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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
    What is this evergreen tree?
    Answer
    That tree is Tsuga canadensis: eastern hemlock. (Thursday, 22 September 2016)
  • Question
    What about this lighter-leaved plant?
    Answer
    Magnolia virginiana (although the thumbnail that is showing is incorrect). (Friday, 16 September 2016)
  • Question
    What is this plant with these cones?
    Answer
    It's Tsuga canadensis, although the thumbnail is "stuck" in the form and Admin (look at the full image). (Friday, 16 September 2016)
  • Question
    What is this plant? (Test question)
    Answer
    Tsuga canadensis. (Sunday, 28 August 2016)
  • Question
    I'd love help with this plant. It's growing on a fairly dry woodland in Massachusetts. It's the first year I've noticed the flower, but there are probably 30 of them all growing in one patch. It has a white tubular flower; five sepals; leaves are alternate and very slightly toothed.
    Answer
    Dear alcatjan, I am not able to identify your plant. Would it be possible to get images of the plant in the habitat they grow in? If you are able to acquire additional images, feel free to send them to ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org . Best wishes. (Tuesday, 21 July 2015)
  • Question
    Wondering if someone could identify this plant found in Green Mountains in southern VT. It was a fairly wet woods with moss and spruce trees. Saw a lesser fringed orchis in a really damp area nearby. Thanks
    Answer
    Dear c.chalmers, I do not know what you have photographed. Without flowers or fruits, this one is a mystery. It does look to me much like a species of Trillium that is producing a single leaf (this happens from time to time and the leaf morphology is very similar to what you have photographed). If you are able to get additional images, feel free to post them or send them to ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org . (Tuesday, 21 July 2015)
  • Question
    Good afternoon! Could you please help with this plant. Growing singly, Only basal leaves, deciduous forest on Storrs, CT. Hairy stems.
    Answer
    Dear KDC, you have photographed what appears to be a species of Nabalus. I would not be able to tell you which species without flowers or fruits, though Nabalus altissimus (synonym: Prenanthes altissima), tall rattlesnake-root, is a likely candidate. (Tuesday, 21 July 2015)
  • Question
    I found a plant growing in my yard, it is about a foot tall and it is redish purple stem and leaves. Could you please give me any information you could. I tried to upload a picture but it want let me. Thank you. Sabrina I live in kentucky.
    Answer
    Dear Sabrina, there is no image associated with your question. If you are having trouble posting images, feel free to email them to ahaines[at]newenglandwild.org. I will try to help, but be aware that Go Botany is a site dedicated to wild plants of New England. Best wishes. (Monday, 20 July 2015)
  • Question
    I saw this plant in Green Mountain National forest where there were old homesteads years ago. Looks like a naturalized hydrangea to me, but not sure. Is there a native plant this might be instead? Thanks
    Answer
    Dear c.chalmers, the plant in your photographs is Ageratina altissima (white snakeroot), a member of the aster family that is frequently found in moist soils of deciduous forests. This is a native species. Best wishes. (Monday, 20 July 2015)
  • Question
    Found in field Behind my house in Maine - within 100 feet of vernal wetland/pond but dry now in summer. Is it a white fringed orchid?
    Answer
    Dear Croline1818, good morning. What a wonderful orchid sighting. Your species is Platanthera lacera (green fringed bog orchid). This species differs from Platanthera blephariglottis (white fringed bog orchid) in that the lower, larger petal is split into three fringed lobes (instead of a single lobe) and have a green-tinge to the white petals (instead of being pure white). Enjoy the orchid. (Monday, 20 July 2015)

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