Pixies: A Sure Sign of Spring on Long Island
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.