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
    If this image loads I would love an ifentification. Grows abundantly in Nashua, NH in a mostly pine, oak, maple, viburnum woods in filtered light.
    Answer
    Dear Mtbf, there is no image associated with your post. If you are having trouble uploading images, feel free to send them to me at ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org and I can try to assist you further. (Tuesday, 23 May 2017)
  • Question
    Thank you for your recent id's. They are really helping me identify what I have in my yard. Here is a volunteer fern in my back yard I'm not sure off. Concord, MA
    Answer
    Dear llsrvd, you are most welcome. The fern you have photographed is Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern). This is native to North America, though different subspecies are found throughout the world. (Tuesday, 23 May 2017)
  • Question
    Here is tree sapling volunteering in my back yard (Concord, MA). It seems to be some kind of elm. I believe I see the same tree popping all over roadsides in Concord. Is there a way to tell what species it is?
    Answer
    Dear llsrvd, your plant is a species of Ulmus (elm). It is likely to be Ulmus americana (American elm), but mature foliage would be needed (or images of the fruits) to confirm this with confidence. Best wishes. (Tuesday, 23 May 2017)
  • Question
    And here is another tree sapling that has volunteered itself in a few spots in my backyard. It's leaves and stems are sticky and aromatic. My best guess was Black Walnut. Concord, MA. Thank you!
    Answer
    Dear llsrvd, yes, they do appear to be a species of Juglans (walnut). I would not be able to tell you for certain which species of walnut without additional information, but hopefully knowing the genus will get you started with your study of this species. Best wishes. (Tuesday, 23 May 2017)
  • Question
    Is this a bulblet on the Bublet Fragile Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera) from near Albany NY? Thanks,
    Answer
    Dear Auntie, it does appear one is beginning to grow. Cystopteris bulbifera would also have abundant stipitate glands on the plant (which you should be able to see at this point). That is one way to help confirm the identification. (Tuesday, 23 May 2017)
  • Question
    This Geranium was found blooming near the Thatcher Park Nature Ctr. Helderbergs NY I can't figure out which species.
    Answer
    Dear Auntie, I can't answer your question without additional details. I would need to know the size of the flowers (best referenced through measuring the length of the petals). Also, I would need to know if there were stipitate glands on the stalks to the flowers and the sepals (which I can't see in the image). The color of the flower and orientation of the flowers suggests Geranium pretense (meadow crane's-bill), but the other details I mentioned here are necessary to confirm the identification. (Tuesday, 23 May 2017)
  • Question
    Can you identify whether an endemic tree species is endangered based on population density alone?
    Answer
    Dear kakuchi, there is no image associated with your question. Without an image, I'm unable to help you. Please keep in mind that Go Botany is a website dedicated to wild plants of New England (i.e., northeastern United States). While I'm happy to entertain questions from outside of this area, I may not be familiar with the species in question. Best wishes. (Tuesday, 23 May 2017)
  • Question
    Hello, Yesterday, May 22, I saw many of these plants growing in the Maine woods in the Moosehead Lake area. The leaves are hairy. It was not in flower. It was in an area that has been used for many years as a fishing and sporting camp. Can you tell me what it is? Thanks, Marty
    Answer
    Dear Marty, you've photographed a plant called Hieracium maculatum (spotted hawkweed). It is a species native to Europe that is introduced to several New England states, including ME. Best wishes. (Tuesday, 23 May 2017)
  • Question
    Recently moved to a property in North Andover, MA that hadn't been cared for for several years. Trying to identify this (coniferous?) tree and a vine growing nearby. Can you help?
    Answer
    Dear Nfriel, good afternoon. I can't see enough details of the first plant (you referred to it as a vine) to provide an identification. If you can take additional images and get closer photographs, I may be able to help. The tree is a member of the Cupressaceae (cypress family). Several genera within this family are referred to as cedars, including members of the genera Thuja, Chamaecyparis, and Juniperus. If you could provide images of the seed cones, I could help further. Best wishes. (Monday, 22 May 2017)
  • Question
    This is a sapling of some kind of tree. These or similar pop up around my yard every year. Concord, MA, suburban yard near wooded area.
    Answer
    Dear llsrvd, you appear to have photographed a species of Malus (apple). Various flowering crab apples have this leaf morphology. I can't tell you which species you have without flower and fruits. Best wishes. (Monday, 22 May 2017)

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