Category Archives: Piece of the Park

Vernonia noveboracensis,
“New York Ironweed”

Vernonia noveboracensis, or New York Ironweed, is a native herbaceous perennial that can reach a staggering 6 feet tall. It typically occurs in the wild in moist thickets, low areas and along stream banks from Massachusetts to Mississippi. This plant …
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Yucca filamentosa,
“Adam’s Needle”

“Adam’s Needle” is the common moniker for this native southern plant that has been naturalized in the northeast by gardeners. Yucca filamentosa scratches a lot of horticultural itches (almost literally). This trunk-less evergreen shrub produces a rosette of blue-green leaves that form …
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Apocynum cannabinum,
“Hemp Dogbane”

Hemp Dogbane is a large perennial with a milky sap that exudes from the plant if damaged. This plant is native to this region, and can grow to be 3 – 5 1/2 feet tall. The stems are a sweet …
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Hemp Dogbane at 79th Street

Dennestaedtia punctilobula,
“Hay-scented Fern”

The Hay-scented Fern, or Dennestaedtia punctilobula, may look like a tender beauty, but is in reality a tough-as-leather, marauding native that even deer will avoid eating. Named for the smell of fresh cut grass created by its crushed foliage, the Hay-scented Fern …
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Rhus typhina, “Staghorn Sumac”

Rhus typhina, also known as the Staghorn Sumac, is a tall shrub that can grow to 25 feet. The leaves reach up to 2 feet in length, and can be awe-inspiring in the fall, when the leaflets hang lazily from …
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Zizia aurea, “Golden Alexanders”

A native member of the carrot family, Zizia aurea reaches a height of 1.5 to 3 feet with a similar spread. The leaves are finely toothed and lance shaped; the flowers grow in clusters of compound umbels in late spring, …
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Virginia Blue Bells

Mertensia virginica is in the Boraginacea family alongside Forget-me-nots and Lungwort. Commonly referred to as Virginia Bluebells, this erect, clump-forming perennial grows 1-2 feet tall and features loose clusters of pendulous, trumpet-shaped blue flowers (up to 1” long), which bloom in early spring. Flower buds are pink, and flowers emerge with a pinkish cast before turning blue and fading to purple. All of these sultry colors are visible at once on the same plant and are quite frankly swoon-inducing. April and May is the time to find them in the Park.
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