Sunday, May 16, 2010

R.I.P the Moth Tree

Below, the Moth Tree [as described in Central Park in the Dark]. Photo taken in 2006.

Every year, starting in the late Spring, the Moth Tree oozed a thick, gooey sap that attracted butterflies and wasps in the daytime and...yes, many various and beautiful moths after dark.

It also attracted a small group of nature lovers who came to be known as the Central Park Mothers [rhymes with authors].

Three days ago one of Central Park's amateur astronomers who was also an occasional member of the C.P Mothers,Tom McIntyre, sent me an e-mail:

While walking around the park during the winter, I looked at many of the trees that had sustained considerable damage from the many fierce storms. On March 18th I happened to look at the famous "Moth Tree" at lampost # E7211. I saw that the tree had lost its top and looked rather distressed. I photographed it for future reference and to see how it would re-grow from its pruned state.
[see below]
Lo and behold, on May 9th, the Moth Tree was completely gone and its stump ground down below ground level.

[see below]
photos by Tom McIntyre
The question for this spring is whether there is another moth tree to be found somewhere in Central Park at which the "Mothers" might gather to observe the fascinating phenomenon of the feeding moths and their predators.

Tom McIntyre
PS from Marie
Tom's news was not entirely a surprise. The tree hadn't produced any sap for the last two years and was more and more diseased. Regina Alvarez of the Central Park Conservancy had discussed with me the fact that it was an increasing safety hazard. And, to all but the Mothers, it was an eyesore. I knew it was slated to be removed. It was only a matter of when. Now the deed has been done. Sad. But I like Tom's idea that we search for a replacement. The hunt will begin in July.