Archive for the ‘Field Trips’ category

Long Island Flora Sampler 2010

January 25, 2011

If you are tired of the frigid cold and mountains of snow, here is a sampling of  some of my favorite photos from the summer of 2010 that I took during my travels around Long Island. Something to look forward to next field season. Keep abreast of our newsletter and calendar for announcements of future NYFA field trips for 2011. You can click on the photos for a larger image- Steve Young

Welcome to the Hempstead Plains in Nassau County where volunteers work hard to preserve a remnant of the Hempstead Plains grasslands.

Looking west across the plains dominated by little bluestem and other grasses.

A salt marsh on Shelter Island's Mashomack Preserve.

An inlet of the salt marsh at Mashomack.

Bracken ferns line the sandy roadsides on a cloudy day.

You need a good search image to count the long basal leaves of the rare Platanthera ciliaris, orange fringed orchid.

Platanthera ciliaris, orange fringed orchid, in bud on the South Fork.

A new cone of pitch pine at Hither Hills.

The shiny rust-colored capsule of the rare Crocanthemum dumosum, bushy rockrose help identify it in late summer.

The cool fog blows over the dunes at Napeague.

On the road to the Shelter Island Ferry is the only place I have see grape vine grow all the way across the road on electric lines. How come this doesn't happen more often?

A little crab spider on a flower of the rare salt marsh plant Sabatia stellaris, sea pink.


Upcoming bryology workshops

January 21, 2011

There are three upcoming bryological courses and excursions this spring! They’re not being held in our region, but many bryophytes are quite cosmopolitan so it’s likely that you’d encounter species that occur in New York. Certainly the lab skills and camaraderie would be worth the trip.

Intermediate Bryology will be offered by Dr. David Wagner on the University of Oregon campus on March 21-23. The objective of this workshop will be a fairly intensive practice using the contemporary keys pertinent to the area. Most of the time will be spent in the teaching lab, with an afternoon excursion on the first day for field experience. Time will be available for participants who bring personal collections to work on them under expert supervision. Tuition is $300. Contact Dr. Wagner for more information (541-344-3327 /

The 16th Annual SO BE FREE foray will be held in the lower elevations of the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains near Quincy, California on March 23-26.  The area offers great sites for montane coniferous, mixed coniferous-hardwood forests; canyon oak forests; rocky outcrops; and chaparral, all in the steep North Fork of the Feather River canyon.  There will be flat trails and roadside areas to visit for easy access.  Bryophyte diversity will span from California’s spring ephemerals, bryophytes of springs, streamlets, and rivers to the great diversity found on rocky outcrops.  Beginning bryologists are welcome, and they are planning some special activities for beginners, as well as serious fieldtrips  that will be exciting for the hard-core. CLICK HERE for more info.

An Introduction to Bryophytes will be offered by Dr. Stephen Timme in the botany lab on the Pittsburg (Kansas) State University campus on April 2-3. It is designed to provide an introduction to basic characteristics and techniques for identification of some of the more common species found in the prairie, oak/hickory forests, and rock outcrops in the central U.S.  Techniques will include the proper use of the microscope, free-hand sections, terminology, and making semi-permanent mounts. The workshop will be topped off with a field trip. Contact Dr. Timme for more information (417-658-5473 /

Newsletter and Programs From the Friends of the Hempstead Plains

January 5, 2011

Meadowlark Newsletter Articles Winter 2010

Editor’s Message – Where Did the Year Go?

Review of the November Grassland and Meadows Preserves Meeting

Heartful Thanks to the Boy and Girl Scouts

Girl Scout Gold Award Project

Eagle Scout Project at the Hempstead Plains

Review of the Annual Fall Hempstead Plains Poetry Writing and Painting Workshop

“Walk the Plains” Event Hosted by Friends of Hempstead Plains and Nassau County

Information on Biotrays, Biodegradable Trays Filled with Clean Soil and Appropriate Seeds

Upcoming Programs

Afternoon Walks Fridays at 3:30 PM: April 29, May 13, May 20, June 3, June 17, July 8

Weekend Volunteer Community Workdays Saturdays 9 to 12: April 30, May 14, May 21, June 4, June 18, July 9

For more information and to join the Friends go to their website. CLICK HERE.

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.

NYFA Annual Meeting and Field Trips a Success

July 27, 2010

Over twenty NYFA members enjoyed our field trips and annual meeting in the Cranberry Lake area over the weekend.  We saw many interesting plants in the beautiful poor fens of the area and after a hearty lunch provided by Ed Frantz at his camp, we elected this year’s board members including the two new members Kim Smith and Anna Stalter.  Saturday afternoon we saw old growth white pines and another interesting bog near Wanakena.  We ended our outing Sunday morning in a large, beautiful, poor fen at Hitchins Pond.  Thanks go to Anne Johnson and Bernie Carr for organizing the trips and to Ed Frantz for his hospitality at the camp.  More details will be coming in the October newsletter. See more photos at the Picasa web album.

Lost Pond Bog near Wanakena.

Hitchins Pond Bog.

Pondering over bog plants at Hitchins Pond.

Happy members by an old growth white pine, Wanakena. From left to right: Joe McMullen, Anne Johnson, Connie Tedesco, Peter O'Shay, Aissa Feldmann, Steve Daniel, Chris Martine, Laura Lehtonen, David Werier, Alan Strong, Alex Young, Bernie Carr, Carol Gates. Photo by Steve Young.

In Search of Long Island Rare Plants 2 – White-edge Sedge

July 8, 2010

From Steve Young – NY Natural Heritage Program

Earlier in June I travelled down to the South Fork of Long Island where, with funding from The Nature Conservancy, I explored various natural areas in search of rare plant populations that have not been seen in 20 years or more. A sedge that had not been surveyed recently was Carex debilis var. debilis or white-edge sedge. The orginal surveys were somewhat vague in their location information so my object was to find them again and update their locations with GPS and obtain quality and quantity information for each population.  One of the locations was Big Reed Pond, north of the village of Montauk. After a long walk on the beautiful trails, I found the population that turned out to be in good condition but containing only about 10 plants.

The fern-filled understory of the swamp forest.

Carex debilis var. debilis is a open clump-forming sedge with culms that tend to be lax.

The clumps were along a small trail in the understory of red maple, black gum and oaks.

The perigynia of this variety are drooping, have no hairs and are the longest of the species, averaging about 7 mm long. The beak and the edges of the scales are white-edged and translucent.

On my walk back to the parking lot I passed the memorial plaque to Joe Beitel, a well-known botanist from Long Island that sadly, I never had a chance to meet in person.

Nearing the parking lot the forest turns to shrubland with interesting plants like winged sumac and the two Southern arrowwood varieties (more about these varieties in a future post).

The hairy stems of winged sumac.

And its beautiful leaves.

On the way back to my base of operation I passed a wet sandy swale that was full of the rare threadleaf sundew or dew-thread, Drosera filiformis. The sun shining at a low angle produced small clouds of dew above the surface.

In New York, these sundews are only found in Suffolk County.

The long leaves are covered with sticky glands that capture insects.

Also hidden among the sundews was one of the few populations of Carolina clubmoss, Pseudolycopodiella caroliniana,  that exists in New York.  Interestingly, this species has one population in Suffolk County, one in Nassau County and one way up in a fen near Lake George, an unexpected distribution.

This species has small, light green prostrate creeping stems. No strobili were evident yet on these plants.

I am going back to the South Fork next week to look for more of its interesting rare plants. I can’t wait.

Allegany State Park Field Trip a Success

May 20, 2010

We had nine enthusiastic plant people participate in two days of plant walks in Allegany State Park. On Saturday morning May 15 we traveled to the southern end of the park and hiked up the trail to Bear Cave Rocks and Mount Seneca. At Bear Cave Rocks we wanted to confirm an old record of Trichomanes intricatum, the Weft Fern, that only occurs as a gametophyte in the cracks of the big conglomerate boulders. After searching a while with flashlights we finally found a couple of patches of the fern to everyone’s delight. We were all now part of an exclusive group of  people that have ever seen this plant. After that excitement, Bear Cave Rocks lived up to its name as three bear cubs came down the trail toward us screaming for their mother. When they stopped and saw us we had a chance to photograph them before retreating back down the trail to let them leave. The east side of Mount Seneca was very rich and we saw many species of wildflowers, mosses, and ferns. Lichens were also identified by member Jim Battaglia. We all made it to the top of the mountain before descending to the bottom through a drier and less diverse forest.

Ready to start the trip! Jim Battaglia, Michael Siuta, Ed Fuchs, Mary Alice Tock, Steve Daniel and Kim Smith.

We saw a nice stand of Phlox divaricata.

Rosy twisted stalk was fairly common here.

Later that afternoon we drove to Thunder Rocks, another area of large conglomerate boulders where we wanted to look for Trichomanes again. These boulders were open to a lot more climbing by visitors and we had no luck finding the fern.

Looking for Trichomanes at Thunder Rocks.

The wetter spots were full of swamp violet, Viola cucullata, with its dark purple centers.

Clintonia borealis was very common and in full flower. We had hoped to see Clintonia umbellata but no luck.

On Sunday morning a group of six of us went back down to the southern end of the park and hiked the Blacksnake Mountain Trail. This was another rich area that had a large hillside with many calcareous springs emanating from it. The hillside was covered with many spring wildflowers that were very healthy and in full flower. We had never seen so many plants of yellow mandarin, Disporum lanuginosum, and never any so large! On the way out of the park a few of us stopped in an area where twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla, had been seen in the past but we didn’t find any plants.

Kim examines the wildflowers at the seepy hillside.

We saw all 3 common trilliums but white was the most common along this trail.

Golden ragwort was common along the roadsides and other wet areas.

Happy participants at the end of the trip. Kim Smith, Steve Daniel, Hermann Emmert, Joanne Schlegel, and Ed Fuchs.

All in all it was a great trip and everyone agreed that we should return again to explore other areas of the park. The list of plants will be published in our next newsletter as well as on the Google plant lists map that you can access in the sidebar of this blog. – Steve Young

“Wildflowers and other Invasive Species”: a nature walk in Otsego County

May 13, 2010

Butternut Valley Alliance

and the New York Flora Association


“Wildflowers and other Invasive Species”: a nature walk

Sunday, June 6 from 1:30 to 5 p.m.

Along the Butternut Creek (Otsego County)

At “Elmwood”, 133 Peet Road, Morris, NY

(Turn off State Hwy 51 and proceed 0.8 miles)

An opportunity to learn about local wild flora, how to preserve and propagate it, and how to get rid of invasive species, which harm our environment, economy, and health. Members of the New York Flora Association will be present to facilitate a learning opportunity.

Participants are invited to bring a dish to pass and stay for a picnic on the grounds. Tents, tables, and chairs provided. Children welcome! Pre-registration required. Contact: 607-263-5411, or by email: jack.maier @

The Butternut Valley Alliance encourages the preservation and protection of the environmental qualities, farming and cultural heritage, economic viability, open space and village charms of the entire watershed.

The New York Flora Association, founded in 1990, is an organization dedicated to the promotion of field botany and greater understanding of the plants that grow in the wild in New York State.

Elmwood is a property listed on the New York State and National Register of Historic Places as the “Morris-Lull Farm”, with a Federal stone house dating from 1821.

View over Basswood Pond in the headwaters of the Butternut Creek, October 2009 (photo by Les Hasbargen).

My Red Maple Swamp

May 9, 2010

At the end of my street in the Capital District of New York, there is a beautiful red maple swamp. Even though I don’t own it I think of it as mine because I probably venture into in more often than anyone in the neighborhood. Red maple swamps are some of my favorite places because of the variety of plants and the beauty of the mosaic of plants and water.  Here are some photos of the plants I saw today between the thunderstorms.

One of the first plants I noticed was the early azalea, Rhododendron prinophyllum, not only the flowers but the fragrance!

Early azalea in the swamp

Closeup of the flowers

Here you can see the glandular hairs on the flower tube.

The vegetation was so lush after the rain.

Dominants include skunk cabbage and sensitive fern.

Pools of water provide great reflections.

The rain caused the starflowers to reveal their undersides.

Royal fern spore leaves glistened with raindrops.

Ill be back soon! – Steve Young

The Crum Bryological Workshop for 2010 Announced

January 22, 2010

The Crum Workshop will be held this year in Tobermory, Ontario, Canada, at the very tip of the Bruce Peninsula, sticking out into Lake Huron, on September 23-28, 2010. Save the dates. There will be more information later in the year about facilities, etc. Our local representative is Jennifer Doubt (

William R. Buck
Institute of Systematic Botany
New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126, U.S.A.

phone: 718-817-8624
fax: 718-817-8648