Emerald Ash Borer Discovered in Prospect Park

Terrible news.

Until this announcement, Agrilus planipennis, emerald ash borer, or EAB for short, had been found throughout New York state, but the locations closest to NYC were in Westchester County. This is quite a leap. One of the ways invasive forest pests get spread is through moving firewood. I wonder if that was the case here.

I live 1/2 mile south of Prospect Park. I am going to visit the ash trees in my neighborhood. They may not be here next year.

Press release from Prospect Park Alliance, 2017-10-27:

Today, the New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) and Environmental Conservation (DEC) confirmed the first-ever discovery of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in New York City in Prospect Park. Of an initial survey of 10 suspected trees in Prospect Park by Prospect Park Alliance—the non-profit that cares for the Park in partnership with the City, three were confirmed to be infested by this invasive pest by a Cornell University researcher.

Prospect Park Alliance has removed three trees to date that succumbed to this infestation, located along the Ocean Avenue perimeter of the Park, and additional affected trees in this area will be removed over the winter. NYC Parks, DEC, DAM and Prospect Park Alliance are taking immediate action to limit the spread of infestation and protect New York City’s more than 51,000 ash trees.

“The Emerald Ash Borer infestation was detected in Prospect Park thanks to vigilant monitoring of the tree population by Prospect Park Alliance arborists, a year-round tree crew committed to the protection and preservation of the Park’s 30,000 trees,” said John Jordan, Director of Landscape Management for Prospect Park Alliance. “The Alliance will continue to monitor ash trees in the Park, and will work closely with New York City Parks Department, USDA and DEC to continue tracking and responding to this infestation.”

EAB is a non-native species of beetle whose larvae kill trees by burrowing into the inner bark and thus interrupting the circulation of water and vital nutrients. EAB-infested trees are characterized by thin crowns, sprouts on the trunks of the trees, and the signature d-shaped exit holes adult beetles leave on trees’ bark. EAB only affects ash trees, which constitute roughly three percent of NYC’s street trees. EAB has been present in New York State since 2009.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently awarded a $75,000 Urban Forestry Grant to the Prospect Park Alliance to conduct a tree inventory of Prospect Park. The inventory will include an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 trees in the landscaped areas of the park, representing about half of the total population. The tree inventory will include an invasive insect, pest, and disease detection survey by incorporating the USDA Forest Service early pest detection protocol (IPED).

Thank you to Jessica Katz who posted this to several NYC gardening groups, which is how I learned of it.

Exhibit on Agrilus planipennis, emerald ash borer, from the Onondaga County Cornell Cooperative Extension at the 2012 New York State Fair.
EAB Exhibits

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Garden Insect Species Records 2015

2015-09-19: Added Homeosoma, observed 10 days ago and just identified, bringing the total to 23.
2015-09-13: Two more Hymenoptera species identified from the last weekend in August: Bombus fervidus, golden northern bumblebee, and Gnamptopelta osidianator, an Ichneumon wasp. And a new Diptera species identified today: Hermetia illucens. That brings the number of species to 22.
2015-07-12: Added two I’d forgotten about: Orius insidiosus, and Anthrenus verbasci. That brings the number of species to 19.

These are the insect species I’ve discovered or identified in my garden for the first time this year.

Hymenoptera – Bees

  • Bombus fervidus, golden northern bumblebee, yellow bumblebee, 2015-08-30
  • Ceratina calcarata, spurred ceratina, small carpenter bee
  • Cerceris, two different species, not identified down to species.
  • Nomada, cuckoo bee
  • Osmia pumila, mason bee
  • Stelis louisae, Megachilid bee, cleptoparasite of Megachile campanuelae and perhaps related bees

    Stelis louisae (ID correction welcomed) on Heliopsis helianthoides, smooth oxeye, false sunflower, in the front garden, July 2015

Hymenoptera – Wasps

  • Gasteruption, carrot wasp
    Gasteruption, carrot wasp, on Zizia aurea, golden alexander, in my backyard, May 2015
  • Gnamptopelta obsdianator, Ichneumon wasp, spider wasp mimic, a parasitoid on Sphingid moth caterpillars, especially those feeding on Vitis, grape, hosts. 2015-08-31
  • Omalus, cuckoo wasp

Coleoptera, Beetles

  • Anthrenus verbasci, varied carpet beetle
  • Coccinella septempunctata, seven-spotted lady-beetle (introduced)
  • Exomala orientalis, Oriental beetle (introduced)
    Exomala orientalis, Oriental beetle (introduced), on Rudbeckia, black-eyed susan, in the front yard, July 2015
  • Pyrrhalta viburni, Viburnum leaf beetle (invasive)
    Pyrrhalta viburni, viburnum leaf beetle (VLB), 3rd instar larva, feeding on Viburnum dentatum, arrowwood, from my backyard, May 2015

Diptera, Flies

  • Allograpta obliqua, oblique syrphid fly
    Allograpta (obliqua or exotica), syphid fly, on stem in the front garden, June 2015
  • Hermetia illucens, black solder fly, a wasp mimic
  • Merodon equstris, Narcissus bulb fly (introduced)

Hemiptera, True Bugs

  • Coelidia olitoria, leafhopper
  • Hormaphis hamamelidis, witchhazel cone gall aphid
  • Jalysus, stilt bug
  • Lygaeus kalmii, small milkweed bug. I have no observation records of this species in my garden before this year. This year, there are scores of them.
    Lygaeus kalmii, small milkweed bug, mating in my driveway, June 2015
  • Orius insidiosus, insidious flower bug


  • Chrysopidae, green lacewings, Neuroptera
    Chrysopidae, green lacewing, larva, on Rudbeckia, in the front garden, June 2015
  • Homeosoma, a Pyralid moth
    Caterpillar of Homeosoma, a Pyralid moth, feeding on disk flowers of Helianthus sp., sunflower, in my garden, September 2015

Anthrenus verbasci, varied carpet beetle, and Orius insidiosus, insidous flower bug, on Erigeron, fleabane.
Anthrenus (A. verbasci?), carpet beetle, and Orius insidiosus, insidious flower bug, on Erigeron, fleabane, growing as a weed in my garden, June 2015

Related Content

To be provided …


Pyrrhalta viburni, viburnum leaf beetle (VLB)

Pyrrhalta viburni, the viburnum leaf beetle, or VLB for short, is native to Europe. It was first discovered in North America barely two decades ago, in Maine in 1994. Both larvae and adults eat leaves. Our native Viburnum species are extremely vulnerable; they aren’t adapted to this species of leaf beetle. With ample food supply, and no native predators to control its spread, VLB has rapidly expanded its range since.

The viburnum leaf beetle, Pyrrhalta viburni (Paykull), is an invasive, non-native beetle that first appeared in New York along Lake Ontario in 1996, and has steadily spread across the state and down the Hudson Valley. It is a voracious eater that can defoliate viburnum shrubs entirely. Plants may die after two or three years of heavy infestation, particularly when larvae strip plants after hatching out in spring followed by heavy adult feeding later in summer.
Viburnum leaf beetle invading NYC?, Cornell Horticulture Blog, May 2009

It’s been in New York City less than a decade. In Brooklyn, I first observed the damage on Viburnum dentatum, arrowwood, at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in May 2012. Last year, I found it in Prospect Park; by May, arrowwoods there were shredded.
Pyrrhalta viburni, Viburnum leaf beetle, on Viburnum dentatum, arrowwood, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, May 2014
Pyrrhalta viburni, Viburnum leaf beetle, on Viburnum dentatum, arrowwood, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, May 2014
Pyrrhalta viburni, Viburnum leaf beetle, on Viburnum dentatum, arrowwood, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, May 2014

I’ve seen light damage on my large arrowwood for the past few years. I’ve suspected VLB, but never observed it. I’m ~1/2 mile south of Prospect Lake in Prospect Park, so it should be here. This Spring, I finally found it.

Pyrrhalta viburni, viburnum leaf beetle (VLB), 3rd instar larva, feeding on Viburnum dentatum, arrowwood, from my backyard, May 2015
Pyrrhalta viburni, viburnum leaf beetle (VLB), 3rd instar larva, feeding on Viburnum dentatum, arrowwood, from my backyard, May 2015

Despite the fact I’ve made no special efforts to control or contain it, VLB has not gotten out of control on my single shrub. I have some hypotheses about why that might be.


My specimen is a cultivar, sold as ‘Blue Muffin.’ I suspect the plants in Prospect Park are local ecotypes planted as part of the woodlands restorations. When we select cultivars for horticultural characteristics, we select away from ecological value. It could be that this cultivar has some natural resistance to VLB.


The shredded arrowwoods in Prospect Park were growing in forest shade. Mine is growing in nearly full sun. The little damage I see on my shrub occurs only on the lower leaves; upper leaves don’t appear affected. From what I’ve read, this makes a difference, though the reasons are unclear.


My specimen has never fruited well. I suspect this is due to the lack of arrowwoods in other gardens nearby. This low density could affect the ability of VLB to establish a viable population that can explode to the levels I’ve observed in Prospect Park.


I specialize in gardening with native plants, and have lots of habitat in my smallish urban garden. There are likely many native predators existing in the landscape that can predate on VLB. I suspect the prevalence of natural predators in my garden have kept them in check the past few years.

By planting a wide variety of native plants, especially plants from the Asteraceae and Apiaceae, we can provide shelter and food for these insects, keeping them around for when VLB emerges.

Related Content

Viburnum Leaf Beetle reaches New York City, 2009-05-28
Viburnum dentatum, Arrowwood, 2009-04-20


Viburnum leaf beetle invading NYC?, Cornell Horticulture Blog, 2009-05-22

Predation by Podisus maculiventris (Say) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on Viburnum Leaf Beetle, Pyrrhalta viburni (Paykull) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), Under Laboratory and Field Conditions, Gaylord Desurmont , Paul A. Weston, Environmental Entomology, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp. 1241 – 1251

Viburnum leaf beetle, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University
Viburnum Leaf Beetle – Pyrrhalta viburni, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Invasive Plant Profile: Chelidonium majus, Celandine, Greater Celandine

Revised 2015-02-23: This was one of my earliest blog posts, first published in June 2006. I’ve overhauled it to 1) meet my current technical standards, and 2) improve the content based on the latest available information.

Chelidonium majus, Celandine or Greater Celandine, is a biennial (blooming the second year) herbaceous plant in the Papaveraceae, the Poppy family. It is native to Eurasia. It’s the only species in the genus.

It’s invasive outside its native range, and widespread across eastern North America. It emerges early in the Spring, before our native wildflowers emerge, and grows quickly to about 2 feet. That’s one of the clues to identification. It’s also one of the reasons why it’s so disruptive. The rapid early growth crowds and shades out native Spring ephemerals.

Greater celandine is one of the first weeds I identified when we bought our home in 2005 and I started the current gardens. Here’s my collection of photos from the garden’s second year, in 2006, highlighting the characteristics that help to identify this plant. The photos (click for embiggerization) show:

  1. Full view of plants, showing growth habit, bloom, and ripening seedpods on the same plants. The plants in this picture are about two feet tall. In the middle and lower left of the picture, you can see the leaves of Hemerocallis (Daylilies) just peeking out from under the Chelidonium.
  2. Broken stem with orange sap. You can also see a small flower bud in the leaf axil to the left.
  3. Detail of flower. Notice the 4 petals, clustered stamens, and central pistil with white stigma.
  4. Detail of ripening seedpod. These seedpods are what made me think at first that this plant was in the Brassicaceae (or, if you’re old-school like me, the Cruciferae), the Mustard family. It’s actually in the Papaveraceae (Poppy family).

At the time these pictures were taken in early June, these plants had already been blooming for two months. After I took these pictures, I removed all the plants (and there were many more than are visible in these photos!).

Part of coming to any new garden is learning the weeds. There are always new ones I’ve never encountered before, or that I recognize but am not familiar with. Learning what they are, how invasive or weedy they are, their lifecycle, how they propagate, and so on helps me prioritize their removal and monitor for their return.

For example, Chelidonium is a biennial. So pulling up visible plants before their seeds ripen and disperse kills this year’s generation and the generation two years from now. I might overlook next year’s generation this spring, but I’ll get them next year. The plants are shallowly rooted. By grabbing the plant at the base of the leaves, I can remove the whole thing easily, roots and all.

Chelidonium‘s seeds are dispersed by ants. They’re likely to show up next year close to where they were this year, but not necessarily in the same place. In addition, the soil probably has a reservoir of seeds from the years the garden was neglected. If I disturb the soil, or transplant plants from one part of the yard to another, they could show up in new places. By pulling the plants when they emerge in the spring, and keeping an eye out for their emergence in new places in the garden, I can easily control them. It will take a few years of vigilant weeding to eliminate them completely.

Note that, at a quick glance, this plant can be confused with the native* wildflower Stylophorum diphyllum, celandine-poppy. They’re very similar. Both are in the Papaveraceae, bloom in the spring with four-petaled yellow flowers, have lobed foliage and bright orange/yellow sap, and are about the same height. I find the seedpods the easiest way to distinguish them. The flowers of Stylophorum lack the prominent tall central pistil of Chelidonium, and the stamens form more of a “boss” around the center of the flower, not so obviously grouped in four clusters.

Stylophorum diphyllum, celandine-poppy, blooming and showing the distinctive, more poppy-like, ripening seedpods, in my urban backyard native plant garden, May 2013.

* Stylophorum isn’t native, or present, in New York. But it is native to eastern North America.

Related Content

Flickr photo sets:


Atteva aurea, Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Atteva aurea, Ailanthus Webworm Moth, on Pycnanthemum, Mountain-Mint, in my garden last weekend. The intense colors are believed to be aposematic, a warning coloration to deter predators, probably because they would be distasteful.
Atteva aurea, Ailanthus Webworm Moth, on Pycnanthemum, Mountain-Mint

The larvae – caterpillars – feed in communal aggregations, like tent caterpillars. Around the globe, caterpillars in the genus Atteva are known to feed on plants from at least a half-dozen plant families. But they favor plants in the Simaroubaceae, the Quassia Family.

The Quassia Family includes the infamous invasive tree, Ailanthus altissima, Tree-of-heaven, probably best known as “that tree what grew in Brooklyn.” So, as Ailanthus has invaded here, Atteva aurea discovered a new suitable host. It’s likely this has supported an increase in its numbers, and possibly its range, from its original native populations.

Atteva aurea, Ailanthus Webworm Moth, on Pycnanthemum, Mountain-Mint

Atteva aurea, Ailanthus Webworm Moth, on Pycnanthemum, Mountain-Mint

Atteva aurea, Ailanthus Webworm Moth, on Pycnanthemum, Mountain-Mint

Taxonomic notes

Atteva is the sole genus in the subfamiuly Attevinae, the Tropical Ermine Moths, of the lovely-named family Yponomeutidae, the Ermine Moths. “Ermine” because the moths’ coloration resembles that of the spotted forms of the coat of the Ermine, Mustela erminea. This is a photo of another Ermine Moth, Yponomeuta evonymella, showing the classic “ermine” pattern of that species. Image ©entomart, via Wikipedia/Wikimedia.

Per BugGuide, the family name, and the genus from which it arises, is likely a typographic error:

Family is named for genus Yponomeuta Latreille, 1796. That name was apparently a typographic error (!) for Hyponomeuta. That would be a combination of Greek prefix hypo under, plus nomeuta (unknown, perhaps from Greek pno air; breathing, plus meuta?)

The many ecotypes across the wide range of this species give rise to variations of color patterns. These variants have identified under many different specific epithets, and even other genera. (BugGuide notes: “This moth belongs to a species complex that was recently split”). Because of this, searching taxonomic-based resources, such as the Caterpillar Host Plants Database,  for this species may not identify all relevant records.

Related Content

Flickr photo set


HOSTS Database: Genus Atteva
The Plant List: Simaroubaceae
USDA Plants: Ailanthus altissima

NY’s Invasive Species Plan Announced

Chelidonium majus, Lesser Celandine, growing in my garden, June 2006.
Chelidonium majus, Lesser Celandine, Detail of flower

The plan will create the first-ever official lists of invasive species, both plant and animal, and create the legal authority to enforce controls as state regulations.

h/t @BuggedDoc

Press Release

Monday, June 28, 2010
Contact: Jessica Ziehm

Report Identifies New Process to Categorize Non-Native Invasive Species

The New York State Invasive Species Council today submitted its final report to Governor David A. Paterson and the State Legislature. The report, titled “A Regulatory System for Non-Native Species,” recommends giving the Council authority to develop regulations for a new process that will prevent the importation and/or release of non-native invasive species in New York’s waterways, forests and farmlands.

The report, prepared by the nine-agency Council and co-led by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of Environmental Conservation, introduces a new process for assessing each invasive species for its level of threat, its socioeconomic value, and for categorizing them into distinct lists for appropriate action.

State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said, “In recent years, we have struggled with the economic and environmental impacts of non-native species such as Plum Pox Virus, Emerald Ash Borer and the Asian Longhorned Beetle, but we have also acknowledged the positive aspects associated with some, such as timothy, Norway maple and lady bugs. With the adoption of this report, New York will now have a process by which the merits of various invasive species will be evaluated and their level of harm and/or benefit will be reviewed to ensure unacceptable ecological or health risks are not purposefully introduced as pets, nursery stock, food or other uses.”

State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis said, “New York needs to take action now to curb the many pathways that invasive species use to make their way here. With this new regulatory approach, we can do just that. The system the Council is proposing strikes the right balance of minimizing the major threats to our ecology and economy while allowing for the careful use of those plants and animals that pose lower risks.”

The new assessment process would allow the state to categorize invasive species – such as zebra mussels, Sirex wood wasps and Eurasian milfoil – as “prohibited,” “regulated” or “unregulated.” As a result of this classification system, regulatory control where necessary, would help restrict movement of potentially harmful plants and animals.

Species in the “prohibited” category would be the most restricted as they pose clear risks to New York’s economic, ecological and public health interests, and, therefore, would be banned from commerce entirely. “Regulated” species would be restricted, but not prohibited from commerce, and require practical and meaningful regulatory programs. “Unregulated” species would be identified as those non-native species that do not pose a threat and therefore could be used freely in commerce.

Two “tools” would be used in assessing risks from non-native plants and animals. One evaluates the inherent, biological “invasiveness” of each species, i.e., some species are better “weeds” than others. The other tool looks at socio-economic values to help the Council decide whether the social benefits of a plant or animal outweigh the potential harm. For example, earthworms have often been shown to have positive effects on soil structure and fertility in agricultural and garden ecosystems; however, glacial ice sheets that covered most of New York some 11,000 to 14,000 years ago left New York worm free. Thus, today’s worms are actually European invaders and considered a non-native invasive species, but are clearly valuable.

The process of categorizing invasive species and other report recommendations were developed with the assistance of a 17-member steering committee comprised of representatives from state and federal agencies, conservation, academic and industry groups including agriculture, pets, nursery and landscape. In addition to Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Council is made up of the Commissioners of Transportation, Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and Education; the Secretary of State; the Chairperson of the New York State Thruway Authority; the Director of the New York State Canal Corporation; and the Chairperson of the Adirondack Park Agency.

The New York State Invasive Species Council’s final report is available online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/63402.html.

New York State is engaged in efforts to reduce the impacts of existing invasive species, such as the Asian Longhorned Beetle and most recently, the Emerald Ash Borer. Department of Agriculture and Markets’ horticultural inspectors have successfully treated 549,856 trees in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island as part of efforts to eradicate the Asian Longhorned Beetle and protect our forests and urban trees. The Emerald Ash Borer was found in Randolph, Cattaraugus County, in June 2009. The Departments of Environmental Conservation and Agriculture and Markets responded quickly and removed affected trees. Since that time over 387 compliance agreements have been written to prevent the human spread of the Emerald Ash Borer.


Related Content

My blog posts on invasive species


New York State Invasive Species Council Releases Plan to Combat Invasive Species in New York State, Press Release, NYS Department Of Agriculture And Markets, 2010-06-28

Invasive Species List Report, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Viburnum Leaf Beetle reaches New York City

Viburnum Leaf Beetle, Pyrrhalta viburni, has been confirmed in New York City this Spring:

John Jordan, Natural Resources Supervisor at Prospect Park Alliance has found evidence of the beetle there, and says that there was a confirmed report on North Brother Island (between Manhattan and Queens) last year. VLBs are suspected to be in some of the larger parks in the Bronx, northern Manhattan and northern Queens.
Viburnum leaf beetle invading NYC?, Cornell Horticulture Blog, 2009-05-22

Damage caused by feeding larvae. Photo: Paul Weston, Cornell

Unfortunately, my recently transplanted Viburnum dentatum is one of the highly susceptible species. When I left yesterday morning to attend Chicago Spring Fling, it was still in spectacular bloom, covered with white flowers. I would hate to lose it; it’s the largest plant I have, except for the cherry tree. I haven’t noticed any feeding damage, but I will examine it closely when I return, now that I know what to look for.

Damage caused by feeding adults. Photo: Paul Weston, Cornell

The viburnum leaf beetle, Pyrrhalta viburni (Paykull), is an invasive, non-native beetle that first appeared in New York along Lake Ontario in 1996, and has steadily spread. It is a voracious eater that can defoliate viburnum shrubs entirely. Plants may die after two or three years of heavy infestation.

Hat tip to @AboutInsects


Related Content

Viburnum dentatum, Arrowwood, 2009-04-20


Cornell VLB Home Page
Viburnum leaf beetle invading NYC?, Cornell Horticulture Blog, 2009-05-22

Steven Earl Clemants, 1954-2008

Steven Earl Clemants. Credit: Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The botanical world – especially New York State, New York City, and Brooklyn – suffered a great loss recently. Steven Earl Clemants, Ph.D., Vice President of the Science Department of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Sunday, November 2, 2008. Funeral services were held last Friday, November 7. He was 54 years old.

I never met Steven, but I’ve known of his work. I’ve written about some of it on my blog. His contributions in several fields, including native plant conservation, invasive plants, and urban botany, are substantial. I can only summarize.

Dr. Clemants was Chair of the Board of the Invasive Plant Council of New York State. He was the Historian and past President for the Torrey Botanical Society, and Chair of the Local Flora Committee of the Long Island Botanical Society. He was a founder, coordinator and contributor for the New York Metropolitan Flora Project (NYMF), which is documenting all the flora within a 50-mile radius of New York City. He was Codirector of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE), a collaboration between BBG and Rutgers University. He served on the Advisory Board and Atlas Committee of the New York Flora Association. He was a graduate faculty member of both Rutgers University and the City University of New York. He was also involved with the New York State Invasive Species Task Force, the Prospect Park Woodlands Advisory Board, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences, among many other efforts.

He was Editor-in-Chief of Urban Habitats, an open-science online journal dedicated to worldwide urban ecological studies. In addition to authoring and co-authoring numerous technical journals and articles, he was co-author, with Carol Gracie, of “Wildflowers in the Field and Forest: A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States.”

The Dr. Steven Clemants Wildflower Fund

The Dr. Steven Clemants Wildflower Fund has been established to honor him. Steve’s widow, Grace Markman, is working with the Greenbelt Native Plant Center to plan a living memorial that will foster the planting of native wildflower species in New York City parks.

If you would like to donate to the Fund, there’s a PDF form to fill out and mail with your check. Email me at xrisfg at gmail dot com and I’ll send you the form. Make out your check to “City Parks Foundation” and mail it with the form to:

City Parks Foundation
c/o Greenbelt Native Plant Center
3808 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10314

As an alternative, here’s an Amazon Associates link for the paperback edition of the Field Guide which Dr. Clemants co-authored. I will donate any proceeds I receive through this link to the Dr. Steven Clemants Wildflower Fund. The Field Guide is also available in both hardcover and paperback editions from BBG’s online store.

Related Posts

Web Resource: New York Metropolitan Flora Project (NYMF), 2006-06-02


Steven Earl Clemants:

Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE)
Invasive Plant Council of New York State
Long Island Botanical Society
New York Flora Association
New York Metropolitan Flora Project (NYMF)
Science Department, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Torrey Botanical Society
Urban Habitats

Invasive Species in NYC highlighted in Gotham Gazette

Today’s Gotham Gazette highlights the issue of invasive species in New York City as their “Issue of the Week”:

Grounding their roots, literally, in our soil, invasive species come from far and wide, via barge or souvenir-stuffed suitcases, in what horticulturists and biologists across the city call a serious threat to our habitat. Deceiving to the common eye, these foreign born pests and plants raise significant challenges for the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation: monitoring, controlling and even eradicating top the list.

For centuries, New York has been inundated by foreign-born plants and wildlife. Even creatures we now consider common — like our subway or sewer rat — are invasive species. We may have adapted to some of them — whether we wanted to or not — but other more contemporary wildlife pose a serious threat to the sanctity of our natural flora and fauna, say city scientists.
Invasion New York, Gotham Gazette, August 11, 2008

The article provides a broad overview of some of the most damaging, or visible, invasive species present in New York City. I especially commend Gotham Gazette for taking on what I call Brooklyn’s most charismatic invasive species, the Monk Parakeet, Myiopsitta monachus:

The birds have attracted the ire of Con Edison and other electric companies for building huge nest for their colonies on light poles. In Connecticut, a power company, United Illuminated, is seeking permission to kill the birds, while in Florida researchers have proposed mixing contraceptives in with bird seed to limit the parrot population.

The article itself doesn’t use the scientific names of the species mentioned in the article. They are, however, provided for many of them with an accompanying feature, the Know Your Invasive Critters “trading cards.”

Related Posts

My posts on Parrots, including my 2006 letter to the NY Times.


Gotham Gazette, August 11, 2008:


Monk Parakeet Munching on Young Apples

We had two parrots visit while I was gardening this afternoon. They were, of course, in our neighbor’s apple tree.

Myiopsitta monachus, Monk Parakeets, also known as Quaker Parrots, have established numerous colonies in Brooklyn. They are Brooklyn’s most charismatic potentially invasive species. They have expanded to other parts of the city and New York State. They are also now established in at least a dozen other states.

Monk Parakeet Munching on Young Apples

I only got good shots of this one of the pair. The other stayed in the foliage and was difficult to see. Here’s a view of both of them.

Two Parrots in Apple Tree

Unlike last year, when I saw the first parrot in June, I’ve been seeing parrots in the neighborhood this year for at least two months. I just haven’t seen them in my backyard this year until today.

The complete set of photos is available in a Flickr set.

Related posts:

Links (in alphabetical order by title):