Lichens of Central Park

Posted on Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Saturday, October 3rd Lichen Walk, Central Park, New York, NY

Trip leader Jessica Allen

A group of 18 met on a damp Saturday morning to look at lichens on the west side of Central Park between 77 and 81 Street.

Species seen:

On bark:
Physcia millegrana
Candelaria concolor
Flavoparmelia caperata
On rock:
Caloplaca feracissima
Caloplaca subsoluta
Lepraria finkii
Sarcogyne clavus
Porpidia sp.
Trapelia placodioides
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Persicaria at The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY

Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Saturday, September 5th


With twenty species in the northeastern United States, the genus Persicaria (smartweeds) ranks among the largest genera of flowering plants in the region, just behind milkweeds and sunflowers. Many are native wetland species whose seeds are an important food source for waterfowl. Others such as the East Asian mile-a-minute vine can inflict great ecological and economic harm. On this field trip, Daniel Atha led the walk to point out the native and naturalized species growing on the Garden grounds, indicating unique characters for identification.


After a ten minute wait for late-comers, nine Smart Weed enthusiasts set out in search of Persicaria on the grounds of The New York Botanical Garden.  The first species encountered was the ubiquitous Persicaria longiseta, common in rich, moist soil in most urban areas.  The species is rarely found in natural habitats.  The next species seen was Persicaria punctata, growing along the banks of the northwestern Twin Lake. The bravest in the group tasted the leaves, some declaring them very hot, others just mildly hot.  After a brief walk to west bank of the Bronx River, about half the group decamped to the bridge, preferring the safety of pavement over walking through Nettle and Bur Cucumber (Sicyos angulata). There on the bank of the river, growing side by side as they often do, were Persicaria extremiorientalis and Persicaria lapathifolia.  Even those on the bridge could see the pink and white spikes of the former and the pale, greenish white spikes of the latter.  Even from a distance, the two species are unmistakable.  Next seen was Persicaria pennsylvanica, growing along the bank of the River, just south of the Magnolia bridge.  Growing with it was Persicaria hydropiper, another species with spicy leaves and fewer people willing to try a taste.  The last species seen was Persicaria virginiana, growing abundantly along the split rail fence of the Thain Family Forest.  Some in the group made videos of the elastically projected achenes, illustrating why the species is called jumpseed.  The field trip concluded with a herbarium tour including specimens collected by Charles Darwin on the voyage of the Beagle, Joseph Banks on Captain Cook’s first circumnavigation and many others.

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Flora neglecta, Cross Bay and Woodhaven Blvds., Queens, NY – joint field trip with Long Island Botanical Society

Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

On Sunday September 13th a Torrey Botanical Society and Long Island Botanical Society joint walk entitled Flora neglecta was held in Queens. The trip leader was Michael Feder and there were 14 attendees. The focus of the walk was overlooked plants with a particular emphasis on learning to distinguish all of the common species in the genera Setaria, Galinsoga and Digitaria.

The walk started at the George Seuffert Bandshell parking lot in Forest Park. While waiting for any last minute attendees we walked over to some planted Viburnum opulus at the edge of the parking lot. Attendees were shown how to differentiate between the native and non-native subspecies of this shrub.  Unfortunately the planted viburnums were the non-native subspecies opulus.

After this the group met at a picnic table and were introduced to some commonly overlooked plants and obscure weeds via specimens. Some of the specimens introduced were Coronopsis didyma, Mazus pumilus, Cyperus iria, Cyperus microiria, Carthamus tinctorius, Leptochloa fusca, Phalaris canariensis, Aristida oligantha and Ampelopsis cordata.

Remaining at the picnic table the group was then introduced to the genera Setaria, Galinsoga and Digitaria. The emphasis was how to identify these species in the field, however, commonly used couplets found in keys were also explained. For these 3 genera, fresh specimens were available for 12 different species to enable side by side comparisons.

We then visited a greenhouse to see some of the unusual weeds growing inside. We found Oxalis corniculata, Fatoua villosa, Parietaria floridana, Pteris multifida, Phyllanthus caroliniensis and a small mustard which we believe is Cardamine flexuosa, although the identity is uncertain.

Following the visit to the greenhouse, we took a walk around Strack pond. While there we encountered Chasmanthium latifolium, Persicaria longisetum, Clerodendrum trichotomum, Angelica atropurpurea, Corylus americana, Panicum amarum var. amarulum, Nymphoides peltata, Cyperus difformis, Helianthus giganteus, Spartina cynosuroides and Gamochaeta purpurea.

For our last stop we drove about 4 mile to a sandy area near the Cross Bay Blvd. Bridge. Some of the more interesting species we encountered there were Tribulis terrestris, Verbena bracteata, Kochia scoparia, Sporobolus crypandrus, Cyperus grayii, Cyperus Schweinitzii, Plantago psyllium, Euphorbia dentata and Chloris verticillata. Of course we couldn’t ignore Malva neglecta on this day of observing overlooked weeds.

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The Ramble and Lake, Central Park, New York City

Posted on Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Trip report for The Ramble and Lake, Central Park, New York City, June 6, 2015.

Trip leader: Regina Alvarez

The day began with a drizzle, but four people still showed for the walk. It remained overcast for much of the walk and the sun came out towards the end of our journey.

We entered the park at 79 street and Central Park West and headed for the Ramble. We took our time and explored much of the western half of this woodland. As former Woodland Manager for the Central Park Conservancy, I was able to describe the woodland restoration projects that have taken place over the years. We were able to see the many restoration species that are now flourishing, including some woodland wildflowers such as Jeffersonia diphylla, Asarum canadense, Zizia aurea and Aquilegia canadensis.

Following is a list of some of the species we saw and discussed.

Family Species Common name Comments
Aceraceae Acer platanoides Norway maple Non-native invasive
Aceraceae Acer rubrum Red maple Native
Anacardiaceae Rhus aromatica Fragrant sumac Restoration species
Anacardiaceae Rhus coppalinum Shining sumac Restoration species
Anacardiaceae Rhus glabra Smooth sumac Restoration species
Anacardiaceae Rhus typhina Staghorn sumac Restoration species
Anacardiaceae Toxicodendron radicans Poison ivy Native
Apiaceae Zizia aurea Golden Alexanders Restoration species
Apocynaceae Apocynum canabinum Dogbane Native
Aquifoliaceae Ilex verticillata Winterberry Restoration species
Araceae Symplocarpus foetidus Skunk cabbage Restoration species
Aristolochiaceae Asarum canadense American ginger Restoration species
Asteraceae Ageratina altissima Snakeroot Native
Asteraceae Chrysogonum virginianum Green-and-gold Restoration species
Asteraceae Eurybia divaricata White wood aster Native
Balsaminaceae Impatiens capensis Jewelweed Native
Berberidaceae Jeffersonia diphylla Twin leaf Restoration species
Cannabaceae Celtis occidentalis Hackberry Native
Caprifoliaceae Lonicera japonica Japanese honeysuckle Non-native, invasive
Caprifoliaceae Lonicera sempervirens Trumpet honeysuckle Restoration species
Dryopteridaceae Dryopteris marginalis Marginal fern Restoration species
Dryopteridaceae Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas fern Restoration species
Ericaceae Kalmia latifolia Mountain laurel Restoration species
Fagaceae Quercus rubra Red oak Native, seedlings present
Fagaceae Quercus velutina Black oak Native
Geraniaceae Geranium maculatun Wild geranium Restoration species
Gingkoaceae Ginkgo biloba Maidenhair tree Non-native ornamental
Juglandaceae Carya cordiformis Bitternut hickory Native
Lauraceae Lindera benzoin Spicebush Restoration species
Lauraceae Sassafras albidum Sassafras Native
Moraceae Morus alba Mulberry Non-native ornamental, seedlings present
Onocleaceae Matteucia struthiopteris Ostrich fern Restoration species
Osmundaceae Osmunda regalis Royal fern Restoration species
Paulowniaceae Paulownia tomentosa Princess tree Non-native ornamental, seedlings present
Phytolaccaceae Phytolacca americana Pokeweed Native
Pincaceae Pinus strobus White pine Restoration species
Poaceae Dichanthelium clandestinum Deertongue Native
Poaceae Elymus hystrix Bottlebrush grass Restoration species
Polygonaceae Fallopia japonica Japanese knotweed Non-native invasive
Polygonaceae Persicaria virginiana Virginia knotweed Native
Ranunculaceae Aquilegia canadenis Columbine Restoration species
Ranunculaceae Caltha palustris Marsh marigold Restoration species
Rosaceae Amelanchier sp. Shadbush Restoration species
Rosaceae Prunus serotina Black cherry Native
Rosaceae Rosa virginiana Virginia rose Restoration species
Rosaceae Rubus phoenicolasius Wineberry Non-native, spreading, invasive?
Sapindaceae Koelrueteria paniculata Goldenrain tree Non-native ornamental, seedlings present
Smilacaceae Smilax sp. Catbriar Native
Violaceae Viola canadensis Canada violet Restoration species
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Weir Farm National Historic Site

Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Trip report for Weir Farm National Historic Site, Wilton, Connecticut. May 24, 2015

Trip leader: Carol Levine

Our field trip was held at the Nature Conservancy attached to the National Historic Site held in honor of  the American Impressionist painter, Julian Alden Weir.  The area is a beautiful combination of the open farm land where Weir and his artist friends used to paint and extensive woodlands that include large stands of Mountain Laurel (not in bloom at this time). The sun was out and the weather was beautiful.  However attendance was all of two people –  one from CBS and one from Torrey Botanical.
So the three of us went for a lovely walk ( which included an attack by a wild turkey in the woods who was protecting her precious brood and was very determined about it. )  Among the plants in bloom, we came across just one plant of Cypripedium acaule  but a nice stand of Corydalis sp. Also blooming were Maianthemum canadense, Maianthemum racemosum, Geranium maculatum, Arisaema triphyllum, Lysimachia quadrifilia, Duchesnia indica and, of course Symplocarpus foetidus.
Next time we go to Weir Farm  we should time it for the Mountain Laurel to be in bloom.

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Bronx Park Field Trip

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2015

Trip Report for Torrey Walk, Corydalis incisa on the Bronx River, Saturday, May 30th. Bronx Park, Bronx, NY

Trip leader: Daniel Atha, 718-514-3922,

Participant: Zihao Wang.

We found Corydalis incisa (Thunb.) Pers. growing in several areas between Mosholu Parkway and 207th St. The plants occur in distinct patches, sometimes very dense, other times scattered.  Some areas seem to be free of the species.  The species was past peak fruiting, most having dehisced already.   Very few flowers were present.  One large opening about 30 m in diameter and free of woody vegetation was nearly carpeted with the species.

Rorippa indica (L.) Hiern. was collected (Atha & Wang 15092) on Mosholu Parkway (40.869080N, 73.877610W, WGS 84, ±25m). This species has not been seen in New York State since 1949 and was thought to be nonextant.

We observed numerous individuals of Anthriscus sylvestris (L.) Hoffm. Many plants were a about a meter tall.  It resembles Conium maculatum, but lacks stem spots and has longer fruit.

We observed a single population of Reynoutria sachalinensis (F. Schmidt) Nakai, between the Bronx Rive and the Bronx River Parkway and north of the Mosholu Bridge.

The invasive Epipactis helleborine (L.) Crantz was seen.  Coronopus didymus (L.) Sm. was present, especially around paths and gardens and the species seemed to be more abundant in the Bronx this year than last.

On the bright side we found some healthy populations of Hydrophyllum virginianum and Viola pubescens, both natives.  On one edge of the gap dominated by Corydalis there were several majestic Heracleum lanatum W. Bartram, standing about 2 m to the large, white umbels.  Carex blanda Dewey and Maianthemum racemosum (L.) Link., showed up occasionally among the herbaceous groundcover. Opposite the Heracleum on the other side of the gap was a large stand of Rumex patientia L.  Numerous large and small Fraxinus were observed, some of which were Fraxinus americana L., some possibly also Fraxinus michauxii (Fraxinus profunda).

Polygonatum commutatum (Schult. & Schult. f.) A. Dietr. was common along the trail.

A single Polystichum acrostichoides (Michx.) Schott was seen on a slope above the trail and floodplain terrace dominated by a very large Fagus grandifolia.






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Buddy’s Bear Wallow Field Trip

Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

By Paul Harwood


Six participants of the Torrey Botanical Society and the Olive Natural Heritage Society met on Saturday, June 8, 2013 for a joint field trip into the Sundown Wild Forest. An interesting ecological feature called a bear wallow in a Catskill high elevation bog was our goal. A bear wallow is a depression in a wet area caused by bears, namely the American black bear (Ursus americanus), wallowing in the mud to keep cool on hot summer days. Over the years, the wallowing of the bears deepens and widens the depression, affecting the ecology of the area.

Buddy’s Bear Wallow, the target of our expedition has long been known and appears in an 1845 map by John B. Davis, a surveyor.  The wallow is located in a sphagnum bog on a topographic saddle at ca. 2160 ft. at the base of Spencer’s Ledge in Denning Township

A slightly rough ride on a dirt road, where colonies of stump sprouting American chestnut (Castanea dentata) grew and a mile bushwack into the mixed northern hardwood forest  (Tsuga canadensisAcer saccharum, Acer rubrum, Fagus grandifolia, Quercus rubra, Fraxinus americana, Tilia americana ) were necessary to reach the bog where the wallow was situated.  Along the way goldthread (Coptis trifolia), indian cucumber (Medeola virginiana) and skunk currant (Ribes glandulosum) were  found in abundance.

Upon reaching the bog, we noted that Sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sps.) with stands of hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) interspersed with great laurel (Rhododendron maximum) and braces of cinnamon ferns (Osmunda cinnamomea) and sensitive ferns (Onoclea sensibilis) on hummocks dominated the landscape.   Some early carices were also present (Carex crinita, C. gynadra, C. arctata, C. debilis) but it was still too early in the season to see many sedges fruiting in the bog.  A small stand of marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) was also found along with large populations of marsh blue violets (Viola cucullata).  Sam Adams and Steve Parisio of the ONHS had been here on an earlier field trip and noted the Sphagnum as being two feet thick.  On this trip, Sam pushed a walking stick 5 feet in length fully into the moss, perhaps denoting a much deeper bog than was previously thought.

Unfortunately for us, we found that we had navigated across the bog without actually finding the wallow.  So it was decided to visit a wet meadow, situated nearby that was also on our agenda and then find the wallow on our return out of the forest. Along the way we discovered some lady-slipper orchids (Cyprepedium acaule) and a rich area of lycopods (Lycopodium complanatum, L. digitatum, L. hickeyiHuperzia lucidula). A very tough bramble of hemlock, mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and white pine (Pinus strobus) had to be traversed to get to the meadow and there was some intense bushwacking before we broke through to the meadow.

Bright sunlight greeted us as we looked over the meadow over a late lunch.  Bulrushes  (Scirpus sps.) abounded but it was still too early in the season to identify the species.  Tearthumb (Persicaria arifolia )  was sighted as well as ?  Again, because of the unusually cool spring, much that we saw was in a sterile condition so ID’s were in short supply.

By this time the shadows were lengthening and the sun was close to setting behind Spencer Ledge.  So it was decided that we should start heading back and forego the bear wallow till another time.  Disappointed a little by our failure to see the wallow, we were nonetheless content to have seen some beautiful, pristine landscapes


Buddy’s Bear Wallow Plant List
 Acer pensylvanicum L. – striped maple
Acer rubrum L. – red maple
Acer saccharum Marshall – sugar maple
Amelanchier arborea (F. Michx.) Fernald – common serviceberry
Anemone quinquefolia L. – wood anemone
Aralia nudicaulis L. – wild sarsaparilla
Arisaema triphyllum(L.) Schott – Jack in the pulpitBetula alleghaniensis Britton – yellow birch
Brachyelytrum erectum (Schreb.) P. Beauv. –  bearded shorthusk
Caltha palustris L. – yellow marsh marigold
Carex appalachica J.M. Webber & P.W. Ball – Appalachian sedge
Carex arctata Boott – drooping woodland sedge
Carex debilis Michx. – white edge sedge
Carex gynandra Schwein. – nodding sedge
Carex prasina Wahlenb. – drooping sedge
Carex scabrata Schwein. – eastern rough sedge
Carex stipata Muhl. ex Willd. – awlfruit sedge
Carex trisperma Dewey – threeseeded sedge
Castanea dentata (Marshall) Borkh. – American chestnut
Chelone glabra L. – white turtlehead
Chrysosplenium americanum Schwein. ex Hook. – American golden saxifrage
Clintonia borealis (Aiton) Raf. – bluebead
Coptis trifolia (L.) Salisb. – threeleaf goldthread
Cornus canadensis L. – bunchberry dogwood
Cypripedium acaule Aiton – moccasin flower
Cystopteris sp.
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Michx.) T. Moore – eastern hayscented fern
Dryopteris carthusiana (Vill.) H.P. Fuchs – spinulose woodfern
Dryopteris intermedia (Muhl. ex Willd.) A. Gray – intermediate woodfern
Dryopteris marginalis (L.) A. Gray – marginal woodfern
Epifagus virginiana (L.) W.P.C. Barton – beechdrops
Eurybia divaricata (L.) G.L. Nesom – white wood aster
Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. – American beech
Fraxinus americana L. – white ash
Gaultheria procumbens L. – eastern teaberry
Hamamelis virginiana L. – American witchhazel
Huperzia lucidula (Michx.) Trevis. – shining clubmoss
Ilex montana Torr. & A. Gray – mountain holly
Impatiens capensis Meerb. – jewelweed
Kalmia latifolia L. – mountain laurel
Laportea canadensis (L.) Gaudich. – Laportea canadensis
lex verticillata (L.) A. Gray – common winterberry
Lonicera canadensis Bartram ex Marshall – American fly honeysuckle
Lycopodium complanatum L. – groundcedar
Lycopodium digitatum Dill. – fan clubmoss
Lycopodium hickeyi W.H. Wagner, Beitel & R.C. Moran – Pennsylvania clubmoss
Lycopus virginicus L. – Virginia water horehound
Maianthemum canadense Desf. – Canada mayflower
Maianthemum racemosum (L.) Link – feathery false lily of the valley
Medeola virginiana L. – Indian cucumber
Mitchella repens L. – partridgeberry
Mitella diphylla L. – twoleaf miterwort
Oclemena acuminata (Michx.) Greene – whorled wood aster
Onoclea sensibilis L. – sensitive fern
Osmunda cinnamomea L. – cinnamon fern
Oxalis montana Raf. – mountain woodsorrel
Panax trifolius L. – dwarf ginseng
Persicaria arifolia (L.) Haraldson – halberdleaf tearthumb
Pinus strobus L. – eastern white pine
Polygonatum pubescens (Willd.) Pursh – hairy Solomon’s seal
Polystichum acrostichoides (Michx.) Schott – Christmas fern
Potentilla simplex Michx. – common cinquefoil
Prunus serotinaEhrh. – black cherryQuercus rubra L. – northern red oak
Rhododendron maximum L. – great laurel
Ribes glandulosum Grauer – skunk currant
Rubus allegheniensis Porter – Allegheny blackberry
Rubus canadensis L. – smooth blackberry
Rubus hispidus L. – bristly dewberry
Rubus pubescens Raf. – dwarf red blackberry
Rubus strigosus Michx. – grayleaf red raspberry
Sambucus racemosa L. – red elderberry
Scutellaria lateriflora L. – blue skullcap
Sorbus americana Marshall – American mountain ash
Thalictrum pubescens Pursh – king of the meadow
Thelypteris noveboracensis (L.) Nieuwl. – New York fern
Thelypteris palustris (A. Gray) Schott – eastern marsh fern
Tiarella cordifolia L. – heartleaf foamflower
Tilia americana L. – American basswood
Trientalis borealis Raf. – starflower
Trillium erectum L. – red trillium
Trillium undulatum Willd. – painted trillium
Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière – eastern hemlock
Uvularia sessilifolia L. – sessileleaf bellwort
Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton – lowbush blueberry
Veratrum viride Aiton – green false hellebore
Viburnum lantanoides Michx. – hobblebush
Viburnum lentagoL. – nannyberryViburnum nudum var. cassinoides (L.) Torr. & A. Gray – withe-rod
Viola cucullata Aiton – marsh blue violet
Viola macloskeyi F.E. Lloyd – small white violet
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Pakatakan Mountain Fieldtrip

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

by Paul Harwood

The north facing sandstone talus slopes of Pakatakan Mountain in the Dry Brook Ridge Wild Forest of the Catskill Mountains was the venue for a joint field trip between the Olive Natural Heritage Society and the Torrey Botanical Society on May 12, 2012. Nine participants met at the parking lot in the town of Margaretville. The town is still recovering from the damage Hurricane Irene caused last year and the subsequent flooding after the East Branch of the Delaware breached its banks and inundated the downtown area.

Pakatakan Mountain Fieldtrip photo by Jessica Woodin

Pakatakan Mountain was a good choice for the trip as Adoxa moshetallina or muskroot has been historically collected there and a small population has been monitored by the New York Natural Heritage Program. The last survey in 2008 found a few hundred plants. We found three closely located, but separate clumps but unfortunately did not have time to do an accurate plant count. The Catskills (specifically Delaware and Greene Counties) is the only site in the eastern US where A. moshetallina, a relict species of the ice age, occurs. The nearest population is over 800 miles away so it is a botanical anomaly.  It is thought that it prefers the cool updrafts caused by ice in the crevices of the talus slopes, much like another relict species, Aconitum noveboracenseA. noveboracense or northern monkshood is another species that only occurs in the Catskills in NY State.

But Pakatakan’s slightly sweet soil of pH 5.0-5.6 (Brooks, 1960) is home to another rare species Uvularia grandiflora Sm., largeflower bellwort. It has been found on Pakatakan historically and only last year, Morton (Sam) Adams and Steve Parisio, members of the Olive Natural Heritage Society, had sighted it there.  Unfortunately, the unusually temperate winter and spring this year precipitated an early bloom so we probably missed the flowering and therefore were unable to locate it. Asplenium rhizophyllum had also been sighted and collected here but we were also unable to locate it, perhaps because it usually leafs out later in the season.

Large stands of Caulophyllum giganteum, Sanguinaria canadensis and Hepatica nobilis var. acuta were very much in evidence. Violets, Viola labradorica, Viola pubescens, Viola rostrata, Viola macloskeyi, festooned the slopes with their colorful display and large populations of  Mitella diphylla and Tiarella cordifolia were also a sight to behold. Other notable plants that were sighted were Botrychium virginianum, Asplenium trichomanes and Carex sprengelii.

A complete list of species sighted can be found here.


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Torrey Botanical Society and the Philadelphia Botanical Club in Southern New Jersey

Posted on Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Photo Credit: Steve Glenn

July 9, 2011, Wawayanda State Park, Hewitt, NJ.
Trip leaders: Uli Lorimer, Tim Chambers, and Heather Liljengren

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