. Photo Steven Daniel.

A Rare Plant Survey in Ulster County

June 25, 2011

Steve Young and Kim Smith of the New York Natural Heritage Program surveyed a state park in Ulster County this week. Besides Kim finding a new population of Carex davisii, these are some of the other things we saw.

The hophornbeams really stood out with their beautiful fruit clusters in contrast to the dark green leaves.

Sycamore maple, Acer pseudoplatanus, has escaped here. The "atropurpurea" cultivar has purple undersides.

Just outside the park were some impressive walls of Japanese knotweed.

At one point we had an aerial view of the tops of red oak crowns.

The crowns of large sassafras trees were also really neat to see.

We updated the information for a population of Virginia snakeroot, Endodeca serpentaria, a state endangered plant. It grows in the forest herb layer.

We found the small dry fruits under the leaf litter where the flowers of this cousin to wild ginger grow.

The purple-veined basal leaves of rattlesnake hawkweek, Hieracium venosum, were common in the deer-decimated understory.

Our botanizing drew the attention of this young barred owl who didn't seem to mind our presence.

21 New Rare Plant Guides for Long Island Posted

April 12, 2011

The New York Natural Program recently posted 21 new rare plant guides on their guides website. Most of these are rare plants that might occur along roadsides on the island. The list is below. If you would like to access the site CLICK HERE. In the next year many more plants will be posted as they are completed.

Cenchrus tribuloides Dune Sandspur

Crocanthemum dumosum Bushy Rockrose

Desmodium ciliare Little-leaf Tick-trefoil

Digitaria filiformis Slender Crabgrass

Diospyros virginiana Persimmon

Eupatorium album var. subvenosum Trinerved White Boneset

Euphorbia ipecacuanhae American Ipecac

Ipomoea pandurata Wild Potato-vine

Linum intercursum Sandplain Wild Flax

Linum sulcatum Yellow Wild Flax

Oenothera oakesiana Oake’s Evening Primrose

Paspalum laeve Field Beadgrass

Plantago maritima var. juncoides Seaside Plantain

Platanthera ciliaris Orange Fringed Orchid

Platanthera cristata Crested Fringed Orchid

Quercus phellos Willow Oak

Scleria minor Slender Nutrush

Symphyotrichum concolor var. concolor Silvery Aster

Tripsacum dactyloides Northern Gamma Grass

Viburnum dentatum var. venosum Southern Arrowwood

Viola brittoniana Coast Violet

NY Times: Plants We Have Lost From New York City

April 10, 2011

CLICK HERE to read and article and view drawings by Marielle Anzelone and Wendy Hollender about the plants that once grew in New York City but are now gone.

One of the plants that has not been seen in years is white trillium, Trillium grandiflorum. Photo Steve Young.

Pennsylvania Rare Plant Forum to be Held April 9, 2011

February 8, 2011

PENNSYLVANIA RARE PLANT FORUM

9:30 AM-about 2:30 PM

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Jennings Environmental Education Center

12 miles north-west of Butler, on PA Route 528 just west of Route 8

40.9° N 80.1° W, Elevation 350 m

All people interested in the conservation of Pennsylvania’s native flora are encouraged to attend this meeting. The Rare Plant Forum is a function of the Vascular Plant Technical Committee of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey, and for over thirty years has served in an advisory role to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for issues related to the conservation of the native flora of Pennsylvania. In addition to discussing proposed changes to the list of Plants of Special Concern in Pennsylvania (POSCIP), there will be a few related presentations. This is an excellent opportunity to connect and work with other botanists, amateur and professional, who share your interest in the flora of Pennsylvania.

It is fitting for us to meet at a facility named for Otto E. Jennings, late Curator of Botany at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and early advocate of native plant conservation. If you know of people who might be interested in attending, especially in NW Pennsylvania or adjacent parts of Ohio and New York, please extend this invitation to them.

The proposal form is in an Excel spreadsheet, downloadable at http://www.paconserve.org/256. Related documents such as the definitions of the status categories and the minutes from past meetings are also available here. Please start working on your proposals right away, as John Kunsman and I will need some lead time to help gather the data. Please submit your proposals by 4 March. Proposals will be posted to the above url shortly after I receive them, and a summary will be distributed at least a week before the meeting along with an agenda.

Presentations

You are encouraged to consider presenting on recent work you have done related to the conservation of the flora of our region. One of the advantages of holding the Rare Plant Forum is the opportunity to share the results of our work. This can increase the value of your work by allowing others to build upon it. It also encourages collaboration and minimizes duplication of effort. Email or call me with the subject and how much time you would like.

There will be time on the agenda for un-premeditated announcements, but it helps me plan if I have some idea how many there will be, so let me know if you can.

Dinner on Friday

Some of us will be having dinner on Friday at North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock. Let me know (sgrund@paconserve.org) if you would like to join us; I will make a reservation.

River Running!

Some of us are going to take advantage of the spring thaw on Sunday to explore a local stream, probably Wolf Creek. WPC owns land at Wolf Creek Narrows where we can take out and botanize. It is one of the best spring wildflower sites in the Commonwealth. Some experienced whitewater enthusiasts might brave Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. Email me if you are interested.

Camping

We have reserved the Muskrat Cove group camping site at Moraine State Park for Friday and Saturday (http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/moraine/moraine_mini.pdf). This will be primitive camping with water, but no hot water. The cost will be $10/night divided between everyone who camps. Please contact Kelly Sitch at c-ksitch@state.pa.us if you are interested.

See you soon! – Steve

Steve Grund

Chair, Pennsylvania Rare Plant Forum

Botanist, Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

800 Waterfront Drive

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

sgrund@paconserve.org

(412) 586-2350

www.paconserve.org

Report: Only 39 percent of North American endangered plant species are protected in collections.

February 7, 2011

Washington, D.C. – Only 39 percent of the nearly 10,000 North American plant species threatened with extinction are protected by being maintained in collections, according to the first comprehensive listing of the threatened plant species in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Seed banks or living collections maintained by public gardens and conservation organizations across North America provide an insurance policy against extinction for many threatened species.

The North American Collections Assessment – conducted collaboratively by Botanic Gardens Conservation International U.S., the U.S. Botanic Garden, and Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum – found that 3,681 of 9,494 of North America’s most threatened plant species are maintained in 230 collections. Much more collaborative work is needed to conserve North America’s botanical wealth and to provide true protection against extinction, says the report, Conserving North America’s Threatened Plants, released this week

Andrea Kramer, Botanic Gardens Conservation International U.S. executive director, said, “These assessment results are hopeful, but also a call to action. For many public gardens, this report marks the first time their potential to assist in the conservation effort has been recognized. We hope this is a watershed moment.”

“As the U.S. Botanic Garden, we felt a critical need for a common baseline of understanding among the entire conservation community,” said Ray Mims, one of the authors. “To move forward together to protect North America’s native plants, we have to understand where we are today. Now that we know both what is threatened and what needs to be protected, there is a solid foundation on which to build future conservation work.”

“One of the lessons we learned from this assessment is how important it is to curate for conservation,” said Michael Dosmann, curator of living collections at the Arnold Arboretum. “Curators and horticulturists have not always considered conservation value as they go about their routines. Yet by participating in this assessment, many for the very first time saw the direct value of their plants in bolstering efforts to conserve our threatened flora. We hope this becomes a new paradigm in collections management.”

Assessment results indicate that North America did not reach the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation’s (GSPC) Target 8 goal set in 2002 of protecting 60 percent of threatened plant species in collections by 2010. While botanical organizations across Canada, Mexico and the United States are making progress to achieve these targets, the report found that 3,500 or more additional threatened plant species will need to be added to current collections to meet the new GSPC goal of conserving 75 percent of known threatened species in North America by 2020. This will require nearly doubling the current capacity.

The assessment calls for the strengthening of conservation networks and collaboration in conservation planning and data sharing. Institutions are urged to contribute plant lists to BGCI’s PlantSearch database and update them regularly. It is crucial to increase cooperation and coordination among a broad and diverse network of gardens and conservation organizations with different expertise and resources. To win this race against extinction, conservation organizations will need to prioritize the development of genetically diverse and secure collections to ensure meaningful protection of threatened plants.

Additional information and the full report can be found at www.bgci.org/usa/MakeYourCollectionsCount

Long Island Flora Sampler 2010

January 25, 2011

If you are tired of the frigid cold and mountains of snow, here is a sampling of  some of my favorite photos from the summer of 2010 that I took during my travels around Long Island. Something to look forward to next field season. Keep abreast of our newsletter and calendar for announcements of future NYFA field trips for 2011. You can click on the photos for a larger image- Steve Young

Welcome to the Hempstead Plains in Nassau County where volunteers work hard to preserve a remnant of the Hempstead Plains grasslands.

Looking west across the plains dominated by little bluestem and other grasses.

A salt marsh on Shelter Island's Mashomack Preserve.

An inlet of the salt marsh at Mashomack.

Bracken ferns line the sandy roadsides on a cloudy day.

You need a good search image to count the long basal leaves of the rare Platanthera ciliaris, orange fringed orchid.

Platanthera ciliaris, orange fringed orchid, in bud on the South Fork.

A new cone of pitch pine at Hither Hills.

The shiny rust-colored capsule of the rare Crocanthemum dumosum, bushy rockrose help identify it in late summer.

The cool fog blows over the dunes at Napeague.

On the road to the Shelter Island Ferry is the only place I have see grape vine grow all the way across the road on electric lines. How come this doesn't happen more often?

A little crab spider on a flower of the rare salt marsh plant Sabatia stellaris, sea pink.

New Rare Plant Finds in NY State Parks During 2010

January 8, 2011

From Kim Smith – NY Natural Heritage State Parks Botanist

This was an exciting year for botanical discoveries in New York state parks. Everyone heard about the federally-threatened Isotria medeoloides (small whorled pogonia) that turned up in Orange County in May. But there were eight more new state-rare plant populations documented in state parks this year.

Five of these species were found on Long Island, which was a focus area for the NYNHP state parks surveyed this year.  Three of the species found are listed as state-endangered; these are Juncus brachycarpus (short-fruit rush, S1) at Montauk Point State Park, Bartonia paniculata ssp. paniculata (twining screwstem, S1) at Connetquot River State Park, and Polygonum aviculare ssp. buxiforme (Small’s knotweed, S1) at Hither Hills State Park. The discovery of another population of short-fruit rush is particularly exciting, as there is only one other extant population known in the state. The other two species found on Long Island are Eupatorium torreyanum (Torrey’s thoroughwort, S2) and Desmodium ciliare (hairy small-leaved tick-trefoil, S2S3), both found at Shadmoor State Park and listed as state-threatened.

Back up north, during additional surveys for Isotria medeoloides, a new population of the state-endangered Endodeca serpentaria (Virginia snakeroot, S2) was discovered at Highland Lakes State Park. At Taconic State Park, Symphyotrichum boreale (boreal aster, S2, threatened) was discovered, and at Chenango Valley State Park, a new population of Botrychium oneidense (blunt-lobe grape-fern, S2S3, endangered) was found.

All of these discoveries point to the need for continued survey efforts for rare plants throughout New York. It’s a big state and we still have a lot to learn!

Boreal aster in Taconic State Park 2010


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