Posts Tagged New York City Wildflowers

Weathering August

Sign of a Soggy Season: Ringless honey mushroom, Armillaria tabescens
(NYC 08 2021)

Sunny or cloudy, dry or damp: extremes of one or the other usually mark the last weeks of the summer season. The key variable is whether or not the given hurricane season is an active one, or not.

The passing presence of Henri and now Ida has brought an impressive amount of water to the New York region this August. The flora blooming most vigorously in response have been those types that drink it up.

One variety seen in abundance now is not a flowering in the specific sense at all, but a fruiting. The fungi known as the ringless honey mushroom, Armillaria tabescens, appears in large clusters wherever lawn and wood meet. The base of trees is one such spot.

Ringless honey mushroom is often found on or near wood.
(NYC 08 31 2021)

A species of true wildflower that thrives in the wet weather of August is the orange jewelweed, Impatiens capensis. A plant of stream sides and pond borders; it’s bright, speckled blooms, each suspended on a fine succulent stem, resemble a trumpet.

Jewelweed in full bloom.
(NYC 08 31 2021)

This flower is a touch-me-not. Agile bumblebees and hummingbirds love its nectar, but in rougher hands, like those of a human, even a light brush will cause the plant’s seed pods to burst, a type of dispersal known as explosive dehiscence.

Orange jewelwood reveals exquisite coloration.
(NYC 08 2021)

August days may be muggy, but such interesting plants are worth some outdoor time spent on a wildflower walk.

— rPs 08 31 2021

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Glory Bound

Hedge Bindweed, Calystegia sepium

The wild morning glory, hedge bindweed, is often beset by NYC park workers and volunteers who rip it out with relish in order to reveal an empty trash-strewn edge where once a living green wildflower fence had been. No matter, though, as bindweed is hardy and tenacious and its lively, arrow-shaped leaves and clean white blooms return quickly to prominence.

Nature always wins.

We’re Baaaaack!

— rPs 07 31 2021

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Summer Standouts

Common Mullein Close Up

The Summer Solstice has brought the heat we associate with the heart of summer. Soaking up this bright sun are two of the seasons most vertical standouts:

Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)

Full Bloomsday

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Summer Flower Tower

Summer’s here, and the wildflowers are impossible to miss.

— rPs 06 30 2021

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May’s Namesake

May’s Apple Takes Center Stage
(NYC 05 2021)

This spring’s weather has been very amenable to the often elusive and shy mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum, which has appeared to be quite prolific in New York City’s shaded green spaces this year:

The Mayapple sports a single flower, which later transforms into a pale green, somewhat edible, fruit.
(NYC 05 2021)

— rPs 05 31 2021

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Earth Day 2021

Caltha palustris, the Marsh Marigold member of the buttercup family, holds the spring gold as well as the dandelion.
(NYC 04 22 2021)

Earth Day 2021 in New York City could be called “Brrrth Day” as it began with Fahrenheit temperatures in the 30s.

Sun in a sky dotted by bright clouds has added little warmth on account of high winds, but the light, so spring clear and pure as to sharpen and magnify everything, shines on the new green leafing out as well as a full spectrum of spring flowers both domesticated and wild.

Viola sororia f. priceana: The Ghetto Meadow is a Beauty to Behold.
(NYC 04 22 2021)

Happy Earth Day 2021

— rPs 04 22 2021

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11 Years (But Who’s Counting?)

First Flower of 2021: Common Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis

“Wildflowers of the West Village will be an ongoing document, beginning with the 2010 growing season” . . .

So began Wildflowers of the West Village on this date in 2010. Last year’s 10th anniversary was overshadowed by New York (and the rest of the world) locking down at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, that crisis still remains, but the outlook is much more positive, and today is a bright and sunny day in the city, the first full day of spring, full of new wildflower beauty that cannot be contained.

A short Sunday morning walk in the neighborhood reveals:

Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta

Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris

Mouseear chickweed, Cerastium fontanum

Red deadnettle, Lamium purpureum

The diversity of species and range of shape and color punctuating the newly greening grass is affirming to behold, just one of the reasons a little blog about wildflowers in of all places, New York City, has lasted for over a decade, but who’s counting?

— rPs 03 22 2021

Postscript: Visit the post that started it all here: https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/03/22/welcome/

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February Flats

The Flat Face of February Flora
(02 26 2021)

Snow melts to reveal lawns like tundra, spongy cold underfoot, and full of hardy basal rosettes, flat green faces waiting for spring when once again wild plants may rise to stand up straight.

Meanwhile, as soon as some sunshine sustains on the earth, there are poking through the cracks the early bloomers like the red deadnettle, Lamium:

Lamium Soaks up the Sunlight
(02 26 2021)

Spring’s start is less than a month away. The wildflowers of the West Village are getting ready.

— rPs 02 28 2021

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Snow Blooms

Snow Aster
(NYC 01 20 2021)

The asters of autumn have long gone to seed. The parks sport the brown and tan tones of skeletal plant stems, dried leaves, and fallow edges now, within winter’s center, dressed also in white from a January snow.

— rPs 01 31 2021

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2020 Hindsight

Groundsel Star: Senica vulgaris
(12 2020)

The year 2020 comes to a close. One thinks, in hindsight, this was one best skipped, until one pauses and realizes life, all life, including blooming plants, has continued as usual. Our human lives in civilization shall, too, and may even return to some kind of normal, maybe even this next new year.

Deadnettle Alive: Lamium purpureum
(12 2020)

Farewell, 2020 . . . Here’s to 2021!

— rPs 12 31 2020

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Looking Up

Contrast Enhances Color
(NYC 11 2020)

I looked down for inspiration in October. I looked up and found it, again, in November.

The fall season progresses, and as the tree’s leaves thin out, the colors of those that remain on the branches appear even more vivid due to the open space, the contrasting blue, or white, or gray sky above.

Years ago, as a new Romantic poet in his senior year at university, I was first struck by this perceived increased intensity of the foliage as the season aged. I had a daily walk up a hilly avenue lined by mature trees to reach my morning classes, and on one sunny day I looked up, and a poem appeared fully formed:

My Perfect Autumn Day

Blue and gold days

Have come to call.

Gilded trees, warm,

And clear, cool air;

I stare, this morning,

At a mighty mosaic.

We call this fall,

My perfect autumn day;

I say, each leaf is a coin,

Pure gold for my pocket.

If this season were a vault,

I would lock it,

And save them forever.

The poem retains the memory, the treasure, of that day. The same can be done with words now, added and aided by the convenience of the smartphone camera.

Looking up, one can see the gold of the birch, gingko, locust, and Norway maple against a bluebird sky. The white cloud of a rainy day allows the same yellows to glow in place of the sun.

“Still” – Abstract Expressionism
(NYC 11 30 2020)

The blue above also enhances the reds of the oak, and the full spectrum of the sweetgum, known also as liquidamber, and the savory tans of the London plane tree, whose overhead spread can resemble a cathdral when planted in rows . . .

Plane Tree Cathedral Vault
(NYC 11 200)

. . . . Which reminds me of a stanza from another poem composed on another autumn walk:

The tall plane trees sigh.

A broken spot of blue

In the gray and white sky

Grows as it goes by.

The fall is a wonderful time to spend time outside. Inspiration can be found, or recalled. The truth of a little poem, written so long ago, may very well be that each and every one is a perfect autumn day.

— rPs 11 30 2020

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