It’s hard to imagine what the dense urban jungle that is New York City looked like 500 years ago. Back then Manhattan’s only inhabitants were the Lenape tribe (in fact that’s where the name “Manhattan” came from) and the Italian explorer Giovanni di Verrazzano was only just discovering the area for Europe. The majority of what is now New York City was still a wilderness covered in forests with plants and animals that were all native to the Americas.
Well the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is attempting to recreate a slice of what it was like back then with their new Native Flora Garden expansion. All of the plants in this garden are species that are native to the Mid-Atlantic area of the country and directly collected from the wild. This project is also instrumental in preserving several endangered plants in the area like pixie moss that are being threatened by development, invasive species, and climate change. While the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo contain plants an animals from all over the world for us to enjoy, it’s also nice to appreciate what mother nature left in our neck of the woods. It also gives us a way to imagine what the city looked like before there was ever a city there and I find that incredibly fascinating.
This flower has lived in New York long before any humans did