On-Campus Wildflower Identification

birchhillslive plant identification, may 4
Life goes by so fast and earlier this week I found myself back in the classroom for the Spring 2017 term. Specifically, this blog post will focus on my second lab experience of the semester: identifying plants in a woodlot on campus.

For today’s lab session, we started by reviewing how to use the Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide and what to document in our field notes and later wandered into a woodlot by a first-year residence and dispersed to identify all we could.

Below are photos of 6 plants I believe I correctly identified with the Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide.


Above, is a white Cut-leaved Toothwort (Dentaria laciniata).
This was a fairly easy identification using the guide, the hardest part was determining whether or not the leaves would be considered opposite-divided or opposite-toothed or lobed.


This was the most difficult identification I attempted in the lab today. A plant without flowers. In the end, I came to the conclusion that I believe these plants are Wild Madder (Galium mollugo).


Sadly, the photo makes this identification confirmation difficult. In the lab before we headed out to start identification in the field, we practiced on several different species and the Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) was one of them. I was originally torn between the Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) and the Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) until I paid more attention to the leaves of the plant.


This identification was more of a practice for me to ensure I could use the Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide properly. I already knew that this flower is a Red Trillium (Trillium erectum) so if I used the guide correctly, I would be brought to the correct page.


The Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides). The small violet-blueish flower featured in this photo was easy to identify, the issue for me was with myself. I actually used the guide and ended up in the correct spot, and overlooked the diagram and kept looking for the identification in the guide.


The last identification I participated in was difficult – and may not even be correct. After spending fifteen minutes going through my guide reviewing all of my options, I came to the conclusion that this is a Garden Currant (Ribes sativum). The difficulty with this identification was that I was missing the fact that this plant is a shrub and not a flower.

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