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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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All Questions and Answers

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)
  • Question
    Great Meadows NWR, edge of pond. Persicaria pensylvanica?
    Answer
    Dear jfc, I think you are in the right ball park. Both Persicaria pensylvanica and P. lapathifolia have no bristles at the apical rim of the stipules. However, the long slender inflorescences that droop over at the apex are characteristic of P. lapathifolia. I can't see the tepals well enough, but I believe I can only see four per flower (also a characteristic of P. lapathifolia). Best wishes. (Wednesday, 28 July 2021)
  • Question
    This Humulus plant is growing in the side a a road I walk. Is it native? How can I tell the difference between Humulus americanus and H.lupulus? I see some sites listing H. lupulus as native? Do we have a native hops in Maine? Thanks for your help.
    Answer
    Dear JoAnnaG@, Humulus lupulus is not native to North America, it is an Old World native. Treatments that consider it native include under it Humulus americanus as a subspecies (i.e., H. lupulus subsp. americanus). Separating these two species is difficult because most of the characteristics are micromorphological and rely on density of hairs and glands on the leaf surfaces. There is one macroscropic character and that is the hairiness of the nodes (H. americanus has densely hairy nodes where the leaves are produced from the stem and H. lupulus has sparsely hairy stems). Good luck with the identification. (Wednesday, 28 July 2021)
  • Question
    aquatic .. opposite leaves and had red achenes .. co - habiting with pipewort... in Canada, Algoma District of Ontario
    Answer
    Dear Lison, you have photographed a species of Hypericum (St. John's-wort). However, I don't have enough of the plant and a clear enough image to identify it any further than the genus. Best wishes. (Monday, 26 July 2021)
  • Question
    Sorry, no camera but i think the canopy was so dense it might not have worked. Thigh high bloom stalk. orchid-shaped light violet blooms, scattered randomly about the stem on a steep very rocky hillside in a deciduous forest in ne CT. no leaves associated with that blackish stem,,,,unless they were the leaves i often saw near the bloom stalk. The flowers are alternatei would say not a well filled out column like obedient plant.Reminded me of micrantha
    Answer
    Dear sziabrowska@yahoo.com, I'm sorry but without an image I won't be able to assist. I hope you are able to get one so that I might be able to help you with an identification. (Monday, 26 July 2021)
  • Question
    Hello! I'm wondering if you might have any advice on how to tell the difference between a young Vaccinium corymbosum and Vaccinium angustifolium. I did some seed collection at Verona Beach State Park on a roadside beside pine-y woods, the very low plants were on the forest edge and the area is generally wetland-y, several Vaccinium species (including V. corymbosum and Gaylussacia grew there together. I keyed the plant out to angustifolium but the leaf didn't seem particularly "angust". Thanks!!
    Answer
    Dear philterfeed, good afternoon. The leaves would still be very different from each other in size--those of Vaccinium corymbosum and related species are much too large to be V. angustifolium. Best wishes. (Monday, 26 July 2021)
  • Question
    My house came with a patch of 2 meter tall goldenrod. I don't know if it is wild or planted. It is starting to bloom in late July after a lot of rain earlier in the month.
    Answer
    Dear jfc, the plant is likely Solidago altissima. This is a species with triple-nerved leaves and pubescent stems. To confirm this, I would need to know about the pubescence of the underside of the leaf--if it is pubescent across the surface (not just on the veins), then it is mostly likely that species. The involucral bracts will also be longer than in S. canadensis (when the capitula are present). Best wishes. (Monday, 26 July 2021)
  • Question
    I've keyed this plant observed today in Cheshire, Connecticut to either Polygala sanguinea or P. nuttallii (state threatened) and the key I'm using (Magee and Ahles) has the difference between them down to the calyx wings being either 3 mm or greater and exceeding the corolla (sanguinea), or 2.7 mm or less and equaling the corolla (nuttallii). I'm not exactly sure where to measure the wings from (is it the length of an individual sepal?). Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!
    Answer
    Dear mantill, good afternoon. The wing sepals are quite long on the plant you photographed (much longer than the corolla). Further, the racemes are quite thick (nearly 10 mm thick). This suggests the plant is Polygala sanguinea. Best wishes. (Monday, 26 July 2021)

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