Wildflowers, Butterflies and Dragonflies
Plants and Wildflowers
More than 3000 plant species have been recorded in the NY city area by staff at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. These include all native and non-native plants of NYC’s green spaces, from common oak, tulip and elm trees to more elusive wildflowers and rare plants ; those growing along city streets, in community gardens or within the more complex plant communities of natural areas. Botanists at the Metropolitan Flora Project recognize that studying and knowing the plants of cities is critical to understanding the future of life in our rapidly urbanizing world. Their list of woody plant species of the NYC region is now available online.
Butterflies and Dragonflies
Both urban and natural plant communities throughout the NYC area attract diverse insect communities, of which butterflies and dragonflies are the most visible. City parks, community gardens and nature reserves may host numerous resident or transient butterflies and moths in search of specific host plants, such as milkweed. In fall, thousands of migrating monarch butterflies can be seen flying through Central Park and other parts of NYC, on their way to Mexico.
Personal observations of butterflies contribute greatly to scientific research and conservation and can be logged onto a web-based database.
More Insects and Invertebrates
The American Museum of Natural History is currently researching the myriad insects and terrestrial invertebrates found in the city’s parks and gardens. A team has recently specialized in studying micro-organisms in the soil and leaf-litter of Central Park.