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Ask the Botanist
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
- Hello I am a senior in high school and I'm currently working on a project that's about growing a non-native plant in an unfamiliar climate. I am trying to grow the Croton petra in my home and the project requires that I get an expert's opinion/advice to aid my research. Although this is not a New England plant, I was wondering if I was able to interview somebody via email to help give me the guidance I need to appease my teacher. This is a cute lil cite, your time is greatly appreciated!-Lauren
- Dear Lauren, good morning. While I cannot offer you much expertise on growing a species of Croton (I'm a plant taxonomist, not a cultivator or horticulturalist), there is someone who may be able to assist. Our horticulturist is Uli Lorimer (email@example.com). I cannot speak to his schedule and if he has time, but you might direct your question there for assistance. Best wishes. (Friday, 21 January 2022)
- Hello, I have a question about Sorbus aucuparia. In the Sorbus key it says it can be distinguished from other species by the fact that the adaxial surface of its leaves are villous, but then in the page https://gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/sorbus/aucuparia/ it says that the lower surface of the leaflets are hairy. I thought adaxial = upper surface of the leaf, so is there a mistake somewhere?
- Dear SigFig, good morning. These two statements are not in contradiction. One speaks to the adaxial (upper) surface and the other speaks to the abaxial (lower) surface. The taxon page (the second resource you mention) simply provides a greater description (i.e., more characteristics) about the plant. Best wishes. (Friday, 21 January 2022)
- Hello, I've been baffled by this yew for years. I originally dig it up in Plymouth MA in 2008 in a wild-ish situation, and am thinking it's either an English or a Japanese Yew (but Japanese is not on your range map). It's upright, not sprawling like canadensis. Also, re: the first bud pic on your cuspidata page really a flower bud, as indicated, or is it a leaf bud? Thanks for any clues.
- Dear corylus, good morning. I am hesitant to identify species of Taxus from a couple of images due to the difficulty, this imposed by hybrid plants that have entered the horticulture trade. That written, I offer that your plant is similar to Taxus cuspidata in leaf phyllotaxis and blade shape, winter bud scale shape, and details of the petiole. Taxus cuspidata would be my first hypothesis for your plant. Best wishes. (Friday, 21 January 2022)