Flora and fauna of the Athens County area, and occasionally habitats outside Ohio. Subject matter will consist of both interpretive material and taxonomic issues in plant and animal identification.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mystery Plant Quiz

I suddenly found some time to post topics I wanted up long ago.  It's January, but why not wallow away the winter weather with a thought of warmer times. The Get Your Botany On blog does this all the time, so why not a little plant quiz...

The red fruit may remind you of something, and it's in the name, but this is a much larger shrub species.

Hints? Well it's not Blackberry, Cannabis, or Virginia Creeper, but it is a vine.

If you are a spring wildflower person, this one is easy.

This one maybe not as easy, a summer bloomer.

Upper and lower leaf variation. This one had me for the LONGEST time. I now find it easier by the leaves than by flower.

Here's the flower.

I was once told this and its relative were exotic. I now understand they are native. ah-choo!!

This one I still don't know. I've sent it out to several people, all thought something different. It's 3 inches tall, no leaves on the thin stem. No basal leaves that I could see, perhaps if anything, a small basal rosette of entire elongate leaves.

Highbush Cranberry= Viburnum opulus
Hops= Humulus lupulus
False Solomon's Seal= Smilacina racemosa
Horse-balm= Collinsonia canadensis
Small-flowered Leafcup= Polymnia canadensis
Giant Ragweed= Ambrosia trifida
unknown= Krigia maybe?


  1. Fun quiz, Dennis! The mystery one at the end has me intrigued. What kind of habitat did you find it in? I know Ohio's 3 Krigia's well and don't think it's any of them as the only 'common' one if Krigia biflora and I think it's safe to say this is not it. How you describe it's size and the solitary, small yellow bloom could be K. virginica however it's a sandy, dry and open-habitat species that's rather rare in Ohio and never been recorded for the SE section.

    My guess would be something in the Heiracium genus, even though nothing really comes to mind with the way you described the lack of leaves (specifically the seeming lack of basal ones), perhaps it is just a smaller, younger plant not fully mature or "typical".

    I would also throw the option of the Leontodon genus (L. autumnalis, L. hispidus) out there if it was in a more disturbed or urban setting.

  2. Andy, the unknown is from Youngstown, a metro park with a grass mowed lawn next to a river. It may have had small basal leaves that were entire. Mixed in with the grass, it was very hard to find anything.

  3. Which variety of Viburnum opulus was that?

  4. Never thought about that Scott. Because the place I shot it is chalk full of planted ornamentals, I suspect it's the Old World variety. In the wild, or in the general sense, americanum is pretty restricted to extreme NE Ohio. After reading what Voss in MI. Flora had to say, I just scratch my head and lump them together.

  5. What I could see of the leaves on your plant looked more to me like V. opulus var. opulus, but the fruit looked a little more like what I would expect for V. opulus var. americanum. Other than Voss, I'm not aware of authors that have had a difficult time separating the two. Maybe there's something weird going on in Michigan, but in Indiana they've always looked distinct to me. See http://nativeplantwildlifegarden.com/american-vs-european-high-bush-cranberry-viburnum/... be sure to look at my comment in the comments thread for some additional ways to tell the two apart.

  6. Got the info Scott, thanks. Should know better than try to work on things during office hours. Student interruptions are the norm. With 50 books behind me, I rarely look at one source. With limited time I grabbed Voss first and decided this will have to wait.

    Leaves were hairless I remember. Will have to start looking closer at glands.

  7. I'm guessing that most of what you'll find in Ohio will have saucer-shaped glands, unfotunately.