The Flora And Fauna Of The Gowanus Canal And Its Environs

(Indigenous And Otherwise)

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Illustrations By Melinda Josie


Local Flora

1. ARTEMISIA VULGARIS “MUGWORT” 2. PAULOWNIA TOMENTOSA “EMPRESS TREE” 3. ROBINIA PSEUDOACACIA “BLACK LOCUST” 4. AILANTHUS ALTISSIMA “TREE OF HEAVEN”


Avian Fauna

1. ANAS PLATYRHYNCHOS “MALLARD DUCK” 2. ARDEA ALBA “WHITE HERON” 3. FALCO TINNUNCULUS “KESTREL” 4. FALCO PEREGRINUS “PEREGRINE FALCON” 5. CYNGUS BUCCINATOR “TRUMPETER SWAN”


Land-And Water-Based Fauna

1. PROCYON LOTOR “RACCOON” 2. ONDATRA ZIBETHICUS “MUSKRAT” 3. PANTHERA LEO “LION”* 4. PYTHON RETICULATUS “RETICULATED PYTHON”** 5. SELACHIMORPHA “SHARK”*** 6. ANGUILLA ROSTRATA “AMERICAN EEL” 7. CYANEA CAPILLATA “LION MANE JELLY FISH” 8. HELIX ASPERSA “LAND SNAIL”9. MARGARITIFERA MARGARITIFERA “MUSSEL” 10. CALLINECTES SAPIDUS “BLUE CRAB”

*Tiny Tim, the bodyguard of mobster Joey Gallo (about whom Bob Dylan wrote the song “Joey”), was said to have wandered the neighborhood with a pet lion cub on a leash. **A really big snake was spotted in 2008 at the end of Degraw Street, near the canal. It’s likely that it escaped from the nearby Gowanus Houses. ***In 1950, a medium-sized shark made its way up the canal where it was pumped full of bullets by the local police. ‡Actually edible, so long as you don’t stare for too long into their deep, dark little eyes.

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