A Revised Checklist and Nomenclatural Guide to
the Vascular Plants of the
Flora of the
P. M. ECKEL
with the major support of
Kenneth W. Brandes in remembrance of Barbara A. Brandes
The Nature Sanctuary Society
BULLETIN OF THE
VOLUME 16 (SUPPLEMENT 3) 2005
This work is dedicated to Richard H. Zander.
The cover photograph of Clintonia borealis is by Lincoln Nutting, and is used with permission.
Revised Checklist of the Vascular Plants of the Niagara Frontier Region: Flora
Bulletin of the
ISSN 0096-4131; ISBN 0944032-57-5.
Copyright © 2005 by Patricia M. Eckel.
All rights reserved.
The mnemonic device MADCapHorse is a handy guide used by field botanists. It aides in identifying tree and shrub species with opposite leaves (Maple, Ash, Dogwood, CAPrifoliaceae and HORSEchestnut). It is not fully discriminative as many of the herbaceous families and genera presented here also have opposite leaves. Most conspicuously, all Mint species (family Lamiaceae) have opposite, simple (but not compound) leaves as do several important genera in the Rubiaceae.
is a list of the species of vascular plants known to occur in the Niagara
Frontier region. This is traditionally a circular area with the radius of 50
miles having its central point located in the City of Buffalo, New York,
specifically “determined from the Telephone Building” (Zenkert 1934). There,
the waters of Lake Erie gather themselves into the head of the Niagara River, a
Niagara River has probably formed a critical link in the migration of flora and
Other sources of regional plant introduction derive from western centers and may increase as the growing season is extended with warming annual temperatures. Extension of the growing season in recent times has also contributed to the firm establishment of species that were once considered ephemeral, not persisting beyond their first winter, or unable to reproduce through absence of, for example, a pollinator. Areas with shallow soils over limestone in the lowlands associated with the lakes are particularly likely to support introduced species and enable their populations to flourish. Introductions once commonly arriving along railroad vectors now seem to favor the salty corridors beside ever-expanding highway systems. Always, wherever crops are grown, associated weeds become established on field margins. With the real-estate explosion of the past two decades exotic species associated with nurseries and imported soil are increasingly established. Hybridization events or artifacts may contribute taxa, for instance, in the spread of Lonicera morrowii × tatarica.
Happily, not all newly discovered taxa are foreign. Several recent discoveries of indigenous taxa have been made through vigorous exploration by field botanists who specialize in recording the localities of rare plants. A strong amateur interest has also produced many new discoveries of native and exotic species.
W. Clinton, Superior Court Judge and first President of the Buffalo Society of
Natural Sciences published, in 1863, the first checklist of the “Plants of
Buffalo and its Vicinity,” which also included references to collections from
Chautauqua County, Rochester in Monroe County, and Portage in Livingston
County. David F. Day, in 1882, determined the present areal definition of the
flora in his new checklist. In spite of its artificiality, this range
circumscription is superior to publications that restrict their field of study
to political limits and treat only
extensive early history of collecting and reporting in the
The plant names of the Checklist are primarily based on specimens curated in the Clinton Herbarium (BUF) of the Buffalo Museum of Science. The online Web database of the New York Flora Association indicates that the Association’s distribution reports are based on specimens and such reports are therefore cited here. Where a report occurs in literature only, the bibliographic reference is given.
activity leading to additions to the Checklist has been one of the central
services that the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences has provided the people
of the Niagara Frontier Region, in
P. M. Eckel,
ABBREVIATIONS AND CODES
To streamline citations, certain data flags were provided. Genus names are in BOLDFACE CAPITALS. Species names in boldface are accepted as well-established members of the flora, though some may be extirpated at present. Species names with an asterisk (*) are those thought to be alien invaders, adventives or introduced. Names preceded by an equal sign (=) are synonyms of the boldfaced name above them, being names previously used by students of the flora but now superceded by names considered correct according to the formal botanical nomenclatural rules, or are much-used but mistaken identifications and are identified as such. Names in Roman lightface are cross-indexed synonyms, alphabetized for ease in finding them.
RARE, THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES
The list of rare, threatened and endangered species changes periodically with research results. The New York State Natural Heritage Program may be consulted as to the most recent official designations.
Many uncommon species are under pressure from human development and other changing conditions. Some have not been located for decades while others are only suspected of being lost to the flora. Though one cannot prove absence from the flora, certain species listed here are doubtless entirely gone from our flora. None is extinct, however, as they are present in other areas.
ADVENTIVES AND GARDEN WEEDS
To qualify as a member of a flora it is generally necessary that the species establish persistent populations. Locally, a minimum requirement for this includes survival of low winter temperatures, shortness of growing season, and competition with impinging species populations. The chance seed that sprouts but which would have died out for various reasons does not qualify for membership, even though the plant may have made its way into a herbarium collection. Most of our horticultural and agricultural species are not persistent and hence are not considered members of the flora.
It is remarkable, then, the large number of taxa that have been recently reported as “new” to our flora. Undoubtedly populations of species once eliminated by the rigors of the regional environment are now persistent for a variety of reasons, such as the extension of the growing season, the amelioration of the lowest of winter temperatures and their duration, the spread of pollination vectors (insects), a possible increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and other factors enhancing the vigor of certain species.
present author can vouch for several garden species that appear to have spread,
especially in disturbed areas. Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa), with its
magnificent, orchid-like flowers, is not only established, but looks likely to
become as vigorous a weed as Box Elder (Acer
negundo) or White Mulberry (Morus
alba). This is also true for Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), which springs up along the curbs of the
For more information on new discoveries, see the list of “Names New to the Flora Since the Second Supplement” given as Appendix 1.
The World Wide Web has many features that allow the updating of information in this checklist, and provide images and additional information not available in print.
An early, online version of this publication, with some images, is at Res Botanica:
The New York Flora Association provides a plant atlas for the state:
The Niagara Frontier Botanical Society is a regional resource promoting study and appreciation of field botany:
The Buffalo Audubon Society supports and popularizes nature conservation and study:
The Buffalo Museum of Science houses the Clinton Herbarium and has exhibits on botany. This is also an alternative name for the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences:
The Central/Western New York Chapter of the Nature Conservancy helps preserve the diversity of life in the region through its well-known stewardship activities:
The New York State Natural Heritage Program
facilitates conservation of
The Nature Sanctuary Society of Western New York has for many decades maintained sanctuaries for the preservation of regional plant and animal life:
Michael J. Oldham has created an online database for the “Natural Heritage Resources of Ontario: Rare Vascular Plants: (see bibliography) with periodic updates
greatest debt of gratitude is to
Special appreciation is also extended to the following persons for their support in publishing this Revised Checklist and Nomenclatural Guide to the Vascular Plants of the Niagara Frontier Region:
Dr. John Hodson, Joanne Schlegel (in memory of Blake Reeves), Michael Siuta,
Dr. Carol Sweeney, Dr. Alfred Stein, and Mary Alice Tocke.
Major political divisions in