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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
    I photographed Fuller’s Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) on August 6th in a vacant lot in Kittery Township, York County, Maine. The identification was confirmed by a botanist with the Maine Natural Areas Program. However, this species is not currently recorded from Maine in Go Botany (nor the USDA PLANTS database). Can this record be added? I can provide more information, including a photo.
    Answer
    Dear JVCalhoun, good morning. It would be great to learn more about this occurrence you have discovered. Please email me at ahaines@nativeplanttrust.org and attach images. I would really appreciate learning about the setting so we can determine if it was truly naturalized. Thank you and best wishes. (Wednesday, 23 September 2020)
  • Question
    I found a Brassica oleracea in Maine
    Answer
    Dear Paytyn, good morning. If you want to email me at ahaines@nativeplanttrust.org and attach images of this plant, I would be appreciative to learn more about it. Please describe the setting and whether or not you feel it is truly naturalized. Thank you and best wishes. (Wednesday, 23 September 2020)
  • Question
    Hi, this (I assume) seed floated down onto me a week or so ago. Can you identify it? I'm using it as a "mystery object" with my students next week and would love to be able to tell them more than "it's some kind of seed." Thanks!
    Answer
    Dear bbrown, there is no image associated with your question. If you are having difficulty uploading images, please feel free to email me directly at ahaines@nativeplanttrust.org. I will be happy to try to help identify images you attach to the email. (Wednesday, 23 September 2020)
  • Question
    I have been given an ID for this Goldenrod as Solidago Subsect. Argutae, which is a subgrouping of species similar to S, arguta. Can you explain what a "Subsection" is, as opposed to a subgenus, a species group, or a super species? Also, if you recognize the group, which are the other Solidago species in it? The observation was made in Franconia Notch. Thanks.
    Answer
    Dear Chaffeemonell, good morning. We've discussed in another place what all those taxonomic ranks are. Within New England, there are only two species placed within subsection Argutae, Solidago arguta and S. patula. The former is a forest and edge species and latter is a wetland species. Best wishes. (Wednesday, 23 September 2020)
  • Question
    This flower was found on the edge of a forest path within 15-20 feet of the Stillwater River. The trees are mostly conifers with some red maple and white birch. The plant has opposite leaves that are toothed and simple. They are mostly heart-shaped, except that the base of the leaf is flat, not curved. The flowers are in umbels coming from leaf axils with each flower having 5 petals. The color is white. It was leaning over into the trail, but would estimate that it was about 2 to 2.5 feet tall.
    Answer
    Dear GMartha, Go Botany is experiencing a technical issue and images are not uploading. Feel free to send images directly to me at ahaines@nativeplanttrust.org and I will try to assist. (Tuesday, 15 September 2020)
  • Question
    I have an invasive plant in my yard; it looks like a tree but spreads via underground runners. It has small white flowers in spring over bright green leaves. It is 12-15' tall with elongated leaves along thin branches. Bark is smooth and slightly striated; trunk only gets about 1" thick. The runners are quite thick and run very deep - deeper than locust runners. These cannot easily be pulled by hand.
    Answer
    Dear kblossfeld, Go Botany is experiencing a technical issue and images are not uploading. Feel free to send images directly to me at ahaines@nativeplanttrust.org and I will try to assist. (Tuesday, 15 September 2020)
  • Question
    I found this plant in our creek bed in southern Indiana. I have never seen another like it on our 150 acres. It developed an elongated cluster of green berries below the leaves. It was about 18 inches high. No flowers ever. It is now wilted (September) and the berry cluster is turning red. Please help identify. Thank you.
    Answer
    Dear Betsy, Go Botany is experiencing a technical issue and images are not uploading. Feel free to send images directly to me at ahaines@nativeplanttrust.org and I will try to assist. (Tuesday, 15 September 2020)
  • Question
    Arthur, I am having trouble uploading pictures, for your ID help, just trying to verify if the problem is on my end or yours. - B. Piper
    Answer
    Dear Bruce, yes, Go Botany is experiencing a technical issue and images are not uploading. Feel free to send images directly to me at ahaines@nativeplanttrust.org and I will try to assist. (Tuesday, 15 September 2020)
  • Question
    I'm trying to figure out the various highbush blueberries (and maleberries?) Is this beautiful leaf enough to go on? Taken at Nickerson State Park in Brewster, MA 8/30/20. Thanks!
    Answer
    Dear corylus, good afternoon. Two ways to identify these genera apart involve examining the branchlet surfaces and winter buds. Those of Vaccinium (blueberry) have +/- white bumps (papillae) on the branchlet surfaces and have multiple, imbricate scales covering the winter buds. Those of Lyonia (maleberry) have no papillae on the branchlet surfaces and have two valvate buds scales covering the winter buds. (Friday, 11 September 2020)
  • Question
    In Lebanon, NH. I've used a plant identification app and it has told me that it is many different things. Closest to it is the White Snakeroot but this plant has alternating leaves. I believe it will have white flowers but nothing yet. Ranges from 1 to 4 feet tall, most are 3 foot in height. Grows primarily in semi-shade in among my other flowers. Uploading isn't working so I will send the images to an email address.
    Answer
    Dear wmrlynn, we corresponded recently about this question. If you are having trouble uploading images, never hesitate to email me at ahaines@nativeplanttrust.org. I am happy to assist with any plant-related questions you have. Best wishes. (Wednesday, 2 September 2020)

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