Journal archives for September 2018

September 10, 2018

The Naturalist versus the Weed Whacker, part 2, New York

This morning I took Daniel Atha of the New York Botanical Garden to 87th Street to show him two really good local plant finds, so that he could take samples to press for the NYBG Herbarium.

The two plants were the Scarlet Creeper:

And the White Morning Glory:

Both species have only ever been recorded once before in NYC. The new occurrences I found meant that these two species are probably now established in NYC, whereas the first occurrences could have been just "waifs", of no lasting significance.

Alas... when we arrived there, I was astonished to discover that the entire very long raised bed had been weed-whacked right down to the ground. It had been just fine on Friday morning and now early on Monday morning -- nothing left standing. This raised bed had over 65 plant species growing in it, all spontaneous -- an amazing diversity. A large proportion of the plants were native species, i.e. what I would consider to be wildflowers. There were no garden plants in this raised bed at all -- it seems that nothing had ever been deliberately planted here, or if so, it had all died out long ago.

Fortunately the person who weed-whacked the bed had not dug up the soil. I hope they have no intention of planting garden plants in there. Perhaps the weed-whacking was just a "fall clean-up" by some garden company that has a contract with the building?

If they now leave it alone, probably most of the plants will stage a come-back, either this year during the remaining warm fall weather, or failing that, the plants will hopefully come back again next year. I am sure that most of the plants had dropped seeds into the soil.

I do have iNat observations/photos of all the plant species I saw here, but the Herbarium material would have been a permanent formal museum record.

Ah well, such is life! We need to educate people that biodiversity is GOOD. Do not shun a fine diversity of spontaneous plants.

Posted on September 10, 2018 12:16 PM by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 3 observations | 18 comments | Leave a comment