Resources

By partnering with dozens of organizations, businesses, and individuals, we produce and curate a wide range of resources during our signature week and throughout the year. Click the icons below to learn more.

Exploring

 

Natural Areas

NYC Parks "Forever Wild" sites- Nature in New York City

There are 48 Forever Wild Nature Preserves in NYC’s five boroughs—more than 8,700 wild acres that include towering forests, vibrant wetlands, and expansive meadows. Almost every site is accessible by public transit, and many have trails, nature centers, and public facilities. At the website, you’ll find trail maps, driving and public transit directions, and descriptions of the preserves.

Torrey Botanical Society Field Trips

TBS offers free botanical walks from April through October throughout the NYC-metro area. These trips are for general study and monitoring of the flora within a park or any place of botanic interest. While most trips emphasize plant study, other aspects of natural history are also discussed. We are not a hiking club and walking distances are usually not great. Frequent attendance on the field trips is one of the best ways to get to know the local flora.

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods

Staten Island's land conservation organization leads free walks for people of all ages throughout the island's natural areas with experienced naturalists.

Virtual Botanical Walk

Enjoy a virtual tour of Corson’s Brook Woods in Staten Island where you’ll encounter the early spring wildflowers that bloom the end of April before the trees leaf out. Click here for the tour.

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Gardens

Stuvesant Cove Park

Found from 18 to 22nd Streets east of the FDR, Stuyvesant Cove Park is green in the most literal sense with an ever expanding offering of plants that are indigenous to the region.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Native Flora Garden

Almost all of the 150 native species in Brooklyn (the goldenrods, the flat-topped asters, the cute little blue-eyed grasses blooming in the meadow, as well as the moisture-loving pitcher plants and orchids, the lichens and bearberry of the sandy Pine Barrens) were collected within 200 miles of New York City.

Field Guides

Wildflowers in the Field and Fores By Steven Clemants and Carol Gracie

The most comprehensive field guide for the northeastern U.S. and Canada, with descriptive text and range maps on one side facing pages of color photos on the other.

Illustrated Field Guide to Shrubs and Woody Vines of Long Island By G. E. Lotowycz and B. H. Conolly

This book focuses on the woody plants that most field guides gloss over. An unexpected but welcome inclusion is the sub-shrubs, and the text reflects the changing nature of our natural areas through its listing of species’ frequencies and inclusion of naturalized exotics. All of this is filtered through the geographic scope of Long Island.

A Guide to Wildflowers in Winter: Herbaceous Plants of Northeastern North America By Carol Levine

A comprehensive guide covering nearly 400 herbaceous plants in detail, with briefer notes on another 200. Illustrated with beautiful, accurate line drawings with descriptions of fruit, stems, leaves, habit, and habitat to help identify the plant.

Native Plant Photo Library

Image by Ibrahim Rifath

Gardening with Native Plants

 
Gardening

Books and Websites

Drosera

Focuses on urban ecological issues, especially native flora. Has extensive resources and information on plants growing wild in NYC and how to get started.

Gardening with NYC Native Plants

This brochure gives an overview of gardening with local wildflowers including why garden with natives, lists of wildflowers for different garden situations and how to attract wildlife.

Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants – Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guides

This link gives native alternatives to invasive plants for use in gardens, yards, and natural plantings. The list is organized by horticultural plant group: trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous plants, and grasses.

Going Native: Biodiversity in Our Own Backyard - Brooklyn Botanic Garden Guide

Top designers show how to combine exquisite wildflowers and other native species in spectacular plantings that provide a refuge for beleaguered plants and animals.

Mistaken Identity? Invasive Plants and their Native Look-alikes: An Identification Guide for the Mid-Atlantic

The purpose of the work is to facilitate correct identification of confusingly similar invasive and native plant species. Download a copy of Mistaken Identity here.

A Guide to Native Plants of the New York City Region By Margaret B. Gargiullo

Geared specifically for landscape architects, land managers, and restoration ecologists, this book offers practical advice on the indigenous flora growing in the metropolitan area.

Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East By Carolyn Summers

An ecological approach to landscape design for the layperson, with design ideas for native trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and showy substitutes for invasive plants.

Native Plant Nurseries

 

Nurseries in the NYC Region

Gowanus Nursery - Brooklyn, NY

A great resource within the five boroughs. The owner is very helpful and they have a surprising number indigenous wildflowers.

Catskill Native Nursery - Kerhonkson, NY

Herbaceous (perennials), shrubs & trees

Fort Pond Native Plant Nursery - Montauk, NY

Natives and non - a very large selection with excellent specimen trees and shrubs

The Plantsmen Nursery - Ithaca, NY

Trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, ferns - and a very nice website

 

Edge of the Woods - Fogelsville, PA

Over 300 species of nursery propagated native trees, shrubs, grasses, ferns, perennials and wildflowers

Greenbelt Native Plant Center - Staten Island, NY

The Center is the only municipal native-plant nursery in the country. It is a 13-acre greenhouse, nursery and seed bank complex owned and operated by the City of New York Parks & Recreation on Staten Island. The center has spent two decades raising specimens of the city’s indigenous flora for use in local restoration and replanting projects.

Botanical Clubs and Societies

 

Nature Readings

 

Books

The Forests and Wetlands of New York City By Elizabeth Barlow Rogers

An account of New York City before the City, the book chronicles the evolution of the city's topography, geography, and flora as humans began to settle and impose changes on the natural landscape.

Natural History of New York City By John Kieran

A knowledgeable nature guide to New York City, adequately summed up in the subtitle, "A book for sidewalk naturalists everywhere".

Wild New York By Margaret Mittlebach & Michael Crewdson

Showing that New York is more than just the flash and dazzle associated with Times Square or the skyscrapers of the Financial District, this guide details biological sights of all five boroughs, with site recommendations for each.

An Islanded Nature: Natural Area Conservation and Restoration in Western Staten Island By Peter P. Blanchard, Paul Kerlinger, and Mark Stein

Created by the Harbor Herons Project, this report includes maps, photographs, drawings, plant lists, and more in the study of open space conservation on Staten Island.

The Power Broker By Robert Caro

Robert Moses completely reshaped the face of New York City, devastating much of the open space and native flora in the process. While he started the country's first state-wide system of parks, he also introduced many non-native species into the landscape (including the invasive Norway maple). This Pulitzer Prize-winning history explains why and how Moses' legacy still casts large shadows today.

Days Afield on Staten Island By William T. Davis

Originally written in 1894, the book provides a startling contrast to today's Staten Island, as it overflows with accounts of flourishing native orchids, wild mink, and flying squirrels.

Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks By Joel Meyerowtiz

Meyerowtiz was commissioned by NYC Department of Parks & Recreation to document the city’s green spaces, the first time this was done since the 1930s. They granted him special access to areas closed to the public, like Central Park’s Hallett Nature Sanctuary, and he snapped shots of woodlands, streams and marshes—the hidden splendor of the city.

Outdoor Reading

Current Research

 
Beekeeper at Work

Research

New York Metropolitan Flora Project

Scientists at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden are undertaking the most comprehensive study ever of the plant biodiversity in metropolitan New York. Studying the vegetation changes in highly populated areas is critical to understanding the future of life in our rapidly urbanizing world.

NYC Native Plant Conservation Initiative

This collaborative study will examine whether local plant species are maintaining their genetic variability and population fitness. This information will inform management strategies designed to reverse these trends. Begun in 2008, the pilot program focuses on 34 species of plants that are infrequently found in New York City.

Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada

This new project, hosted at The New York Botanical Garden, aims to empower people to identify about 4500 species of plants growing wild in a vast region of northeastern North America (all or portions of 22 states of the U.S.A. and five provinces of Canada). 

NYC Beewatchers

NYC Beewatchers aims to: 1) identify which areas of New York City have good pollinator service (as determined by how quickly bees show up to pollinate flowers at various locations throughout the city); 2) increase understanding of bee distribution; 3) raise public awareness of native bees; and 4) improve park management practices to benefit native bees.

Urban Ecotype Study

The Urban Ecotype Study is a collaborative three–year research project to determine if some native plant species are genetically adapting—evolving—to conditions on harsh urban sites such as brownfields and former landfills.