Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Callicarpa and Penn Station (the good one)

It's always a good bet that when you see a plant full of untouched fruit in the winter, that said plant is not native. The subtext is that the non-native fruit is undesirable to the native wildlife. Things get a little muddy when you consider that some of our local wildlife is also non-native, or that deer -- a native animal -- will eat almost anything. But the concept has some merit, and if you assume the plant below is a non-native, you'd be right.

Here comes the part where I have to admit to a previous mistake (I hate that). When I last spoke about this genus, Callicarpa, I showed photos and equivocated on the species. I suggested it could be Callicarpa dichotoma or Callicarpa japonica and then I favored the latter.

Seeing these specimens at the NYBG last week, it's clear that the plant I posted on in September 2008 was Callicarpa dichotoma and this plant is C. japonica. The fruit set is decidedly different, the latter plant has fruit and flowers borne on longer cymes whereas the former has fruit set closely to the stem of the plant. Cymes, if you recall the post about linden flowers, are the small stems that connect the flower (or fruit) to the twig. Mea culpa.

Onward, to some fun models. The building below is a new addition to the NYBG train show but chances are it's a familiar building to most New Yorkers. Its familiarity is not because we see the building depicted in movies or postcards, but sadly because it was a beautiful building that the city foolishly demolished.

As you can see from the hand in the left of the photo, the model is massive. It's beautiful, too, though one has to look at some of the stunning black and white photos of the original structure to realize how lovely the building really was.

The model makers, as you can see, were very detailed. Though that man is evidently very, very tall.

Note the acorn cap on the column!

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