Vacant Lot at Fairmount Ave and American Ave in Philadelphia

In Albums:nature Philadelphia city plants

Vacant lot showing numerous weedy plants, some exposed ground, and two bare walls along the back, with a brick house viewable behind

Jun 16th, 2011, by Alex Zorach

This vacant lot lies on the northeast corner of Fairmount Avenue and N American Avenue in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. Note the bare, windowless walls viewable on the right and rear of the photo. These clue the viewer in that it was likely that this lot had once been built-out with a building that extended the whole way to these walls, which were not meant to be exposed to the street.

The flora of this vacant lot is typical for that of a vacant lot in Philadelphia; there is an absence of tree saplings, which suggests fairly recent mowing. The dominant plants are peppergrass (which is in the cabbage family, not a grass), common ragweed, wild lettuce, and lamb's quarters. All of these plants suggest poor soil in this lot. There is an almost complete absence of grass here, with the exception of some dead grasses towards the back. You can view a closeup photo of the common ragweed in this lot, as well as the peppergrass.

Interestingly to me, all of these plants are native to North America, which in a sense, could be interpreted as the ecology in this vacant lot being healthy. This stands in stark contrast to many vacant lots and disturbed areas, which are overrun by non-native, invasive species.