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Questions and Answers

2019

  • Question
    Hello. I was wondering if you could help me figure out what type of grass I have in some wetlands on my property.
    Answer
    Dear Prelude8626, good morning. Thanks for sharing the images. I can't identify the grass for you because I need both closer images of the reproductive structures and I need to know what part of the world you are in. Grass identification relies heavily on the flowers and location information (generally speaking, I don't need anyone's address) is vital to help eliminate choices. If you have additional images, feel free to send them to ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org and I will try to assist.
  • Question
    I want to use Ilex glabra 'Densa' as a hedge plant to block the road noise, but I wonder about its root system. Is the root system the kind I have to worry about in terms of damaging underground gas and water lines? How far from the lines should they be?
    Answer
    Dear Natalie, I spoke to our horticulture department and they have provided some important items that you will want to consider: Ilex glabra is a species that is used somewhat regularly as a hedge around utilities without concern. Spacing will depend a bit on the expected pruning regiment. For a more manicured hedge they are often planted closer together (approximately 3 feet) and pruned as needed to keep the shape desirable. For a more naturalistic visual barrier (as opposed to the formal hedge) you can pull them apart to 5 feet wide or plant a double row interspersing the rows 8 feet apart from each other. Spacing from the sidewalk will depend on the goals of the site. Would you like the edge of the hedge right along the sidewalk or want spacing to plant a herbaceous layer between the hedge and the sidewalk. The conditions of the site should also be considered, is this a high-traffic sidewalk? Lot's of dogs who might mark the plants if able would warrant moving the plants back a bit. If space on the other side of the hedge is limited it is suggested to push the hedge closer to the sidewalk. Five feet back from the sidewalk is a good distance to start with (unless there are features of your home that require otherwise). I hope this is useful.
  • Question
    Hello GoBotany community! I've had this plant for over 10 years now, and I just realized that I have no idea what is it's name. I did some searching and the closest one I found is the syngonium podophyllum. My location is near the capital of Greece. If you need more picture, please say so and i'll deliver. Thanks in advance!
    Answer
    Dear Sts013, good morning. I wish I could help you with your question, but Go Botany is a website dedicated to wild plants of northeastern North America. Cultivated species can originate from all over the world. While I feel you guess is potentially correct, I would not be able to offer you any confident answer. Sorry and best wishes.
  • Question
    What kind of succulent is this? I bought it at Walmart and can't seem to identify it. How do I best care for this plant? (Light, water, temperature.. etc.)
    Answer
    Dear Scarlettlochley, I'm sorry I can't help you with your question. Go Botany is a website dedicated to wild plants of New England. There are a great many cultivated species hailing from all over the world and I do not have expertise in this field. I hope you find the answers you are seeking. Best wishes.
  • Question
    Thanks for your previous ID! I did plant Milkweed seeds in that area. Now, in my backyard in North Reading, MA, I'm wondering what this prolific white flower is? I fear that it's garlic mustard.
    Answer
    Dear Janis, good morning. You don't need to worry about this one, it is a species of Symphyotrichum (American-aster). I can't see the basal leaves to identify it with confidence, but believe I can discern some larger, heart-shaped leaves lower down on the plant, suggesting Symphyotrichum cordifolium (heart-leaved American-aster), which is a native plant. Best wishes.
  • Question
    To continue with my question about Witch-Hazel, H. virginiana would be the only option for the fall flowering shrub. Your book, Flora Novae Angliae, does not offer a description of of the flower. Can you offer an ID from the close-up of the flower, or suggest a reference on this matter? Thanks again for being available. - Bruce
    Answer
    Dear Bruce, the length of the petals and the color of them suggests this is Hammamelis virginiana (assuming this is from a wild plant). Meyer (1997; Flora of North America, volume 3) offers an excellent identification key to the species native to North America.
  • Question
    I'm trying to prepare for Spring gardening and I don't know what this is. I'm afraid of digging up and discarding precious plants.
    Answer
    Dear Janis, good morning. I can't be sure of the identification without seeing flowers or fruits. But, I would hold off on discarding this plant as it may be Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed). You don't want to lose out on these flowers, if that turns out to be what this plant is. Best wishes.
  • Question
    I would like to know if it is common for Witch-Hazel to bloom in the fall as well as the spring. Attached are two pictures, one from November and the other from last Saturday of the same plant. I took a close-up picture (macro setting with the picture set set to 1 mb), it would not load, so here it is in the lowest setting.
    Answer
    Dear Bruce, no, I don't think that is particularly common. There are two species that grow in the northeast, one is wild and autumn-flowering, the other is cultivated and spring-flowering. But if these are of the same plant, that isn't something I've witnessed in this species before. Typically, I see the opposite, where spring-flowering plants will sometimes flower again during a mild autumn season.
  • Question
    Question: what is the name for this beautiful plant? Seen in Hammond Indiana, last summer 2018 Took some pictures them can't be loaded now... Thanks
    Answer
    Dear Mary, the image is very small, and I can't see the details well because of this. However, I can get you started with the identification. The plant is a species of Polygonatum (Solomon's-seal), a member of the Ruscaceae. Based on the few flowers in each inflorescence, it is likely P. pubescens (hairy Solomon's-seal), which is a native species of deciduous forests (often rocky ones).
  • Question
    Hello. I need some help. I have this plant that was sold in the Succulent section of my plant store. It did not come with a ID so I have no clue what type of succulent it is. I'm trying to save it as it seems like it is dying but sprouting new leaves at the same time so I am trying to figure out how to better help it. Please help so I can be a great plant mom!
    Answer
    Dear torri_1313, there is no image associated with your question. Without one, I won't be able to assist. If you are having trouble uploading image, feel free to attach them to an email and send them to ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org and I will try to assist.
  • Question
    Hello! I keep finding this grass and am not sure what species it is despite looking through all of my field guides. I have only seen it in winter so far, growing along power line ROWs in Kingston, Dartmouth, and Orleans MA. It has been see in both wetland and upland. Please let me know if you need any more information. Thank you!
    Answer
    Dear dinunziol, the grass you have observed appears to be a species of Andropogon (bluestem), in the grass family. It may be Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem), but I cannot tell this from the images provided. Hopefully this headstart will get you moving in the right direction to find an identification for your plant.
  • Question
    Hi. I was wondering if you could help me identify this plant. It was found in a Northern Cedar bog in Maine.
    Answer
    Dear cmshannon, good morning. The plant you photographed is Platanthera clavellata (little club-spur bog-orchid), a relatively common member of this genus found in a variety of wetland settings, including northern white cedar swamps. The three small teeth at the tip of the labellum help identify this orchid. Best wishes.
  • Question
    I am trying to save this plant. I have repotted it... I don't know what it is called. Do you?
    Answer
    Dear srooks80, good morning. I'm sorry I cannot help you with your question. Go Botany is a website dedicated to wild plants of New England. Cultivated species can hail from all over the world and it is difficult to know them all. Good luck saving the plant.
  • Question
    Hello, I just signed up to this sight! So, is there any books I should read to design a sustainable landscape with native New Hampshire plants? Any other resources besides books? Currently undergoing information overload right about now! :D Thanks!
    Answer
    Dear annasophia, good morning. I am not a design specialist, so I can't provide you much direction with regard to which books to read. I suggest you contact the horticulture department at the New England Wild Flower Society to identify what resources they are using. Two books that would be useful that I can recommend are "Flora Novae Angliae" (Haines 2011), which provides a comprehensive list of wild plants and their native status, and "The Nature of New Hampshire" (Sperduto and Kimball 2011), which lists all of the natural community types found in NH, so that you will have an understanding of what to recreate with the plants you are using. I wish I could be more help.
  • Question
    I can't even get to family on this one. It was growing near the top of Whiteface Mountain, in the ADKs, in moist gravel in a streambed (but not near the water). Grass in the first photo gives a rough scale, but my recollection is that it was a maximum of 1" tall. No flowers. I've seen it in other places, similar habitat, similar size, so I'm *guessing* this is as big as it gets. Any ideas?
    Answer
    Dear Cathk, check out some images of Diapensia lapponica (cushion-plant), a native, high-elevation species that forms colonies similar to the one your pictured. This species is typically found at or above 1300 meters in elevation on dry, open, exposed ridges and plateaus.
  • Question
    We're trying to get this Vaccinium down to species at Joppa Flats. V. Corymbosum (Highbush Blueberry) is our leading contender, based on the leaf edges. Have we got it right? With all the hybrids and cultivars, we're not sure. We were also looking at V. cesariense, though it's not in the map for Essex Co.
    Answer
    chaffeemonell, good morning. Unfortunately, there isn't any scale in your image, so it is difficult for me to determine who this is. I also can't make out the leaf margins well enough. That all written, it does look most like Vaccinium corymbosum, based on what I can determine. Best wishes.
  • Question
    Epigaea repens L. var. glabrifolia Fern. the other variety is described as what? I am visiting a plant friend in Escambia County FL and AL and found Epigaea repens L. but differences in leaf hairs, glands, etc. thinking it might be a different variety....grows on steep edges in sandy pine woods.
    Answer
    Deaer sjperk, good morning. Anytime there is a variety described, it automatically creates an autonym, in other words, a variety with the same epithet as the species. So Epigaea repens, when var. glabrifolia was named, also has a variety repens. These two are not considered distinct now because they grade together from essentially no hairs to abundant hairs, with no morphological gaps. Best wishes.
  • Question
    Hello, Found this plant in mid-May in Southeastern CT; it was roughly 8 inches in ht. had white bell-shaped flowers with four petals in a loose raceme. The lower leaves were rounded heart shaped. The habitat was a moist lowland near a stream in a deciduous. Thanks
    Answer
    Dear eehrlich, this is Cardamine bulbosa (bulbous bitter-cress), a native member of the mustard family. It is most often found in wet or seasonally wet soils and along stream courses.
  • Question
    Hello, This shrub was located in Northwest Maine in late summer. The Plant had sharply pointed and finely serrated compound leaves. The stem was dark purple/brown. Habitat:edge of a bog along a sandy logging road. Other plants included pearly everlasting, spruce, balsam fir and raspberry. The surrounding bog contains sphagnum, tawny cottonsedge, cattail, and tamarack.
    Answer
    Dear eehrlich, you have photographed Aralia racemose (American spikenard). While certainly not restricted to the northern states, I see it more commonly in northern New England. It often is found in rich, rocky forests, but is not restricted to that natural community. The fruits taste like root beer overlaid with the usual aromatics of the celery family. Best wishes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Question
    I grow indoor lettuce and its doing very well, what can I do to clean it for eating to make sure no E.Coli is present or other bacteria? We trim as we need it and let it continue to grow.
    Answer
    Dear thekeith2469, if you are concerned about E. coli, know that it is very difficult to avoid exposure with complete certainty. Even washing your greens is not foolproof because the bacteria can cling to tiny nooks that your hands can't reach. The best is likely to be sure that the plants are not contaminated, so washing hands prior to picking and tending may be an important preventative strategy. Best wishes.
  • Question
    Dear Botanist, it's a bit unfair to send you images of January plants, but I am hoping you may know if both of these are Leonurus cardiaca. The vertical stalk definitely is - I saw the flowers last summer - but the other plant was about 50 feet away and looks similar yet different. There are SO many Mint family plants! Thank you.
    Answer
    Dear Quinn, they certainly look to me like the persistent sepals of Leonurus cardiaca. This species has a spine-like point at the apex of the sepals and lobes spread wide (just as in your images). Best wishes. Other species that have similar sepals (as to the spine apex) have a dvery different stem pubescence (e.g., Galeopsis).
  • Question
    what is daisy tree? pl give pics if possible
    Answer
    Dear uakeloth, good morning. It will be hard for me to answer this question with confidence because common names are often used for more than one species of plant. However, at least one genus referred to as daisy tree is provided information here: https://www.arkive.org/daisy-tree/scalesia-pedunculata/ . I hope it helps you with your question.
  • Question
    A bit north of New England, but I think this is Saxifraga oppositifolia in fruit. Photographed in Newfoundland on July 4 2018.
    Answer
    Thokozile, good morning. Yes, it looks like that species. Ours here in New England looks nothing like this because the internodes are spaced out much more. So, instead of a compact growth form (like you have photographed), they are elongated, sprawling, and often hanging down from cliff edges, etc. Thanks for sharing--hope you are well.
  • Question
    Greetings, I live in Northampton, and I recently found a strange purple seed pod filled with green goo near the Mill River. There were no others around that woody area, and I would like to know what it is. Thank you, Reggie
    Answer
    Reggie, You have likely found an old legume of Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky coffee tree). Surrounding the seeds is a green material that becomes soft and mucilaginous when old/wet. If you look at images online, you can see what the rest of the tree looks like. Best wishes.
  • Question
    Can you determine which Alnus this is from these photos? The twig has both lenticels and bloom. Could it be a hybrid? It is growing in a forest-interior wetland in Rutland County, VT.
    Answer
    Dear mmchugh, good morning. These look like Alnus incana (speckled alder), which is the most common species found in New England. If it were Alnus serrulata, we would expect the carpellate aments to diverge from the branchlet curve leading down to the staminate aments. Best wishes.