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Ask the Botanist

Ace Acer

Our ace botanists are here to help you identify wild New England plants and to answer questions about their ecology and conservation. When posting a question, please provide the location, habitat (e.g. river, mountain, woodland), and photographs of the plant.

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All Questions and Answers

Recently Answered Questions

  • Question
    Is this Scarlet Oak Ligonier PA
    Answer
    Dear BrnfaapGH_GB, good morning. I can't tell you which species you have photographed with any certainty. Oaks require a lot of information to positively identify, including an understanding of the variation of sun and shade leaves and the winter buds (which are really crucial). I wish I could help. The only thing I can write to you is that you are in the black oak group (which includes scarlet oak). Best wishes. (Wednesday, 25 November 2020)
  • Question
    Could you help me identify this landscape plant find ln Boise ID?
    Answer
    Dear Carol, good morning. There is no image associated with your question. Without one, I won't be able to assist you. If you are having trouble uploading images, feel free to attach them to an email and send them to ahaines@nativeplanttrust.org and I will do my best to assist. (Thursday, 19 November 2020)
  • Question
    Hello there, I am hoping that it is possible to ID this Violet. I would also like to know if it is native. Thank you, SueLB
    Answer
    Dear SueLB, Good afternoon. The violet you have photographed looks like common forms of Viola xbissellii that I see. This is the hybrid of Viola cucullata and V. sororia (in the broad sense). Yes, it is native (a product of two native violets). It characteristically has the large white corolla with a blue-lined interior. Best wishes. (Tuesday, 17 November 2020)
  • Question
    I planted different chili seeds, a few days later I noticed somewhat like a shiny blue coloration and thought it was just plastic particles. When it grew about 1-2 inches maybe, I pulled out one to check if it's alright, saw this blue particle again and realized it was actually the seed. What could be the reason?
    Answer
    Dear Johnkosh, good afternoon. I wish I could assist you, but unfortunately I am unable to. My expertise is not with cultivated plants or their growth. Go Botany is a website dedicated to wild plant of New England. While I am happy to entertain all plant-related questions, there will be those I cannot answer. I'm sorry I can't help you. (Tuesday, 17 November 2020)
  • Question
    Dear Botanist, This beautiful tree, i believe, is a Yellow Malus. Is there any further information you would be able to give me on ID. It is located on an island in Salem Sound, Massachusetts. There is at least 1 more tree just like it! Thank you very much! SueLB
    Answer
    Dear SueLB, I cannot be sure from the photographs you have supplied, but from what I can see, the images are +/- consistent with Malus baccata (Siberian crab apple) or a closely related species. This particular apple has naturalized (here and there) over most of New England. Best wishes. (Tuesday, 17 November 2020)
  • Question
    hello, Im lookiing to Id this plant, can I have a little help please ? Thanks
    Answer
    Dear camille, good morning. There is no image associated with your question. Without one, I won't be able to assist you. If you are having a difficult time uploading images, feel free to attach images to an email and send them to ahaines@nativeplanttrust.org. Please be sure to include information about location, habitat, etc. Best wishes. (Tuesday, 17 November 2020)
  • Question
    Hi there. These photos were taken in a fragmented swamp in Natick, MA, but this species of Malus is very common in forest fragments here in general. I think it is Malus baccata, but I'm not certain and wanted to ask. The time of year is November. The last photo depicts the general area in which they are growing. Thank you!
    Answer
    Dear Lucian, good morning. I think your hypothesis of Malus baccata is a good starting point. The small pome with deciduous sepals fits well for that species. Without serial collections of flowers and fruits, I'm hesitant to identify these species given the extensive breeding for horticulture and known hybrids. I hope this is somewhat helpful. (Tuesday, 17 November 2020)
  • Question
    Hi I am looking for a name for plants in my yard. I live in Hamilton, Mt. Ravalli County. This is my first time trying to use this type of app.
    Answer
    Dear mreardon, good morning. Please forgive me, but I am not highly skilled with cultivated plants. That written, you appear to have a species of Impatiens (touch-me-not) based on the presence of the nectar spur and other features of the plant that I can see in the image. Best wishes. (Tuesday, 17 November 2020)
  • Question
    how many nutrients are absorbed by a tree before leaf fall? jb
    Answer
    Dear johnbarry, certain minerals are mobile and can be reabsorbed by the tree before the leaves fall. These include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Other important minerals, like calcium, are not mobile and will fall with the leaf. Here is a link to more information about this phenomenon: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/knowing_nutrient_mobility_is_helpful_in_diagnosing_plant_nutrient_deficienc (Wednesday, 11 November 2020)
  • Question
    Dear Ageless and good looking Botanist, I am hoping it is possible to ID the species of grass presented here. Thank you very much, SueLB
    Answer
    Dear SueLB, good morning. The grass you have photographed is Dactylus glomerata (orchard grass). It is a common, sometimes weedy, species that is frequent in fields and along roadsides. Best wishes. (Tuesday, 10 November 2020)

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