Monday, January 25, 2010

Name That Plant - An Answer

I recently posted the following photograph as a plant quiz...


Here is the uncropped image of this plant...


This is Solidago uliginosa (Bog Goldenrod), growing amongst Equisetum arvense, Aster umbellatus, Calamagrostis canadensis, Rubus pubescens, Polygonum sagittatum, and others. Justin suggested the possibility of Solidago speciosa, which as he noted grows in drier conditions. Solidago uliginosa has thicker textured leaves that have a longer length to width ratio than those of S. speciosa. The lower leaves of S. uliginosa are somewhat clasping the stem, but this character isn't obvious in the quiz photo.


Solidago uliginosa is a polymorphic species of eastern North America, where it grows in bogs, marshes, and wet woods (Semple & Cook 2006). These photographs were taken on August 18, 2009 in Superior, Wisconsin. Plants of this species that we saw in Wisconsin look somewhat different from those that I typically see in Indiana. In fact, the first time I saw it, I had to ask our local expert which Solidago it was. Individuals of this species that I see in northern Indiana have fewer stem leaves and inflorescences that are less dense.


Solidago is from the Latin solido, meaning “to make whole or heal,” a reference to the medicinal qualities of the genus; the specific epithet uliginosa means “of marshes (Wisplants 2010).



Semple, J.C. & R.E. Cook. 2006. Solidago. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 15+ vols. New York and Oxford. Vol. 20.

Wisplants (http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=SOLULI), accessed 25 January 2010.

18 comments:

ben said...

Equisetum arvense

Scott said...

Well, Equisetum arvense is one of the plants in the photo, but not the one I was quizzing on. The quiz plant is the large one in the center; but for fun, can you name other plants in the photo, too?

Mary said...

First thought is Solidago gigantea maybe amidst Rubus flagellaris and with Ben's Equistem.

Cdr said...

I agree that it does look like Solidago gigantea but I'm going with Aster umbellatus as my quiz answer. The 'plant community' looks familiar and I have a weird feeling I may have been to the site where the photo was taken which is influencing my answer.

Scott said...

Mary, you've certainly got the right idea, but neither of the species are correct.

Andrew, there is Aster umbellatus in the photo (in the top right corner between the two sticks), but the quiz plant is not Aster umbellatus. Your intuition about the site is correct...

Keith said...

Those leaves sure look smooth and glabrous like Aster laevis. Of course, that plant has leaf bases sessile and more or less auriculate-clasping, but I just checked the G & C description and they say the lower leaves are "tapering to a winged petiole and scarcely clasping." So I'm going with Smooth Aster, Aster laevis!

Tony said...

I am going to try and cheat and feed off of all the other attempts.

Its obviously an aster. given the associates in the picture and given that it from a site that both the commander and maddog have been both visited. I am going with aster borealis, Rush Aster.

The associates are right for the site we saw it at and I can remeber maddog being as giddy as a school girl when we found one in bloom.

Mary said...

Darn!
I almost said Aster umbellatus for that plant in the back, but I did not think I had good enough details with the photo!!

(yeh of course I can say that after it has been id'ed)

Wish I had I would have gotten at least one right!

Good Quiz Scott, you are getting lots of response.

I await the answer and go to my reference as Keith did and I should do!

I hope you all keep the quizes coming! Thanks

Scott said...

Nope... not Aster laevis or Aster borealis. The leaves are in fact smooth and glabrous, and I was "giddy as a school girl" when we saw Aster borealis.

Thanks for the comments, Mary, and for participating in the quizzes!

Scott said...

I guess I should even the playing field a bit and say that this photo was taken in Superior, Wisconsin, at a former alder/willow shrub-carr community that has been mostly cleared of shrubs and planted with Black Spruce and Tamarack; it is currently a sedge meadow.

Justin Thomas said...

I can't choose between Solidago speciosa and S. uliginosa. The habitat fits S. uliginosa while the morphology, to me, looks more like S. speciosa. Of course, I could be way off in both cases.

Scott said...

"Of course, I could be way off in both cases"... PLEASE... you're Justin Thomas. I don't think I've ever known you to be way off...

I'll post the answer tonight (hopefully I'll have time). There are a few hours left if anyone else wants to give it a guess.

Keith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cdr said...

I think JT has it with Solidago uliginosa - I definitely remember seeing up there and am currently kicking myself for not thinking of it as a candidate for the quiz answer.

If only I could drown my sorrows in a cold pint of Demon Slayer from the Thirsty Pagan!

Tony said...

ummm deamon slayer does sound good right about now.

Keith said...

Wow, 15 comments. That's got to be a record!

Nice quiz and nice photos, Scott.

Keith said...

What does Scott look like when he's giddy as a schoolgirl? I'll bet it's the opposite of how he looked after falling through the ice on a wetland last weekend. Admittedly, I became giddy when I saw that. He had climbed out by the time I readied the camera, so I asked him to get back in for a picture, but he wouldn't cooperate.

Scott said...

Thanks Keith... and thanks for letting everyone know about my swamp foot.