Friday, August 1, 2014

A walk in Central Park, with questions

I walked into the park at West 81st Street. Below the pea green boat pond I found cattails (Typhus sp - edible rhizomes, shoots, heart, female flowers and pollen; way too public for foraging but perfect for show and tell) and statuesque Liatris. That Liatris was about five to six feet tall - what species?

The grand San Remo.

A new flower, for me. Ideas? With its feet almost in the water.

[ID'd as Saururus cernuus, or lizard tail, but this is the fruit, after the goose-necked flowering stage]

Melilotus officinalis or yellow clover, not often seen in these city parts. 

In the woods of The Ramble, a milkweed (Asclepias what-is, a subspecies of incarnata, otherwise known as swamp milkweed?).

...and gorgeous cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis). Both American natives prefer damp spots. 

An arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum, referring to the tiny teeth on the leaves) - I think.

A new one for me, below: identified as a Phelledendron amurense (Amur cork tree). I have been aware of Philodendrons (the well known houseplant) most of my life so it's funny that the tree name is so similar. The berries were very fragrant when crushed. I am curious about them - used medicinally and in supplement form. But food potential?

Incongruous late summer violets. Viola canadensis.

And my favourite toilet company.

Out of the woods and into the circus.

Under arches the usual soprano was singing, O mio babbino caro, with some made up words, while newlyweds posed for photos.

And up top the usual troupe was drawing the usual audience.

I crossed The Sheep Meadow, passing bodies in many stages of life and undress, some best left to the imagination.

...crossed the road where tourists and New Yorkers sailed south on their bicycles.

And stumbled upon a motherlode of Cornelian cherries (Cornus mas - that early, early-blooming dogwood with yellow flowers. Loved as a fruit in Turkey, unknown mostly, Stateside).

Before exiting at Columbus Circle, on 59th, an hour after I started.

I dived into Broken Foods for burrata, and tomatoes from Canada (so much for local, seasonal produce) and exited to ride home on the sticky 1, then the cooler 2, and was back in Harlem 20 minutes later.



  1. I had a rush of familiarity there!

  2. Excellent photos (as always)! I don't have a clue on the plant you asked about. But I had been meaning to ask what kind of a camera you use? You seem to be able to get close and and also able to get birds. Do you carry different lens with you usually?

    1. Thank you, Jack! For this walk it was an older Canon Rebel body and a kit telephoto. I dislike carrying stuff so I usually decide what lens I want before I head out. I should carry lenses and often regret not doing so. I missed a lot of great bird shots in South telephoto.

      Most of my garden and food shots are with a 50mm lens, whose depth of field I love. These were the 50mm:

      For lightweight travel I use a little Canon SD110 point and shoot. It has excellent wide angle as well as decent close ups. These were all SD110:

      The plant turns out to be lizard tail - Saururus cernuus.

  3. The book, "Gardening with Native Plants of the South", identifies the liatris as "Liatris pycnostachya. Who knew all these beautiful plants are in New York City! Lisa

  4. I'm with Dinahmow - great memories of Central Park. Mitchell swears that the tumblers in the park were second only to Audra MacDonald as his favorite entertainment during our trip. Hard to believe he puts that ahead of The Met!

  5. So glad I popped in on your blog.......I have been so spoiled with the facebook photos and posts that I sometimes forget to read the actual site! I have missed too many great shots!


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