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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
    Hi, I have found what at first looks to be some sort of root or long sprout, & it may very well be. However this “root” is moving at times almost snake like at both ends. One end more than the other usually as if the one side is the head and the other tail. I put a drip of water next to it and it purposely moved towards it in plain sight (no time lapse camera needed) and began to move through it. I have a video I can send you if you would please help me identify this. Ontario, Canada Thanks
    Answer
    Dear Kai, it appears you may have located a round worm or another division of invertebrate life. Interesting find, thank you for sharing. (Monday, 11 February 2019)
  • Question
    Psilotum is simple living pteridophytes why? please tell me.
    Answer
    Dear HaseebS57, I'm sorry that I do not understand your question. Are you asking why this plant is a pteridophyte or is simple or is living? Please email me at ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org and reword your question so I can assist you. (Monday, 11 February 2019)
  • Question
    I have been trying to ID a common spring ephemeral. Thru other sources I think it is Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone, wood windflower). Why could I not find it in the GoBotany simple key using: Flower color-white; Flower symmetry-radial; Number of sepals, petals-five? I attach a photo just in case my ID is wrong.
    Answer
    Dear JillerMiller, good morning. You are correct with your identification. This is Anemone quinquefolia. Why you could not find it in Go Botany is not yet known to me, but we can try to figure it out. Be aware that this species has petaloid sepals (it does not have petals), so that could be a place you went wrong. By convention, if a species has a single whorl of perianth parts, they are referred to as sepals (in most genera, including those in the crowfoot family). Feel free to email me at ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org and we can discuss further if you would like. (Monday, 11 February 2019)
  • Question
    Hi there, I am wondering if you could help me with this shrub identification. Unfortunately I only have one picture. The photo was taken in late August of 2018, in a wetland. Many thanks
    Answer
    Dear SunnyMona, good morning. You have photographed a species of Salix (willow), but I can't tell you with confidence which species you have without more information. Can you tell me which state you were in and what kind of wetland? Feel free to email me at ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org and we can try to narrow down the choices for you. Best wishes. (Thursday, 7 February 2019)
  • Question
    Hello, one day doing my research data collection, i have seen plant two plants that i was not able to identify. i need you help to know their families, genus and species. they were located in RWANDA, NORTHERN PROVINCE
    Answer
    Dear nonor1n3, good morning. I'm sorry I cannot assist you. Go Botany is a website dedicated to wild plants of northeastern North America. Rwanda is a very long way away with a different flora. You need to contact an herbarium (i.e., plant museum) that specializes in plants of your region. There will be a botanist there that can assist with your question. If you need help locating one, ask and I'll be happy to assist. (Monday, 4 February 2019)
  • Question
    Hey hey. My plant is dying but I have no idea what kind of plant it is, and thus I can't look up how to save her! Lil' help?
    Answer
    Dear sandoridiot, your plant is likely a member of the genus Schefflera, and may be dwarf umbrella plant (Schefflera arboricola). There is a lot of information online about this species and how to care for it, so you should be able to locate some help with its care. (Monday, 4 February 2019)
  • Question
    Hello! In my home decoration craze, I planted about five small cacti in a large glass jar about four-five years ago. Some of the cacti died, some of them grew, in a rather strange way. (See Photo) Now, I think, it’s time to repot them, but I don’t know how I can do that. They seem to have some very weak spots that rely on the glass jar for support. Thank you for your help!
    Answer
    Dear Amroth, I too have some native cacti that I've planted indoors. They have grown very elongated and "spindly" compared with their wild-grown relatives. You can certainly re-pot them and simply set them on the pot edges (in the new pots) as they have grown here or even set up something beside the pot to help them support their weight. Essentially, taking care to support them while planting and using your best judgment will create a good home for them. Good luck. (Monday, 28 January 2019)
  • Question
    I noticed this orange hair like stuff coming out of our wall in our living room and was wondering what type of plant it is. The wall paper is bubbled and the hair like stuff is coming out of the wall. We are a little freaked out and any help you could provide identifying what this is would be great! Thanks.
    Answer
    Dear kaberber, good morning. I wish I could help you with your question, but I cannot. I'm not sure what part of the world you are in and am not confident that is a plant. Good luck determining what it is. (Monday, 28 January 2019)
  • Question
    I think this is a euonymus europaeus. I found it in Augusta, Maine. Is this plant a concern for invasiveness?
    Answer
    Dear khdraper, good morning. I'm sorry, the image is so small that I cannot see any details to help you identify this plant. It is appearing only as a small thumbnail, even after attempting to expand the image. If you have a larger, higher-resolution version of the image, feel free to email it to ahaines[at]newenglaandwild.org and I will be happy to help with the identification. Best wishes. (Monday, 28 January 2019)
  • Question
    I wonder if these 2 plants could be Salix argyrocarpa. Dwarf size (less than 1 foot tall), south coast of Labrador July 6 2018.
    Answer
    Thokozile, I'm not sure, but the leaf blades appear to wide (relative to width) in one image (with the short aments) and the aments appear too long (in the image with long aments). While some images of the images appear correct for that taxon, I'm not sure without being able to measure various structures. Sorry I can't be of more help. (Tuesday, 22 January 2019)

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