Do New York’s plants need a publicist?

November 29, 2009 at 10:38 PM Leave a comment

Botanists estimate that only six orchids species still grow naturally in New York City. Three of them, from left to right, are the pink ladyslipper, the rattlesnake plantain and the large whorled pogonia.

In 2004, hundreds of protesters rallied on behalf of Pale Male and Lola, two red-tailed hawks who had been evicted from their perch on a Fifth Avenue co-op.

That’s when Marielle Anzelone, then a botanist at the New York City parks department, decided that plants needed better public relations.

“I was working on a lot of plant conservation issues at the time that weren’t getting a lot of attention and was like, ‘Wow birds get a lot of attention,’” she said.

She said there was a term for the photogenic animals in ecology circles. “They are charismatic megafauna,” she said. “They do things that attract a lot of attention. Plants aren’t able to do that.”

She added: “People don’t see plants. People perceive them to be the green blur in the background, as opposed to seeing individual characteristics.”

There was outrage over fauna, but where was the outrage for the poor flora of New York City?

Continue reading:  Do New York’s plants need a publicist? From NY Times blog.

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Entry filed under: articles, NYC Wildflower Week. Tags: , , , , .

Plants Have a Social Life, Too blooming now – red maple

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