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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 am afraid I can’t be certain about the habitat of the plant species to which this seed belongs but it could be the UK or New England. I would appreciate your kind assistance. The seed is likely quite old but seems to have kept its colour. It might have been used as a bead in a necklace. The scale is inches and fractions thereof. Thus the seed is about 4/10ths of an inch in diameter. It was found under floorboards.
    Answer
    Dear SDixon, I do wish I could help, but I don't recognize that seed. I'm sorry, but without more information, I won't be able to assist. (Monday, 17 December 2018)
  • Question
    Hi, first post. I live in Brooklyn, NY and currently have 17 houseplants in my apartment. I love plants! Can someone help me identify this plant, please? Thank you!
    Answer
    Dear yodastaxx, good morning. There are no images associated with your question. Without them I won't be able to assist. But, also please keep in mind that Go Botany is a website dedicated to wild plants of northeastern North America. I can try to assist you, but cultivated species are not my area of expertise. If you still want to try, feel free to email your images to ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org and I will attempt to help. (Monday, 10 December 2018)
  • Question
    Grandma got some "winter flower" seeds and is growing these plants. She says they are from the same plant but I don't recognize them. I'd really appreciate it if anyone here can identify the 2 plants on this picture I took from her indoor plants. AC
    Answer
    Dear Moncro, good morning. I can't identify both plants in your image, but the one on the left looks like Stellaria media (common stitchwort), a frequent weed and contaminate in seed packages. It likely got mixed in with the species that was labeled on the package. Best wishes. (Friday, 7 December 2018)
  • Question
    Hello, What I have is a question. Coming to know that Sedges have edges, Rushes are round, Grasses have nodes that might bend to the ground, I have a need to confirm... What is being talked about is the main stem. Grasses are hollow with nodes. Rushes are solid and round and Sedges are triangular. I've been having trouble because all of these plants have leaves with edges. Thank you for your help! Sue L-B
    Answer
    Dear SueLB, good morning. The situation is actually more complex than the simplified statements portray for remembering families of grass-like plants. The "sedges have edges" comment refers to their stems, which are often (but by no means always) triangular in cross-section, so that you can often feel the edges of the stem (not the leaves) with your fingers. It turns out that several genera have other shapes to the cross-section of the stems, including round, bluntly triangular, square, and with 4 or more wing angles. Some of those species can be separated because they have leaves in three ranks (grasses have leaves in two ranks). Most sedges have flowers that are spirally arranged (those of grasses are arranged in only two ranks). Yes, most grasses have hollow stems, but both sedges and grasses have nodes (it is just that grass nodes are usually swollen and more prominent). I hope this helps a little. (Thursday, 6 December 2018)
  • Question
    Hi. what is the name of this plant
    Answer
    Dear Wisksam, I'm sorry I cannot help you. Without knowing the location of this plant, which is very important for identification, there are too many possibilities to search through. If you can provide location information and describe the habitat so it is possible to discern if this is planted or wild, it might allow an answer to be found. If you want to pursue this question, feel free to email this information to ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org. (Wednesday, 5 December 2018)
  • Question
    The woods behind my house is covered with this stuff. I live in Plymouth Mass. I haven't captured whether it has any fruit or not yet, but I'm trying to figure out if this is a wild non-native burning bush outbreak. Are these photos enough to identify it? Do I need to get better ones? If it isn't burning bush, do you know what else it might be or what else I should look for on the plant to identify it. I took these pictures specifically because of the bright red color it takes on in fall.
    Answer
    Dear jaf, There are no images associated with your question, without them, I won't be able to assist. If you are having trouble uploading images, feel free to attach them to an email and send them to ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org, I will examine them and try to help. (Wednesday, 5 December 2018)
  • Question
    Hello, Here I have a glorious hairy sedge that I need help identifying. I did look at all of your offerings but unfortunately I was unable to sort it out. This plant is in Salem Sound, Massachusetts Thank you for your time and expertise! Sue L-B
    Answer
    Dear SueLB, good morning. The plant you have photographed is part of the Luzula campestris complex (wood-rush). It is most likely Luzula multiflora (common wood-rush), the most frequent species in this complex within New England. Without some additional details, the best I can do is an educated guess. I hope this is useful. (Monday, 3 December 2018)
  • Question
    Hello, I was hoping someone would be able to identify for me what type of grass I have here. It is short growing for sure but this is in a lawn that is mowed. It is located in Salem Sound. Thank you, Sue L-B
    Answer
    Dear SueLB, good morning. I can't identify this grass, it is just too immature for me to tell who it is from images. I have some guesses, but they are not confident ones. If you get a chance to get a later image with mature spikelets, I should be able to help you. I'm sorry I can't help (with confidence) this time. (Monday, 3 December 2018)
  • Question
    good day! there is this vine plant that I am curious of because it is all over our town and I would like to know its species, I would be very glad if you could help me with this. I am from the philippines and it is located in the visayas region. thank you!
    Answer
    Dear ziamae10, good morning. There is no image associated with your question, without one, I won't be able to assist. Equally as important, you are a long way from my region of expertise. While I am not sure if I would be able to assist, you are free to attach the images to an email. If you send them to ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org, I will examine them and try to help. (Monday, 3 December 2018)
  • Question
    11/25/2018 Found this growing on and around a stone wall and a number of them are scattered around this area. They have kept their rosette leaves even after several days of temps in the teens and twenties.
    Answer
    Dear David, this looks like Hieracium maculatum (spotted hawkweed), a non-native member of the composite family. It is known from northern New England (not sure where you photographed this), quite abundant in some locations in Maine. Best wishes. (Wednesday, 28 November 2018)

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