Archive for the ‘Plant Uses’ category

Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank Taps New Collection Coordinator

April 23, 2012

Ed Toth, Director of NYC Parks Dept. Native Plant Center on Staten Island, recently announced the hiring of a new seed collection coordinator:

I am very excited to introduce Jeannine Strenk, our first employee, who joined us this past week as Seed Collection Coordinator for the Mid Atlantic Regional Seed Bank.  Jeannine joins us from the Chicago Botanic Garden/CLM internship program, where she assisted in coordinating and supervising the Seeds of Success program for the State of Wyoming.  Jeannine will be responsible for overseeing all collection activities as well as working with us to develop the MARS-B program, particulary with collection training workshops, outreach, website development, etc.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Greenbelt Native Plant Center.



A future powered by photosynthesis?

February 25, 2012

Check out this research at Cambridge University that uses moss in biological fuel cells to produce electricity! Spoiler alert: it’s actually symbiotic bacteria in the soil that are powering things up using organic compounds released by the photosynthesizing bryophytes.

Read the short article here:

Wearable “weeds”

June 8, 2011

Check out these fashions made entirely from leaves, fruits, and flowers! The artist calls them Weedrobes.

An Ode to Naturalists and Their Discoveries

March 3, 2011

A recent New York Times article by Richard Conniff entitled “How Species Save Our Lives” heaps praise on naturalists and their discovery of species that have provided the many health benefits that we enjoy today.  I like his comments, “Were it not for the work of naturalists, you and I would probably be dead.  Or if alive, we would be far likelier to be crippled, in pain, or otherwise incapacitated.” And “When the new wave of emerging diseases comes washing up on our doorsteps, we may find ourselves asking two questions:  Where are the naturalists to help us sort out the causes and cures?  And where are the species that might once have saved us?”

He presents a good, and much used, reason why we must continue to explore the natural world and save species.   I also like his suggestion #7: “Learn to identify 10 species of plants and animals in your own neighborhood, then 20, and onward.” NYFA can help with that! To read the entire article CLICK HERE. You can also see his blog about species at The Species Seekers.

Learning about species at


Exploding Cattails – A Cool Natural Phenomenon

February 14, 2011

From our friend Jackie Donnelly of the  Saratoga Woods and Waterways blog comes a video of the phenomenon of exploding cattail heads.   Its very interesting how these heads are so packed together with fruits that a slight nudge will start the dispersal process.  I have added another video below Jackie’s showing the same phenomenon in a slightly different way. Some of you may have had this happen on its own if you used the heads in dried arrangements. – Steve Young

Ancestral Plants. A new book by Arthur Haines

December 25, 2010

Anaskimin has just published a new book by Arthur Haines entitled Ancestral Plants. A Primitive Skills Guide to Important Edible, Medicinal, and Useful Plants of the Northeast. Volume 1. For more information see this flier.

Dr. Don Leopold from ESF Discusses Planting Native Plants for Green Roofs

September 8, 2010

This is a short segment on YNN of Don talking about the merits of planting native plants for green roofs.  Click Here.

New York Times Featured NYFA Board Member Gerry Moore

August 3, 2009

There is a series of three article where Gerry Moore, botanist at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and NYFA board member, answered questions about the flora of New York City. See the questions and answers starting here. The series was discontinued after the three installments.