Sweet Bay Magnolia Preserve
Borough: Staten Island
Habitat Type: Forest, Meadow, Freshwater Wetland
This diverse complex of dry upland oak forest and open marsh may contain the highest diversity of rare plants in New York City; both the swamp and upland forests are remarkably pristine. New York State listed rare plants found here include: sweet bay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), possum haw (Virburnum nudum), and others.
The combination of slight elevation and sandy soil supports an oak-barrens plant community that includes white oak (Quercus alba), red oak (Q. rubra), black oak (Q. velutina), scarlet oak (Q. coccinea), chestnut oak (Q. prinus), and post oak (Quercus stellata), which is very uncommon in New York City. There are also several rare hybrid oak trees.
The open marshland contains large stands of buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentales), water willow (Justicia americana), and many native sedges, rushes, flowering plants, and large colonies of sphagnum moss, an indicator of clean, acidic, low-nutrient wetlands. This is also the only known spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) breeding site in the City.
Sweet Bay Magnolia Preserve is not currently accessible to the public.