Archive for April 2011

NYFA Upcoming Workshops for Salix and Botrychium. Register Now!

April 28, 2011

Two upcoming exciting workshop being offered by the New York Flora Association in conjunction with the Bailey Hortorium are listed below.  Click on the fliers for a larger version.

May 21-22 (Saturday and Sunday), 2011, Salix (willow) workshop based out of Ithaca (Tompkins Co.), led by David Werier. Co-sponsored with the Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University.

June 24-26 (Friday-Sunday), 2011, Botrychium (grape fern and moonworts) workshop based out of Ithaca (Tompkins Co.), led by Art Gilman. Co-sponsored with the Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University.


How to Identify Lesser Celandine, An Invasive Exotic Plant

April 26, 2011

This invasive plant can take over a floodplain understory and although the yellow masses of flowers may look pretty, it should be removed if possible. It is blooming now (late April and early May) so keep a lookout for it.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Duckweeds

April 26, 2011

Wayne Armstrong from Palomar College has assembled a very information-rich website on the taxonomy of the Lemnaceae. There are lots of photos and keys to use to key out this sometimes difficult group.  To access the website CLICK HERE.

Here is an example of a photo page for Lemna minor

NY Capital District Friday Field Group Schedule Available

April 19, 2011

The Capital District Friday Field Group just released their schedule for the 2011 field season. The group meets every Friday at 5:30 PM at a location in the Capital District of New York to learn the flora and fauna of the area. The group is also on if you would like to register there. For a copy of the schedule CLICK HERE. See you in the field!

The first trip will be April 29th to Joralemon Park in Coeymans to see the early spring flora. If you don't know what this flower is come to the walk to find out.

Pixies: A Sure Sign of Spring on Long Island

April 16, 2011

Entry and photos by Steve Young.

Mid-April is the flowering time of the rare Pixiemoss, Pyxidanthera barbulata. In New York there are only two locations, on Long Island, but only one of them has a significant number of plants. This tiny plant grows in low clumps on the ground in open grassland areas of pitch pine-oak woods.  It is in the Diapensia family with a close relative, Diapensia lapponica var. lapponica, that grows in the alpine areas of the Adirondacks. Long Island is at the northern edge of the range of Pyxidanthera, a coastal plant ranging from Long Island south to South Carolina, except for Maryland and Delaware. The Adirondacks and White Mountains are at the southern range of the mostly Canadian plant Diapensia. Close cousins that will never meet!

Click on the photos below for a larger version.

In its habitat a clump of Pixies could be mistaken for an open area of white pebbles or even a small mound of snow.

Here is a closer view of a clump of the tightly-packed white flowers.

You can see how small the flowers are here but there are a lot of them.

Diapensia flowers are on flower stalks but Pixie flowers are sessile and close to the ground. Their flat anthers have two parallel anther sacs on top.

These plants are in bud and show the tiny moss-like leaves that are widest above the middle and have a sharp tip. Without flowers or fruits they could be mistaken for a clump of moss.

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

Report: Researchers Say Children Need Green Plant Interventions

April 11, 2011

This is an article from the Green Local 175 in Rome/Utica:

Helsinki, Finland (SPX) Apr 5, 2011

Could “interventions” bring children closer to nature? Researchers in Finland think so. A new study published in HortTechnology compares urban and rural children’s relationships with plants and recommends horticultural interventions, especially for urban children. In Finland, a country famous for its forests and wilderness, researchers Taina Laaksoharju from the Department of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Helsinki and Erja Rappe of The Martha Association teamed up to investigate the role of vegetation in the lives of urban and rural children. “We were interested in finding out if it is true that children are not interested in plants or playing outdoors”, they noted. The study examined the relationships of 9- and 10-year-old Finnish school children to the environment and plants. Using a questionnaire of structured and open-ended questions, the researchers focused on two comparisons: children’s relationships with nature in rural and urban neighborhoods, and preferences for plants among boys and girls. 76 children-42 in the Helsinki suburb area and 34 in a rural area-participated in the study.

Results suggested that children living in rural surroundings had closer contact with nature than their urban counterparts. For example, more rural children considered people to be “part of nature” than did urban children. The researchers noted that, like children in other Western countries, Finnish children may be in danger of losing direct contact with the natural environment. “This suggests that further research is essential to understand children’s experiences if we are to enhance the crucial role of the environment in their lives”, they wrote. The children’s answers indicated that natural areas are important arenas for children’s free play and socializing. “In the suburbs, closer connections to nature are rare; interventions in schools, especially outdoor horticultural ones, can help children to build their relationship to vegetation.” The research also showed significant differences in the ways boys and girl experience green plants. Girls were more interested in plants in general, and were more eager to learn about plants than were the boys. Boys saw themselves as more independent of nature; more than 30% of the boys said that they could live without vegetation. Boys wrote that plants are meaningful mainly for nutrition and general living conditions, whereas girls appreciated the beauty of flowers and plants.

Laaksoharju and Rappe included recommendations for delivery of horticultural lessons based on remarks from the 9- and 10-year-old boys, who said that they did not like lectures, but enjoyed working with plants. “Learning by doing in an informal learning environment suits the kinesthetic boys better than sitting at a desk listening to a teacher”, they said. “Horticultural interventions can be effective starting points to add to children’s knowledge, affection, and interest toward greenery, but it is highly recommended that they take place outdoors rather than indoors.” The complete study and abstract are available at :

The New York Flora Association supports any program that will get kids out into nature to learn plants. Let us know if you are aware of any in New York and we will post them.