Queens County, NY


Kissena Park was the site of a famous old nursery and contains many botanical rarities. (Barlow 1971:34)

March 18, 1934

18 members and guests joined the leader in a search for signs of spring along the line of the old railroad running through the swamp southeast of Kissena Park. This is the road said to have been built by A. T. Stewart, the famous New York merchant, in 1871, and ran from Flushing to Garden City, with an extension to Bethpage.

At the beginning, near the Jamaica-Flushing trolley tracks, the Hazelnut, Corylus americana, was found, with the crimson stigmas just peeping froth from the winter buds, but the staminate catkins were apparently still in their winter conditions. This clump of hazel has the largest and tallest shoots of any specimens known to the writer in Greater New York.

Of course colonies of skunk cabbage in flower were seen in the swamp: and, incidentally, the poison sumac was observed to be plentiful throughout the swamp. The red maple had opened its flower buds by only a small crevice, but the silver maple found planted along the streets of Flushing was pushing out its stigmas.

Returning past the Park Lake, the party inspected the interesting rare trees in the upper Park on the hills:

Parrotia persica, not yet in flower
Cornus kousa
Acanthopanax ricinifolius
Ilex crenata was found to have suffered considerably, probably from the extreme cold of the weather.

Arthur Harmount Graves

Kissena Park
May 18, 1952

The Park Dept still maintains the arboretum remaining from Parson's nursery and we were fortunate in having some of the Park men who are interested in maintaining the trees and shrubs as best they can. The foreman and his helper knew the identity of the trees and gave the group considerable help in looking over the various exotic plants. Since no replacements are contemplated by the park Dept and the trees and shrubs die off, this area will probably disappear eventually. Much of the surrounding area has been "improved" with playgrounds, etc., and the former swamp is only a muddy ditch. The leader remembers an excellent stand of wild rice (Zizania aquatica) which has disappeared due to filling in of the swamp. Aside from the plants, the group was pleasantly aware of some rather uncommon warblers which were passing through, bay breasted warble for example.

Attendance was 11, leader, William Rissanen.