Community Scientists Make Important Discoveries

Community scientists make important plant discoveries around New York City

December 2020

New York City EcoFlora community scientists recently discovered two plant species never before documented in our region. Local residents Susan Hewitt, Sara Rall and Zihao Wang discovered a new plant for North America and a new species (and genus) for New York State. They made the discoveries this fall while observing the flora and fauna in the greater New York City region. Their discoveries are published in the latest issue of the online botanical journal, Phytoneuron.

On September 7, 2020, Sara Rall, self-taught naturalist and a resident of New Jersey observed an unusual Smartweed growing in the floodplain of the Delaware River and made note of its distinct features. And by the most improbable coincidence, Daniel Atha observed the same species on the very same day, just hours apart, but 85 miles north on the upper reaches of the Delaware River in Sullivan County, New York. That evening, noting each other's observations on iNaturalist, the two started a conversation about the plants and their unusual features. Herbarium specimens of the New York plants were used to compare with known North American species and possible introductions. A match was eventually found in the Flora of China and the Flora of Taiwan: Persicaria posumbu, a species heretofore never found anywhere in North America. This significant finding is published today in the online botanical journal, Phytoneuron. See: First Report of Persicaria posumbu (Polygonaceae) for North America.
Susan Hewitt, resident of Manhattan and the most prolific observer of plants and animals in New York City and Zihao Wang, resident of Brooklyn, environmental engineer and discoverer of numerous rare plants and animals in the New York City area, independently discovered populations of Tropic Croton, Croton glandulosus, a member of the Spurge family (Euphorbiaceae): Wang in Queens in the fall of 2019 and Hewitt in Manhattan in September 2020. They posted their observations to iNaturalist and their identifications were confirmed by Nathan Taylor, the Euphorbiaceae specialist. Noting the significance of the discoveries for the region, Daniel Atha visited both sites and confirmed that the plants were indeed a new addition to the flora of New York State. Just in time for the holidays, Tropic Croton is closely related to the Pointsettia we all know. Read more about their discovery published today in the online botanical journal Phytoneuron: First Report of Croton glandulosus (Polygonaceae) for New York.
פורסם על-ידי danielatha danielatha, דצמבר 18, 2020 03:10 אחה"צ


Beautiful post! Love hearing about these sorts of discoveries. :)

פורסם על-ידי sambiology לפני יותר משנה (סמן)

Congratulation, @srall, @susanhewitt, @danielatha, and @zihaowang!! It is reassuring and exciting to see "real life" examples of the ways in which iNaturalist and iNaturalists work together - sometimes unknowingly - to find and document new plant treasures in places where they have not been seen before. Awesome sleuthing, connecting, and documenting,

פורסם על-ידי sadawolk לפני יותר משנה (סמן)

Fascinating! Congrats to all 3 on their discoveries. All fantastic botanists + people.

פורסם על-ידי mertensia לפני יותר משנה (סמן)

Thanks everyone!

פורסם על-ידי susanhewitt לפני יותר משנה (סמן)


פורסם על-ידי zihaowang לפני יותר משנה (סמן)

Thank you!

פורסם על-ידי srall לפני יותר משנה (סמן)

Congratulations everyone! Thank you for your great observational skills and all your efforts to explore! And also thank you for the encouragement and help with identifications on our observations! :) and thank you Daniel for all your support and work on NYC EcoFlora!

פורסם על-ידי jholmes לפני יותר משנה (סמן)

Congratulations. Its great seeing this and working (i don't consider it work, but I can't think of a better word.) with you all.

פורסם על-ידי irag לפני יותר משנה (סמן)


פורסם על-ידי plbuttercup לפני יותר משנה (סמן)

@jayhorn -- you might enjoy reading this.

פורסם על-ידי susanhewitt לפני יותר משנה (סמן)

Congrats to all of you on your discoveries!

פורסם על-ידי jayhorn לפני יותר משנה (סמן)

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