Monday, August 15, 2011

An eye on the ground and an eye toward the sky

Fallen fruit of the Paper Mulberry, Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn

You don't always have to look up in the hunt for clues about the plant species you pass walking down the city street. There are clues at your feet too, on sidewalks beneath trees where you will often find fallen fruits, leaves and twigs that can be handy for identification purposes. Above, evidence of the Paper Mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera, considered invasive in parts of this country and others because of its aggressive growing habit, at my feet on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. And below, this bright red fruit up in the tree (though admittedly, not the best of pictures). As its common name suggests, the bark of this tree can be and was used to make paper in its native range in Asia and in the islands of the Pacific where it was introduced and used to make barkcloth (Kapa/Tapa).

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