Archive for Wildflowers: Purple

Veterans

Veterans . . .

Butter & Eggs after rain on Veterans Day, 2015.

Butter & Eggs after rain on Veterans Day, 2015.

Wildflowers, those exposed to so much stress in urban environments, may be presumed to have wrapped up blooming activity by November. Not so along the western edge of Manhattan. Cool wet days under breezy white sky have in succession invigorated lawns and edges alike on the island of Manhattan. The lush green beds support a casserole of multicolored leaves.

The gold of the Ginkgo and Weeping Willow complement the burnt orange of the Sugar Maple, the evergreen and yellow variations of the Norway Maple. The flutter of the individual Black Locust, tiny in comparison to that of the London Plane Tree and Black Oak, dry leaves when stiff the size of a desert plate.

My favorites of the blooming foliage include the fiery tones of the American Sumac, the intricate stylish spades of the living fossil, the Tulip Tree, and the full spectrum splendor of the Liquid Amber, the Sweetgum.

Standing, blooming in their way on the trunks of such trees, one can find lichen in full vigor:

Lichen 11 11 2015

Mushrooms like the Amanita reside in the leaf litter:

November Amanita 11 11 2015

Wildflowers, the second wind of sorts, numerous veterans, though perhaps plain or small or scattered, bloom now in great variety and number. Goldenrod, Galinsoga, Lady’s Thumb, and the Dandelion all still flower here and there. Others encountered during a run in the park may include:

Chicory, Chicorium intybus

Chicory 11 11 2015

Mallow, Marva parviflora

Malva parviflora 11 11 2015

Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris

Mugwort 11 11 2015

Nightshade, Solanum

Nightshade 11 2015

Peppergrass, Lepidium

Peppergrass 11 11 2015

White Snakeroot, Agaratina altissima

White Snakeroot 11  2015

November Rain, a fine song title, and a pillar source of life for a strong stand of West Village wildflower veterans.

– rPs 11 11 2015

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Violet and Vermillion

Violet and Vermillion . . .

Violet and Vermillion: Great Lobelia and Jewelweed (09 2015)

Violet and Vermillion:
Great Lobelia and Jewelweed
(09 2015)

The late summer harvest comes in swaths of white and gold tones. The drive to anywhere sees fields full of Goldenrods and Queen Anne’s Lace. The view comes punctuated by one detail important to tell. Out there, on the road, and even down here, within the city, New York City, there does exist a general wilt of plants along the open expanses where a vehicle or pedestrian passes. Dry days have been set in a long row.

Near the rivers, the adjacent greens retain a flusher state, a fuller color especially where trees, mature, uncut trees, offer shade. Spots where trees stretch out a patchy canopy buffer a cooler, damper shade below. Along edges of light and shadow one may find the most wildflowers underbrush. Yellow Thistles do bloom through arid, weathered, rose bushes. Galinsoga fills fallow flower boxes projecting from the base of town house windows uptown and downtown. Along the park’s green, other, varied, color combos call.

“This is New York!” one neighbor bellows with all politeness. More mellow is the Mugwort stating the same line in the manner a flower communicates its quiet beauty. When in bloom the wild plant you are looking at speaks for this same city just as well. The plant “I” does live here, just as much a neighbor.

More of what “This is New York!” is, is the city where wind off water shushes through branches, places where the Wildflowers of the West Village reside. A blade’s edge of Manhattan faces New Jersey, offers in scattered portions a green face north at The Cloisters and Tryon Park down to Riverside Park down to Hudson River Park all the way to the very tip of The Battery. Where one sees this green from afar, one can up close find wildflowers in the extended, greater, West Village of Manhattan.

Hedge edges bear sights, life, to witness. Plants bloom in organo-color with a variety often appearing in compliment to Charles Blanc’s meticulous starred wheel.

Purple and Orange . . . Violet and Vermillion

Great Lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica, an American native, shares open space in some number with the annual Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis. Color complements: violet Lobelia set on pedicel attached to a rising stalk raceme; vermillion Impantiens gems hung from thin stems in a more rounded bush of thin leaves akin to Nasturtium. Both, too, do bloom with lobes of three. Great Lobelia’s look like a sharp tongue, Jewelweed’s resemble an ear. Number, form, color set and matched, as the US Open, all played out on a background of aged deep green, summer’s end time.

– rPs 09 18 2015

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Taxicabs and The Easter Egg Effect

Taxicabs and The Easter Egg Effect . . .

Snow Drop on Sunday

Snow Drop on Sunday

Wildflower City Firsts With Full Effect

A colony of dandelions as yellow as taxicabs scattered themselves on a browned hillside. Taxicabs, ironic in the color meets Latin cadence of Taraxacum, the official. Taraxacum Taxicabs.

And groundsel, another daisy Asteraceae and an active commuter, stood firm and flush in full yellow bloom.

Taraxacum Two-Step NYC (01 2015)

Taraxacum Two-Step
NYC (01 2015)

Bright, warmer than the season’s usual early winter face: January on a Sunday afternoon remained mild.

Groundsel Epiphany NYC (01 2015)

Groundsel Epiphany
NYC (01 2015)

A foot of snow covered the scene one week later. A sky grey like actual polished lead hung the air heavy with damp deep cold riding a wind that scoured.

Two and a half months of brown, white, and blue with an emphasis on the white has taken another form in the sustained full sun of March. A very few Galanthus nivalis have appeared. Cautious egg white snowdrop heads shaped like ornamental streetlamps peer from leaf litter soaked with snow melt. Puddles in undeveloped areas, lots and parks, have formed shallow ponds of perhaps a quarter acre in surface area up to one foot in depth.

And on Palm Sunday, Passover and Easter just days away, egg yolk yellow spoke an internal smile set in eyes of palest purple: the croci, feral for the most part in fact. City spots here and there overnight decorated with wild plant life: a park corner, a tree pit, grassy curbsides. The random and sparse spread produced The Easter Egg Effect in my own wildflower city hikes set on random and at the speed of meditation.

Croci Afternoon NYC (03 2015)

Croci Afternoon
NYC (03 2015)

Spring has arrived in the western side of Manhattan.

– rPs 03 31 2015

Postscript: The Easter Egg Effect, The High Line edition –

https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2011/03/14/the-easter-egg-effect/

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November Libation

November Libation . . .

New York Aster

New York Aster

Shadows long across a lawn otherwise flooded with sun lead to a lone New York Aster in bloom. Light reflected off leaves shines as bright as wine. Foliage, served like oven-browned vegetables to the eye, rustles below a monochrome blue sky. November in Manhattan can approach perfection on a clear day.

Flowers now reflect white for most sighted. Symphyotrichum novi-belgii, the New York Aster’s light purple, makes an exception as does the egg yolk of the Solanum, varieties of Nightshade and Horse Nettle. Tiny nightshade plants often bloom around the uncut rings of turf that surround park trees. Small size may be due to in part to oak tree tannins in the soil.

Nightshade & Oak Leaf

Nightshade & Oak Leaf

Richer lawns hold patches of mature pink Lady’s Thumb, Persicaria peersicaria, and the tiny daisy faces of Galinsoga parviflora, Galinsoga.

Lady's Thumb (or Heartweed)

Lady’s Thumb (or Heartweed)

Galinsoga parviflora

Galinsoga parviflora

Seeds set to parachute from tiny globes blow in the walkway edges as do stands of Ageratina altissima, White Snakeroot. The flower heads of this Asteraceae resemble baby balls of yarn when viewed through lenses of enhanced imagination. Rational can turn Dionysian at the sight behind the now relaxed leaves of American Pokeweed. Phytolacca americana stems, exposed, convey the color of Pinot Noir.

Gone to Seed

Gone to Seed

White Snakeroot

White Snakeroot

Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

Here’s a toast to November in Manhattan.

– rPs 11 12 2014

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Still Life Set in a Cityscape

Still Life Set in a Cityscape . . .

Butter & Eggs by the Stump

Butter & Eggs by the Stump

The City Still Life, continued: Ideas or Ideals?

October brings a new, almost kinetic view: warmer colors spread in the foreground as the backdrop of sky, like the temperature, reflects colder hues. Bright, or subdued, autumn’s more visible variety can shift one’s attention and shape it toward color composition. Hikes along a river lined by trees showing ever less chlorophyll have fueled thinkers too numerous to list anywhere but in some form of comprehensive Encyclopedia Autumnus.

One subject: The City Still Life, con Flores, im Herbst (“with flowers, in Autumn”) often pops up besides the trees that can no longer leaf. The stump, the rooted gravestone of a neighborhood tree, low to the ground, overlooked, left alone, or still in line to be removed, centers a wild space that may be encircled by plantains beaded by rain, nightshades gathered in miniature copses, or scatterings of less dispersed species:

Chicory, Chicorium intybus

Chicory in October

Chicory in October

Mallow, Malva neglecta

Mallow in October

Mallow in October

Yellow Toadflax (Butter & Eggs), Linaria vulgaris

Yellow Toadflax in October

Yellow Toadflax in October

Conscious tree cutting and removal always depresses me, more for the fact the tree cannot be left to compost where it comes to lay. A green space more sustained by itself by letting it be would better reflect its organic natural history. Spaces may be shaped, that is understandable. May it also be comprehended that a city park curated as a rotating clean slate may not be ideal when applied in a universal, as in monolithic, manner? Stumps add character and the distinctive wild space equivalent of a still life set in a greater landscape, or cityscape.

– rPs 10 07 2014

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September’s Best

September’s Best . . .

Composition in Pink and Blue (Smartweed and Asiatic Dayflower)

Composition in Pink and Blue
(Smartweed and Asiatic Dayflower)

The City Still Life

New school years, new sporting seasons, new beginnings all commence as the summer season comes to an end. September, always a pretty time of year, often full of optimism, perhaps these qualities explain why this period, at least in the moment, moves along fast enough to earn the term: fleeting.

The city sprints at the electric pace. Nature, reflected in every tree, pigeon, and squirrel in the urban arena, offers a chance to pause and look and, sure, smell the flowers. The scale will be smaller. Built up areas do not offer much in terms of broad natural landscapes, so a painter’s eye must focus more on the smaller canvas. The untended flower pot, the tree pit, the unpaved edge of a parking lot supports the depth and diversity, native and immigrant alike.

Wildflowers, having enjoyed the majority of the growing season, continue to form random still life arrangements of multiple species in combination even if the sweet pastels of spring may have turned more weathered and tangy. The mid-Atlantic region tends to dry out at the end of the summer except when a hurricane passes through every few years. The sporadic showers that do fall provide temporary refreshment that rejuvenates the color and vigor of the blooming plant. A walk in the rain, then, offers a reflective opportunity to see the best September has to offer.

Nightshade in the Rain

Nightshade in the Rain

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Jewelweed 09 2014

New York Ironweed (Veronia noveboracensis)

New York Ironweed 09 2014

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed 09 2014

– rPs 09 17 2014

Postscript: This is the 100th post on this blog! Thanks for visiting . . .

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Spring! Spring! Palm Sunday Passover

Spring! Spring! Palm Sunday Passover . . .

Scilla siberica April 2014.

Scilla siberica April 2014.

An atmospheric switch flicked. Palm Sunday passed, borne up on bright skies, extending a temperature nearly touching eighty Fahrenheit. The wind, at last, was less generous, bringing stillness.

Past high noon, along a fence, I did see a single yellowed bumblebee buzz a shaded Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris). Beauty along a margin, preceding formal plantings, as nearby some nearly pale violet Scilla siberica (Siberian Squill) spread on a backdrop of bark brown soil.

Marsh Marigold April 2014.

Marsh Marigold April 2014.

Farther afield, yet on the west side near the Hudson, the Eastern Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) has appeared. No stinky foot in odor present here to my senses. This bloom, to my eyes, is the actual and sudden appearance of first thick leaves forming narrow green vases affixed to the forest floor.

One of Vases on the Forest Floor. (photo taken 04 10 2014)

One of Vases on the Forest Floor. (photo taken 04 10 2014)

Exceptional greenery became apparent, too, in patches of the Onion Grass chive (genus Allium), found often at the base of trees, standing in thatches at a full state of lushness.

genus Allium April 2014.

genus Allium April 2014.

Shoots! Everywhere!

Eastern Skunk Cabbage April 2014.

Eastern Skunk Cabbage April 2014.

Spring has begun to passover our latitude; at last.

– rPs 04 14 2014

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The First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring . . .

The first courtyard flower of the year beat the first day of spring by a few days. (photo taken 03 17 2013)

The first courtyard flower of the year beat the first day of spring by a few days. (photo taken 03 17 2013)

The Vernal Equinox began in New York City today at 7:02 a.m. Snow fell just two days ago and temperatures for the week are to average ten degrees cooler than what the meteorologists state is normal for this time of year. Still, our courtyard had become decorated with a few scattered patches of pastel color, nestled like Easter eggs in the brown leaf litter from the previous autumn.

Spring is here . . .

– rPs 03 20 2013

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Late Bloomers

Late Bloomers . . .

December Dandelion: a single Taraxacum officinale blooms in Hudson River Park. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

December Dandelion: a single Taraxacum officinale blooms in Hudson River Park. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Hurricane Sandy did more than deprive the West Village of power. The late October storm also stirred up personal lives, including my own. First, there were the thirty block walks uptown to fetch a hot paper cup of coffee, followed by candlelit evenings huddled with my wife and two cats around a transistor radio. Later, there was the less dramatic resettling into normal routines, which for me included regular walks around the area to seek out and survey what flora might be growing wild in the West Village.

Today, set almost squarely in the middle of December, the city experienced daylight under a blue sky for the first time in more than a week. The good walking weather coincided with an abbreviated work day for me. I took the long path home, hiking about for over four hours with no firm plan except to pass through those spots where in the past I have found wildflowers: churchyards, construction sites, public housing green spaces, and Hudson River Park.

The results were surprising in their variety if not vigor. The fine lining to the overcast and wet weather is that this combination of environmental factors has pushed off an extended deep freeze, giving some of the more hardy perennials, both native and immigrant, some bonus time to bloom . . . late.

Along with the dandelion pictured above, I found:

Canada Thistle

Canada Thistle,Cirsium arvense. (photo taken 12 11 2012) (

Canada Thistle, Cirsium arvense. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Carolina Horsenettle

Carolina Horsenettle, Solanum carolinense. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Carolina Horsenettle, Solanum carolinense. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Common  Chickweed

Common Chickweed, Stellaria media. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Common Chickweed, Stellaria media. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Galinsoga

Galinsoga, Galinsoga parviflora. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Galinsoga, Galinsoga parviflora. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Groundsel

Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

White Snakeroot

White Snakeroot, Ageratina altissima. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

White Snakeroot, Ageratina altissima. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Yellow Woodsorrel

Yellow Woodsorrel, Oxalis stricta. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Yellow Woodsorrel, Oxalis stricta. (photo taken 12 11 2012)

Large, medium, or small; cool white, deep purple, or warm yellow: none of these wildflowers except cold-weather Common Chickweed displayed the rich green lushness of spring or high summer, but each one proved that, even in the urban northeast, there is more December color to be had than holiday evergreen, red, and white.

– rPs 12 11 2012

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The Asters of Autumn

The Asters of Autumn . . .

A few New England Asters snuck into the corner of a West Village garden. (photo taken 10 17 2012)

The Aster family, Asteraceae, holds court in late summer and autumn. A variety of these little daisy faces can be found gracing fall fields, roadsides, and urban greenways with their white, blue, and purple colors.

Two attractive varieties can be seen throughout the West Village even now, in November, when most flowering plants have fallen to the frost. One is the New England Aster, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, which can be identified by the leaves, which clasp the stem. The blooms also tend to be more sparse and reside more at the purple end of the spectrum than its close relative, the New York Aster.

Face First: Closeup view of an individual New England Aster. (photo taken 10 17 2012)

Known also as the Michaelmas Daisy, Symphyotrichum novi-belgii has stiff stems that hold alternate leaves. The blossoms have pointed rays with a lavender hue that surround a yellow central disk. The New York Aster tends to grow bushier as well, often forming tight thickets covered with flowers. This species is also popular as a cultivated planting. Large colonies can be found blooming in between the old rusted tracks of The High Line.

New York Asters bloom on the right side of The High Line’s tracks. (photo taken 10 23 2012)

One other colorful lining should here be mentioned: Both of these beautiful native perennials attract late pollinators, especially bees and butterflies.

A bush of New York Asters hosts a happy butterfly on The High Line. (photo taken 10 23 2012)

– rPs 11 14 2012

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