Addison Brown, 1879
Cargo ships are designed to carry heavy weights, and without it they ride to high in the water and are unstable. Ships not laden with enough goods would take on ballast, often in the form of sand or gravel to allow them to safely sail. The November 1878 edition of the Torrey Botanical Club noted that European plants were being transported in the mix of ballast and taking root in Red Hook. The practice was also expanding the amount of dry land.
An example of a ballast plant that came from Europe to Red Hook, Brooklyn, thrived here when the area was marshland and then immigrated accross the country to other marshy areas is the plant Veronica beccabunga, also known as European speedwell or brooklime.