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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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Recently Answered Questions

  • Question
    Hi again, this is a follow up to my plantain question I asked earlier. I examined a fruit as you suggested, and located what I believe is the line of dehiscence, which I hope I've adequately photographed here. The line is not exactly in the middle, but is this roughly where you would expect to find it in Plantago major? Comparing to pictures I've been able to find of the fruits of both P. major and P. rugelii, I'm still not totally sure. Thank you again for your help!
    Answer
    Dear DavidJ, let's add some characteristics that can help. The fruit of Plantago rugelii is 4 mm or longer (that of P. major is 4 mm or shorter). You could measure the length of the fruit to assist with your identification. Also, each fruit in Plantago rugelii has 4-9 seeds 1.5-2 mm long (P. major has 6-11 seeds 1-1.7 mm long). The length of the seeds is particularly useful. Do a few measurements if you can and report back so we can make an informed identification. The line of dehiscence suggests P. rugelii, but it will be nice to confirm with other characteristics. Thank you. (Thursday, 29 July 2021)
  • Question
    I have spotted what Might be creeping cinquifoil in my yard in Lee, NH (see photo). Please confirm? Thank you!
    Answer
    Dear HolmCedarHome, good morning. You do have a cinquefoil that is trailing, but there are several species that have this same habit. Without flowers, which we need to measure petal length, anther size, and so on, we cannot know with any certainty, which species you have. Potentilla simplex is the most common member of the genus with this growth habit in New England. Best wishes. (Wednesday, 28 July 2021)
  • Question
    Hi. This plantain is growing at the edge of our driveway in Tolland County, Connecticut. I am wondering if it is Plantago rugelii. Is the reddish-purple color near the base of the petioles sufficient for distinguishing this species from P. major, or are there other traits I need to consider? Thank you for your help!
    Answer
    Dear DavidJ, good morning. Unfortunately, petiole color is not sufficient for a confident determination. There are differences in seed number per capsule and seed size, but the easiest way to tell Plantago rugelii from P. major is the where the pyxis (the fruit) splits open. In P. rugelii, the line of dehiscence is near the base of the fruit (rather than the middle in P. major). If you look at the little fruits (which you photographed) with magnification, you can see an horizontal line around the fruit itself where it splits open. Just identify if it is near the base or near the middle. Best wishes. (Wednesday, 28 July 2021)

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