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Please note: PLEASE NOTE: The High Line's northernmost section—from 30th Street and 11th Avenue to 34th Street between 11th Avenue and 12th Avenue — will be temporarily closed from Monday, August 17 through Monday, September 21, for some maintenance work on the Interim Walkway. The rest of the park will remain open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Learn more

What's that Smell?

dropseed Via christiNYCa's flickr.

If you've been up to the High Line recently, you may have noticed a particular scent coming mostly from Chelsea Grasslands. It's been described as smelling like coriander, a combination of honey and cilantro leaves, or popcorn.   I've also overheard it described, strangely, as a "burning crayon smell", or a "strong chemical odor".

dropseed Prairie Dropseed from the 20th Street Stairwell.

So what is it? Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis). This perennial grass is bushy and fragrant. It grows and blooms in the spring and summer, and dies back in the fall and winter. The unique fragrance comes in blooming season (late summer) when the feathery panicles (stem-clustered flowers) turn a golden brown. The name "dropseed" derives from the plant's mature seeds dropping to the ground from their hulls... right... around... now.

Be sure to take a moment on your High Line stroll, close your eyes, and  take a whiff of this Prairie Dropseed. Does it smell like chemicals? Spices? Stay tuned for more seasonal changes to the High Line's plant-life.

dropseed A tenacious grass, Prairie Dropseed peeks through the decorative railing.
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