1 November 2022
Just over a week ago I wrote about the sixth mass extinction during which the Earth will become a weedy place with fewer species.
Earth will be a different sort of place — soon, in just five or six human generations. My label for that place, that time, that apparently unavoidable prospect, is the Planet of Weeds.— David Quammen, Planet of Weeds, Harper’s Magazine, October 1988
The plants pictured here are some of those weeds, all of them non-native invasives that happen to provide food for birds and small mammals.
Last week in Frick Park large flocks of American robins gobbled up oriental bittersweet, honeysuckle and porcelain berry fruits. As they continue their migration they’ll deposit the seeds along the way.
Animals that aren’t afraid of thorns eat the fruits of Japanese barberry.
After the frost softens the Callery pears robins and starlings strip the fruit from these invasive trees.
Even though the fruits are “weeds” they can be beautiful.
(photos by Kate St. John)