Monday, January 23, 2012
If It Looks Like a Pea
then it just might be related. When you start out to know the names of plants and identify the things growing around you, the task can seem overwhelming. If you've never paid attention before, you might find yourself bewildered at every corner, even in a densely urban area like New York City known more for its steel skyscrapers and architecture than for its teeming plant life. But there are street trees everywhere and landscaping plants around apartment buildings and a lot to see if you keep your eyes open and focused on more than the pavement. So you start with what you've got in the way of knowledge and make associations based on what you know. It's pretty likely when you see something above your head that reminds you of a snow pea pod that you are looking at a tree in the same family as the pea. If that's only as far as you get, it's not so bad. It's a big world with a lot of plants and you can't learn everything at once. In this case, the pea pods belong to the Albizia julibrissin, which has more than one common name in the US. And while it is planted for decorative reasons, it is also a tree that has naturalized in Brooklyn and more southern parts of the US, and in some places it is labelled as an invasive species.