Archive for August 2010

Workshop On The Value and Necessity of Native Plants and Animals

August 23, 2010


Deer Impact Study on Vegetation Taking Place at Beaver Meadows State Forest

August 23, 2010

We all know how destructive deer populations have been on native plants in New York.  DEC is now funding a study to quantify this effect on a state forest in Chenango County.  See more details HERE. We hope more of these studies will result in better management practices that will stop the serious loss of native vegetation. – Steve Young

Northeastern Bulrush (Scirpus ancistrochaetus) Rediscovered in New York

August 21, 2010

From Steve Y0ung, NY Natural Heritage Program – This federally-threatened plant is known from Virginia north to Vermont. Learn more about it at the Center for Plant Conservation website HERE.  In New York, there was only one historical collection, from the Putnam Mountain area in Washington County in northeastern New York, from September 1900, and it was listed as extirpated from the state. The location for the historical record has been searched numerous times but no plants have been found again.  In recent years more populations of the bulrush were found in adjacent Vermont and in northern Pennsylvania in a county adjacent to New York. It was frustrating that we couldn’t find it in New York – it was so close by.

This year I received funds from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to look for it again in the Southern Tier of New York to see if there were populations extending north from Pennsylvania.  On the second day of searching small wetlands in Steuben County, south of Corning, I finally found it.  It was growing in a small (40 m diameter) vernal wetland at the top of a hill that I had identified as a place to search using topographic maps and Bing birds-eye-view aerial photos on the web. One month shy of the 110th anniversary of its last collection in New York, it was back in our flora. I spent two more days searching other wetlands in the county, and I have more days to search later in the month so I hope I can discover more populations.  Dr. Rob Naczi from the NY Botanical Garden will also be searching areas near Vermont. Let’s hope he will find some in that area as well.  Stay tuned to this blog . . .

Below are some of the photos from the population in Steuben County.

This is what the wetland looked like as I approached through the hemlock woods.

In the middle was a small open muddy area surrounded by Northeastern bulrush.

The species has rays that arch down from the top of the culm.

The culms usually lay down and root in the mud.

The peripheral open muddy areas had different plant species but the area covered by the bulrush was almost a monoculture.

New Lists Posted on NYFA Google Map of Plant Lists

August 17, 2010

Maps recently posted include:

Whiteface Mountain plant list.

Plants of Long Island by Jelliffe 1899.

Click the Google map of plant lists in the links section on the right side of the page.

How Prepared is the U.S. to Meet Future Botanical Challenges?

August 13, 2010

The Chicago Botanic Garden and Botanic Gardens Conservation International ‘s U.S. office have been working with partners across the country to assess current and future botanical capacity in the United States.  The aim of this grant-funded project is to understand the resources we currently have to conserve and manage native plant species and habitat, identify gaps in capacity and highlight opportunities to fill them in the future. You may download the final report HERE.  Below is an excerpt from the preface:

“Plants are central to the future of scientific discovery, human well-being, and the sustainable use and preservation of the nation’s resources. The botanical community in the United States plays a mission-critical role in researching, conserving, and sustainably managing our plant diversity and resources. Botanical expertise is required to address current and future grand challenges and issues, including climate change mitigation, land management and wildlife habitat restoration, understanding the provision of ecosystem services, management and control of invasive species, and the conservation and recovery of rare species. Despite the fundamental role botanical capacity
plays in tackling each of these issues, this report outlines where botanical capacity, particularly human capacity, is lacking across all sectors  government, academic, and private). In the United States over the past two decades, the botanical community has experienced significant changes in
the demands placed upon it and the resources available to it. Since the early 1990s a series of published and anecdotal reports have outlined declining botanical capacity in many facets of this sector. This includes declines in human resources like botanical training and expertise, financial and management-level support for research, education and application, and the loss of infrastructure
such as herbaria. The nation’s science and land management agenda is suffering as a result.”

In light of New York’s decreased state funding for botany, this report is very timely. We need more botanists and botanical funding to protect our flora in New York.

In Search of Long Island Rare Plants 3 – Southern Arrowwood

August 12, 2010

From Steve Young – NY Natural Heritage Program. In New York two varieties of Viburnum dentatum are found, var. lucidum, northern arrowwood, also called Viburnum recognitum in some books, and var. dentatum, southern arrowwood.  Viburnum dentatum var. dentatum is found south of New York. Viburnum dentatum var. lucidum is found throughout the state while Viburnum dentatum var. venosum is found only in Suffolk County in New York and mostly on the very eastern end of Long Island. It is presently considered a rare plant by the New York Natural Heritage Program and ranked as S2 – threatened. In June I surveyed the area around Montauk west to Southampton on the South Fork of Long Island to see how common this shrub really is.  On Eastern Long Island it occurs in maritime shrubland with the more common var. lucidum but it can be distinguished fairly easily by leaf and reproductive characters.  It flowers and fruits about two weeks later than var. lucidum and its leaf petioles and undersides are covered with stellate hairs that are absent on var. lucidum. The photos below show the difference.

Northern and southern arrowwood beside each other. Northern on the left in bloom and southern on the right in bud in early June.

Northern arrowwood is in bloom,

When southern arrowwood is in bud.

Southern arrowwood has stellate petioles and twigs.

Northern arrowwood has glabrous twigs and petioles or with small straight hairs in the petiole groove.

Can you tell which species is which here?

Variety venosum on the top and var. lucidum on the bottom.

The brown rough bark with white lenticels looks similar on both varieties.

Because these plants flower at different times, their leaf characters are different, and they occur together instead of separated geographically, I would tend to call them different species rather than varieties.  Variety venosum has been described as a species,  Viburnum venosum, in the past and I would tend to agree with that taxonomy from what I have seen on Long Island.  I surveyed many roadsides and shrublands on the South Fork in June and southern arrowwood was present in good numbers in most of them. I am now recommending that its rank be lowered from threatened to rare and it put on the Heritage Watch List.  Even though it is more common than we thought it should still be monitored because the non-native viburnum leaf beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni) has been completely defoliating this and a few other viburnum species in parts of New York.

Soft Fox Sedge (Carex conjuncta) Rediscovered in New York.

August 7, 2010

Botanist David Werier rediscovered this state endangered sedge in Chemung County this summer. It had not been seen in the state since a specimen was collected in 1966 in Rensselaer County and was listed as state historical by the New York Natural Heritage Program. This species is similar to Carex vulpinoidea and Carex alopecoidea and was collected fewer than 10 times before in New York –  in the counties of Chemung, Herkimer, Oneida, Saratoga and Westchester. It may be overlooked because of its similarity to the previously mentioned species and a good description and photos of it with a comparison to those species can be found at the website for Illinois wildflowers. Click here to see the description. Congratulations David! – Steve Young