Afterbloom

Afterbloom . . .

The fruiting heads of asters and white snakeroot edge outcrops of Manhattan schist in Central Park. (photo taken 01 09 2014)

The fruiting heads of asters and white snakeroot edge outcrops of Manhattan schist in Central Park. (photo taken 01 09 2014)

“Polar Vortex” has become the first new catch phrase of 2014. This one has been used to describe the strong and sizable mass of cold air that has twice now swept down from the Artic, bringing with it snow and low temperatures along the temperate Mid Atlantic region. Here, even in Manhattan, strings of single-digit days like those common in the upper Midwest and Canada have arrived along with Superbowl tourists.

This January has not been one of those gray wet ones that allow Common Chickweed, Groundsel, and other hardy plants to flower in protected spots. Ice formations and snow drifts fill the parks and other open spaces where some form of green normally predominates.

I did find one kind of flowering, though. Central Park sports patches of New York Asters and White Snakeroot that still hold high their fluffy and bright white heads gone to seed. These little snowballs sit solidly atop brown branched stems and surround trees and the exposed Manhattan schist formations of the park. In the spirit of coining new words and phrases, I would like to offer the term “Afterbloom” to describe this hardy lingering reminder of New York City’s wildflowers.

A gray squirrel poses above Manhattan schist and a patch of of afterblooms. (photo taken 01 09 2014)

A gray squirrel poses above Manhattan schist and wildflowers displaying their afterbloom. (photo taken 01 09 2014)

– rPs 01 30 2014

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