In Search of Nantucket Juneberry

From Steve Young, NY Natural Heritage Program. At the request of the Long Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, I spent two days on the South Fork of Long Island evaluating the condition of Nantucket Juneberry (Amelanchier nantucketensis), a globally rare shrub that grows in maritime grasslands and shrublands on Long Island. At one site, it was still doing well even though some gravel had been thrown on top of a few plants.  Here is a photo of the flowers with the tiny petals that characterize this species (click on the photos for a larger image).

The shrubs often occur in knee-high clumps with a few stems or many stems that are easy to spot, here along the Long Island Railroad.

Plants of bush Juneberry (Amelanchier stolonifera) are sometimes similar in size but their petals are longer and wider. These two species can only be told apart during flowering time so it’s critical to do surveys at the right time of year. This year plants were flowering a week earlier than usual.

Other interesting plants occur in the same habitat like this prickly pear.

This bastard toadflax was just in bud.

While I was searching for more plants I was being watched.  Three curious fox pups and one shy one were wondering what I was doing.

Out at Hither Hills State Park it is a wonderland of nature with beautiful dunes and lots of interesting plants.

Like this bearberry with its clusters of pink flowers.

Another trip to the South Fork is planned for late May to look for more rarities. I can’t wait.

Explore posts in the same categories: Rare Plant Surveys

2 Comments on “In Search of Nantucket Juneberry”

  1. Cook Says:

    Interesting post!

  2. What a terrific trip! All kinds of great plants, and fox pups to boot! I’m looking forward to seeing that Bearberry blooming along the Ice Meadows north of Warrensburg. I wonder when it blooms there?

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