Archive for the ‘Plant Identification’ category

Carline Thistle Seen in Otsego County

September 6, 2012

Until now, the Carline thistle (Carlina vulgaris) has only been recorded for Cortland and Tompkins County, New York (see NYFA Atlas). Recently it was seen naturalized in fields in Otsego County by NYFA board member and botanist Connie Tedesco. The USDA Plants database only has it occurring in New York and New Jersey.  It is a Eurasian species that was introduced in the mid-1900s to New York.

The information at the NY state museum for this species shows it was collected for the first time in Cortland County in August, 1948 by R.T. Clausen “SE of Dryden Lake, Harford.” It was seen again south of Harford Mills in Cortland County by Stanley Smith Sept. 17, 1955. This is on the border of Tioga County. Arthur Cronquist reported it to the museum as common and spreading in Ithaca in 1983.

Is this a new invasive species on the move? If you see this plant naturalizing in your area please leave a comment at this blog entry.  Thanks. – Steve Young

Plants from an Otsego County field. Photos Connie Tedesco.


New Tree ID Videos Available from SUNY ESF

August 3, 2012

Folks interested in trees,

Christopher Baycura (ITS office at ESF) and I recently added 35 tree vignettes to this YouTube site:

for a total of 135 tree species covered, typically in about 2 minute HD videos that briefly summarize how to identify each tree, its ecological characteristics, importance, and whatever else came to mind. The list of native and non-native trees covered is attached. We’ve covered most of the trees that one would encounter in the woods or in landscapes in upstate NY and throughout the Northeast, and all the trees covered in my dendrology course that are cold hardy in CNY (many western US tree species). These vignettes are also all available for free on i-Tunes. Please feel free to share this information and link to others who might be interested.

Don Leopold

Stay Abreast of Friday Field Group Trips

June 2, 2012

The Capital District Friday Field Group has been going on some nice field trips since April.  You can see their plant lists HERE and photos they took HERE.  Every week we hear the common phrase of 2012, “This is blooming already!”

The group walking out to see a view of the Petersburg Valley from the Taconic Crest Trail June 1.

The List of Plant ID Apps is Growing

April 9, 2012

The list of iPhone and iPad apps for plant identification is now up to 45 on our blog post.  Click Here to see the post and the list that includes apps from around the world.  We don’t have enough money to download and review them all but some look pretty nice while others look thrown together.  We couldn’t find any for the graminoids but they may be coming eventually.

One of the many screens that help you identify wildflowers of the Central and Southern Appalachians.

Learn New York’s Trees, Shrubs, and Vines at Landis Arboretum’s New Native Plant Collection

March 23, 2012

Landis Arboretum, high on a hilltop above the Village of Esperance in Schoharie County, is the best place to see New York’s native trees, shrubs, and vines thanks to the hard work of Ed Miller, volunteer curator of the native plant collection.  At last count, Ed had planted well over 200 species, omitting noxious, alpine, and rare and endangered plants as well as many from the coastal plain that wouldn’t grow well there. Even so, there are species like tupelo, red bud, cucumber magnolia, and persimmon that seem to be doing well and the warming climate doesn’t hurt either. Some northern species like bog birch and balsam popular are doing well too.  Not all species thrive the first time and some have had to be replanted like the sweet birches and witch hobble.

The garden's Willow Pond Trail leads to Ed's Native Plant Collection. This visit took place in early December 2011.

Following a lead from Kew Gardens in England, they planted each species with its family members.  This makes it possible for serious students to easily compare the details of closely related plants. For instance, all 12 species of native oaks are in one area, all six species of maple in another, and all five birches in still another. Other families are similarly grouped.

This area is where all the members of the sumac family can be found.

Since not all plants of the same family like the same conditions, there are areas that feature plants that like the same habitat, like sun, shade and wetlands. Many of the planting areas have mailboxes that contain a laminated map showing where each species is planted.  The other side of the map tells something about the family or the local habitat.

Ed pulls a map from one of the discovery mailboxes in the open sunny habitat.

One of the most popular sites along the the native plant trail is the Bog Garden. It provides a home for trees and shrubs of northern acid bogs and its log structure can be seen from the Landis barn as you approach from the main entrance.  Its a great chance to see these plants up close from a habitat that is often difficult to access.

From the barn, head east to the wooden bog garden. You may find Ed there to greet you!

Now is a great time to visit the garden to see the early flowers of many of the woodies, especially the overlooked wind-pollinated trees. The native plant trail is an excellent teaching tool and an invaluable resource for learning the woody plants of New York. Come visit soon!

In this area you will find the native dogwoods grouped together.

Another good time to visit will be the spring book and plant sale on May 19th, 10am to 4pm.  See their website calendar for details.

MyNature Apps You Tube Channel Has Many Videos on Identifying Native Plants

February 17, 2012

MyNature Apps has a You Tube Channel  that features many videos on how to identify many of our common wildflowers.

Here is one of his videos identifying Spotted Joe-Pye-Weed.

New Endemic Yellow-eyed Grass, Xyris bracteicaulis, is Described From Long Island

February 15, 2012

A new yellow-eyed grass, Xyris bracteicaulis (Xyridaceae) has been described by Dr. Lisa Campbell of the New York Botanical Garden. It is known only from a single historical collection from Lake Ronkonkoma on Long Island which also makes it a new endemic plant for the state. The Coastal Plain pondshore habitat in New York supports dynamic plant communities with species rare for the state. In this publication from Harvard Papers in Botany, the new species is described, illustrated, and compared to morphologically similar specimens.  To access the article CLICK HERE.

Sugar Maple on Sugar Packet Not Right

February 8, 2012

Below is a photo from a Domino sugar packet distributed by Ginsbergs Foods of Hudson, NY from a series that features state symbols. Hmmm, does that look like a sugar maple leaf to you? We hope they get it right the next time, especially since they are a New York company. – Steve Young

Guide to Identifying Viburnum Species

February 7, 2012

Cornell University has a guide to identifying native and exotic Viburnum species as part of their citizen science project on Viburnum leaf beetles. To access the guide CLICK HERE. There is also good information on the beetle itself and a list of viburnums with their susceptibility ranking that you can ACCESS HERE. We hope the Viburnums can somehow survive the beetles in the long run.

If You Care About Chara, Read This Post

January 11, 2012

Chara is a genus of algae that occurs in waters of high pH and is also known by the common name stonewort. Perhaps you have seen this light tan, pondweed-like, branching algae clogging the waters of calcareous ponds, streams, and fens (see photo). It’s brittle texture results from a covering of calcium carbonate precipitate and calcium salts in the cell walls. See more about this interesting plant in the Wikipedia entry and the web page of Dr. Kenneth Karol at the New York Botanical Garden.

Chara filling the water of a marsh in Monroe County. Photo Kim Smith.

Dr. Karol has been working with Characeae for several years now. He uses the two volume 1964 monograph of Chara by Wood and Imahori for identifications. Dr. Karol states that this is an excellent monograph but the broad species concepts and numerous subspecific taxa make it difficult to work with. Given that this is the most recent comprehensive work on Characeae, he has a long-term goal of revising the monograph and updating the keys. If you would like to help him with his work, he needs specimens! If you come across this unique algae in the field, collect a specimen (with the permission of the landowner) and send it to him at the following address:

Kenneth G. Karol, Ph.D.
Assistant Curator
The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics
2900 Southern Boulevard
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126 USA

Phone: 718-817-8615