Horticultural Hall

There once was a palace in Fairmount Park:




Building a checklist and mapping the flora

On the evening of Thursday the 16th of November, beginning at 7:30PM, the Philadelphia Botanical Club will have its monthly meeting, and Wesley Knapp, of the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, will talk about botanical studies, including his and his colleagues’ work on the Atlas of the Maryland Flora, in a lecture titled “Building a Checklist and Mapping the Flora, Resetting the Bar for Maryland”.

For more information, see here: http://darwin.ansp.org/hosted/botany_club/meeting.html

About the Atlas – “before this current effort the Flora of Maryland has never been critically vetted despite over 300 years of botanical investigation. This Checklist of the Maryland Flora (Knapp & Naczi submitted) treats 3519 taxa, includes a specimen citation for each entry, and contains fully vetted excluded flora section. The Atlas of the Maryland Flora (www.MarylandPlantAtlas.org) is a collaborative effort among many partners including, but not limited to, the Maryland Biodiversity Project, the University of Maryland, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Maryland Natural Heritage Program to map the flora at the quad scale.”

The Himalayan pine

The Himalayan pine grows tall, and marks history, at the Riverview Cemetery in New Jersey:


A good place to see the Himalayan pine right next to the eastern white pine (these two species look quite similar), is at 42nd and Spruce, in Philadelphia:


Thomas Meehan – botanical grounding

Thomas Meehan was fundamental to horticulture, botany, landscapes, and parks here in Philadelphia, and elsewhere.  Ken LeRoy recently came across Meehan’s burial site in Blue Bell, PA and took these photos:

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Photo by Ken LeRoy

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Photo by Ken LeRoy

And here is an image of the sign at the churchyard:

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Photo by Ken LeRoy

To read more about Thomas Meehan, see here:


And to read about what is likely the last landscape that he worked on, see here:



Asa Gray and the quest for Shortia galacifolia

There is a rich history that resides in biological collections, such as herbaria – and discoveries, as well – as Don Pfister, the Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany and Curator of the Farlow Library and Herbarium, discusses here:


As a local note, Shortia (or Oconee bells) is planted at Whitesbog, where it was flowering this past April, in the bog next to Suningive.

Trees of Philadelphia

On the evening of Thursday the 25th of May, beginning at 7:30PM, the Philadelphia Botanical Club will have its monthly meeting, and Ned Barnard and Catriona Briger, co-authors of Philadelphia Trees: A Field Guide to the City and the Surrounding Delaware Valley, will talk about their book, in a lecture titled “Trees of Philadelphia”.

For more information, see here: http://darwin.ansp.org/hosted/botany_club/meeting.html

Subterranean trees

The history of plants is also underground, and not just in the roots:


A very much older tree was also found underground not far from there, a number of decades ago:


To read more about that, see here (Chapter 1): http://fitlersquarepress.com/chapters/