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Plants of Suburbia, Botanical Stories

The purpose of the site is to present short essays about plants and ecology found in the urban and suburban environs of the greater New York City metropolitan area, mostly along the New York to Philadelphia corridor. This includes woodlands, old fields, garden weeds, unmowed roadsides, swamps, marshes, wet ditches, and other natural areas

The New York City region is ideal for this purpose as it encompasses natural areas with a wide variety of habitats, including seashore, outer and inner coastal plain, and rocky New England upland. New York City alone is home to some 1200 plant species, both native and exotic, with overlapping ranges from Canada to Central America. Thus it has interest far outside the City’s boundaries.

For instance red maple (Acer rubrum), which is a common forest tree, is native from Newfoundland to Ontario, south to Florida and Texas. Boxelder (Acer negundo) is native all the way to from the East Coast to the Pacific, and occasionally in Mexico and Guatemala. Conversely the NY Metro region is home to many weeds and escaped horticultural plants native to Europe, Africa, and Asia as well as other parts of the United States.

An example of one of the most common of these is mugwort or common wormwood (Artemisia vulgaris). It grows along open roadsides, in vacant lots, and untended gardens.

With so many plant species to choose from there is a lot of fodder for botanical essays. I hope these will be interesting and useful.

Margaret Gargiullo Ph. D. (Plant ecology)