Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station will be hosting a 3-day intensive field course, “Wetland and Aquatic Plants of the Adirondacks” on August 11 – 13 this year. It will be taught by Dr. Michael Burgess, a systematic botanist and Amelanchier expert at SUNY Plattsburgh. It is open to all levels of experience and education.
Categories: Classes and Workshops
Categories: Classes and Workshops
On Saturday October 26, Michael Wojtech, author of Bark, a field guide to trees of the Northeast, presented a workshop to help participants identify native trees in Eastern New York based on bark types. Michael started out with an indoor class on the characteristics and ecology of bark and, using photos, tested us on how we thought bark on young trees would look on older trees. By knowing the different types of bark – blocky, ropy, vertical strips, smooth, etc. – it was easier to guess how these bark types change over time. After our classroom lesson, we were excited to get outdoors and walk the trails of the Albany Pine Bush to see the different types in nature. We spent over an hour looking at oaks, pines, birches, cherries, maples and others and learning the techniques of bark identification to figure out closely related species like cottonwood, aspen and grey birch. A great time was had by all and we look forward to trying out our new skills with other trees of the area.
For more information about Michael’s bark book and workshops you can visit his website http://www.knowyourtrees.com. We thank him for a very interesting and informative workshop. – Steve Young
Categories: Field Trips, People
Liana Williams, age 5, enjoys botanizing and birdwatching with grandma (and NYFA Board member) Connie Tedesco. For the last 3 years they have taken a fall walk on Whalen Hill, near Hartwick NY, to find the Spiranthes cernua along the trail, occasional among the clubmosses. Liana was the first to spot one this year and shows it off for the camera.
Categories: Natural History, Plant Biology
by Steve Young
Today I accompanied Dr. Carl George from Union College into the field to look at the differences between male and female plants of Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica. Our first stop was an area in Glenville with multiple clones of the plants, one of them female and the others male. What are the distinguishing characters? Male plants have erect inflorescences with bright white flowers and bigger leaves. These characters can be seen driving by in a car. The female plants are usually smaller with erect and drooping flower branches which are not as bright, probably due to the winged tepals and darker ovaries not present in the male plants. The male plants have flowers with five white petals that are spreading outward. They have long white stamens that are longer than the petals and we did not see any pollen in the open anthers. At the base of the flowers are tiny ovaries. The female plants have large ovaries topped by a three-parted stigma and small staminodes at the base. The five tepals are open when flowering starts and eventually three of them form large wings around the fruit. The remaining two tepals remain small in size, become erect and, hidden by the wings, they enclose the fruit. Today we saw four different populations of male plants, some of them large, but most of the plants we saw in the area were female. This is a good time of year to distinguish the two sexes so take time to look at the clones in your area and see if you can distinguish them.
Here you can see the male plants on the right and the female plants on the left of a clone of sumac.
Notice the large size of the male clone with the erect bright white flowers. Carl George examines the flowers.
The male plants also had larger leaves than the female plants.
Notice how the female inflorescences also have drooping branches.
Here are young female flowers with five tepals about the same size and older flowers with three of the sepals developed into the wings that surround the fruit.
Here are the upright male flowers with the long stamens sticking out.
The hollow stems have a groove above the branches and they arise in a spiral fashion up the stem.
A large male clone can be seen along a road in Pattersonville. The erect inflorescences are easily recognized. Even though they are swarming with honey bees, Dr. George found there is no pollen reward and their pollen sacs are empty.
Here is another male plant in downtown Albany not far from a stand of female plants.
The male plants are still easily distinguished in late September after the flowers fall because the upright branches remain while the female plants are still laden with white female flowers and fruits.
Categories: Field Trips, Happenings, NY Flora Association
By Steve Young
On May fifth NYFA began their annual meeting and field trip with a visit to Nelson Swamp near Nelson, NY. We met on a beautiful sunny day just outside the village of Cazenovia and carpooled to a parking spot that provided easy access to the swamp.
The participants divided into two smaller groups so we would have less impact on sensitive areas. While some of us explored the mosaic of marsh and white cedar swamp to the west, the other group went into the swamp to take a look at spreading globeflower.
In one area we came across a beautiful expanse of false hellebore (Veratrum viride) in its early stages of growth as well as some nice meadows of Carex bromoides (“the other hummock sedge” as David Werier describes it). At the appointed time we exchanged places with the other group and listened to Dr. Sara Scanga talk about her work with Spreading globeflower (Trollius laxus) before heading into the swamp to look at the plant for real.
For some of the group it was the first time they had seen globeflower and Sara explained all of the interesting facets of its growth and ecology. You can learn more about her work HERE.
Fortunately the plants were in full flower and put on a real show for us.
You can learn more about spreading globeflower in New York at the NY Natural Heritage Conservation Guide.
After the field trip we drove to board member Ed Frantz’s house near Cazenovia and enjoyed a delicious and bountiful lunch provided by Ed and his family. After lunch came a short business meeting with a board member vote followed by the first annual botanical quiz given by yours truly from an iPhone app called “Angiosperms.” Even though there were a lot of groans at the questions, I think everyone enjoyed participating, especially the two groups that tied for the win!
We finished off the day’s activities by voting for the 2014 Wildflower of the Year, a tradition that we will have every year to honor and publicize a member of our flora for the next calendar year. This year’s win went to cardinal flower, one of our most spectacular and well-known wildflowers.
Many thanks go to the organizers of the field trip and luncheon and to the record number of participants we had for the meeting. It was one to remember.
Categories: Education and Research
This episode takes place in our own backyard; Plattsburgh!
Categories: Bryophytes, Classes and Workshops, Field Trips, NY Flora Association
The NYFA Board met in Cooperstown on April 18 to discuss future projects, field trips, workshops and other issues. Their annual members meeting will be on Sunday May 5th beginning with a tour of Nelson Swamp. See our web page on field trips for more information. The day began with a field trip to Table Rocks at the campus of Hartwick College in Oneonta where we were joined by bryologist Dr. Sean Robinson from SUNY Oneonta who helped identify the mosses. A great time was had by all.
Table Rocks is located on the slopes above the Science Building but permission is needed to access the site.
Steve Daniel showed us an example of the green stain fungus in wood, Chlorociboria aeruginacens.
Outside the science building we saw a naturalized population of Bellis perennis, English daisy, one of two flowering plants we saw that day. The other was colt’s foot, another European import. With the delayed flowering season we are having this spring it was great to see anything blooming!