September 19, 2023

Centaurea (Knapweeds) in New Jersey

Note: these are my notes, they may well be incorrect.

Knapweeds are best identified from a side-view of the flowerhead, which shows clear details of the phyllary bracts (green or brown overlapping "scales" at the base of the "flower")

Most common in central NJ (my area) is C. nigrescens, Tyrol knapweed. Each bract has a larger green triangle at the base, with a smaller, dark (black or brown) roundish disk on the end, which is fringed with 5-8 bristles on each side. The green triangle never has bristles outside of the disk. The disc does not obscure your view of other bracts.

Most common in NJ as a whole (and especially in the coastal plains) is C. stoebe, spotted knapweed. Each bract is triangular shaped with length-wise stripes and a dark border on the upper third. This dark border has bristles. Also, the basal leaves are very divided, moreso than in other Centaurea species.

Batchelor's buttons, C. cyanus supposedly is a common escape in NJ. It has bright blue flowers with very broad ray flowers, a very different color from any other of the knapweed species.

Brown knapweed, C. jacea has larger flowerheads than either Tyrol or spotted knapweed. It's bracts are brown and papery, not triangular-shaped. They can be somewhat bristly at the base of the phyllary, but near the "flower" they are not and are often notched. They are not green, not striped, and not narrow.

Black knapweed, C. nigra, is not often seen in NJ. It's bracts seem to be all fringe. They are very narrowly triangular and obscure the bases of the other bracts. They have more than 8 bristles on a side.

There is a hybrid of brown and black knapweed, Monckton's knapweed, C. moncktonia. It has strongly fringed lower bracts and papery, notched upper bracts. I believe this is it here:

Finally, there is the garden flower, perennial coneflower, c. montana. It has blue ray flowers that are extremely narrow and widely spaced. I don't believe it escapes:

Posted on September 19, 2023 08:56 PM by srall srall | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Rubus in New Jersey

(these are just my notes; I am not an expert)
In New Jersey we have:

Wineberry (R. phoenicolasias): fuzzy red stems

Black raspberry (R. occidentalis): blue-gray, round stems

(Red raspberry) (R. idaeus) (mostly north of NJ): blue-green or red-green, round stems

Cut-leaved blackberry (R. laciniatus): deeply lobed leaflets

Sand blackberry (R. cunefolius): wedge-shaped, smallish leaflets

Purple flowering raspberry (R. odoratus): leaves not divided, currant or maple-like

Common dewberry (R. flagellaris): trailing with prickles on stems, dull leaves

Swamp dewberry (R. hispidus): trailing with bristles and some prickles on stems, shiny leaves

Common blackberry (R. allegheniensis): fluted stems, flowers in clusters of more than 12, in a raceme, glandular flowerstalks

Pennsylvania blackberry (R. pensylvanicus): fluted stems, flowers in clusters of fewer than 12, not very glandular, not always a raceme and if so a short one.

note: in separating the raspberries: R. idaeus has pinnately compound leaves (you'll see this on the new growth)
while R. occidentilis is virtually always trifoliate.

And obviously the fruit of R. idaeus is red and of R. occidentalis is black.

Posted on September 19, 2023 05:32 PM by srall srall | 5 comments | Leave a comment

April 07, 2022

Opuntia in New Jersey

Opuntia humifusa is the more common cactus on the dunes in NJ.

  • Its flowers have no red in the center. It never has any spines.
  • Its areoles (the dark spots) should not have much in the way of obvious spined hairs (but this is subtle)

If it has red in the flowers or any spines it is probably O. caespitosa.

  • This is the much less common cactus of the Jersey Shore.
  • Pretty much all cacti with spines are this, but it can also completely lack spines.
  • It has flowers with red centers (always).
  • Its areoles (the dark spots) have lots of spiny hairs that should be relatively easy to see.

Note that there are two weird species of Opuntia on Long Beach Island and Brigantine.

  • O. durmmundii has tiny pieces to it
  • O. lindheimeri is very upright not sprawling as the main two

O. humifusa (yellow flowers):

O. caespitosa (I think) (spines):

Posted on April 07, 2022 07:23 PM by srall srall | 3 comments | Leave a comment

January 01, 2021

Ligustrum spp. (Privets) in New Jersey

I am not an expert, this is just what I've learned so far:

There are four privets in New Jersey: border (L. obtusifolium), common (L. vulgare), Chinese (L. sinense) and California (L. ovalifolium).

In central NJ border privet is vastly more commonly escaped than all the others put together.

California privet has shiny twigs (branchlets) that are entirely smooth. All others have dull twigs.

Border privet is either deciduous or semi-evergreen. All the others are evergreen or semi-evergreen, so a privet with no leaves in late winter is border.

-California privet always has pointed leaves.
-Border privet never has pointed leaves (they are blunt, rounded or indented)
-Chinese and common can have either pointed or rounded leaves.

Common privet only has flowers/fruit at the ends of branches, never in the axils. All others can have axillary clusters of flowers/fruit.

All privets can have flower/fruit clusters around 2 inches long. Only border privet can have clusters smaller than that. Chinese and California clusters can be up to 4 inches long.

-Border and Chinese privets have dull, blue fruit (because of a bloom on the fruit). Every now and then this gets rubbed off, leaving shiny black fruit, but it's rare, and generally still present toward the center of the cluster.
-Common and California privets have shiny, black fruit.

Chinese privet has stems of individual flowers and fruit longer than 1/2 inch. All other privets have short stems

-Chinese and common privet have flowers with petal lobes about equal to length of tube. Chinese also has reproductive parts sticking out well beyond the tube (common does not).
-California and border privet have flowers with petal lobes much shorter than their very long tubes. (but California has shiny twigs and border has dull and hairy)

Border (and only border) can have 1-inch, pointed, somewhat thorn-like branchlets. They are not always present.


To prove (or disprove) you have border privet:

-when flowers are present: long tubes on flowers, twigs not shiny

-when fruit is present: fruit is dull blue, not shiny black; there are any fruit clusters under 2 inches, also some clusters not terminal; stems of each fruit under 1/2 inch; whole cluster under 2.5 inches; stems of fruit hairy.

-when only leaves present: leaves are not pointed, small twigs are not shiny, leaves are not thick and leathery. (This will not be enough to prove you have it, it only definitively rules out California). Also, a very close shot of hairs on small twigs will show them to be of very differing lengths (that would prove L. obtusifolium). Border privet is the only one with 1-inch, pointed, somewhat thorn-like branchlets, if you see these, it's definitive.

-when no leaves present (and healthy buds present): the only privet that will lose all its leaves in winter (and it doesn't always) is border. To prove it's not some other genus, make sure the buds and branches are opposite, the bark is not shreddy, no buds are more than 3 times larger than the smallest buds, no buds are more than 2 times longer than wide, no buds are red. Look for 1-inch, somewhat thorn like side branches (this is pretty much the only shrub with opposite buds and "thorns", if these are present).

Posted on January 01, 2021 02:02 PM by srall srall | 4 comments | Leave a comment

November 27, 2020

Vaccinium sp. and Gaylussacia sp. in Central New Jersey

I am not very experienced with unusual blueberries. This does not include Pine Barrens species. I am not an expert, this is what I've learned so far:

The common highbush blueberry in central NJ is northern highbush blueberrry (V. corymbosum). It is generally taller than an adult, has spindly branches that can be green or red (or brown) and conspicuous red buds in winter. It has pale pink or white flowers and blue fruit, and the leaves do not have any resin dots but are minutely fringed on the edges. This is the blueberry sold in grocery stores. It often has blueberry stem galls, with a walnut-sized, lima-bean shaped growth that makes the stem bend at 90 degrees. Highbush blueberry grows in damp soil.

The common short blueberry in the Watchungs is Blue Ridge blueberry (V. pallidum). It is often only knee high, not above waist high, grows in dry soil, has very narrow, often green branches that are not smooth, and has leaves that often lack teeth. The fruit are small and dark blue.

The only other short blueberry is common lowbush (V. angustifolium). It always has teeth on the leaf edges and is never lighter below. Otherwise very like V. pallidum. Note that taller berry trees can be short when young or growing in adverse conditions.

Tall or tallish blueberries and huckleberries in order of how common they are here:
-northern highbush blueberry (V. corymbosum)
-black huckleberry (G. baccata)
-deerberry (V. stamineum)
-dangleberry (G. frondosa)

How to separate the tall species:

-narrow (longer than wide) and white or pale pink: highbush
-narrow (longer than wide) and dark pink/red: huckleberry
-broad (wider than long), white, but still bell shaped, narrowed near tip: dangleberry
-broad (wider than long), white, not bell shaped, spreading lobes: deerberry

-stem not much longer than fruit, blue: highbush
-stem not much longer than fruit, black: huckleberry
-stem much longer than fruit, fruit blue: dangleberry
-stem much longer than fruit, an odd bluish green: deerberry

-wide or narrow, with yellowish, sticky glands on both sides, no teeth: dangleberry
-not narrow, with yellowish, sticky glands only below, no teeth: huckleberry
-not narrow, no glands, often widest below middle, with ciliate edge, can be toothed: highbush
-not narrow, no glands, generally widest at middle, no teeth, no cilia on edge: deerberry

-red and round: highbush
-red and sharp: huckleberry
-not red, but round: deerberry
-not red, but pointed: dangleberry.

Posted on November 27, 2020 03:42 PM by srall srall | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 22, 2020

Persicaria sp. in New Jersey

I am not an expert. This is what I've learned so far:

Smartweeds have flowers in a cluster at the end of the stem.

If the flowers are all single or in little clusters where the leaves attach to the stem you have a knotweed instead (Polygonum sp.).

Smartweeds have sheaths (ocreae) where the leaves meet the stem, and the upper edge of this sheath often has a fringe of hairs (cilia) growing up from it along the stem. These are very important in deciding which species you have.

Distinctive Species:

Jumpseed (P. virginiana)
Huge rounded leaves (the size and shape of a large lemon, though flat (obviously)). Marked with a dark triangle that is only on the center half of the leaf, not near either edge. This dark mark (chevron) fades by the time the plant flowers. Flowers are very spread out along a huge stem, at least a foot long. Flowers are white or green. Soon replaced by green fruit.

Asian Jumpseed (P. filiformis)
Same as Jumpseed but with dark marks extending to the edges of the leaf, still present when flowering, and flowers dark pink.

Halberd-leaved Tearthumb (P. arifolia)
Leaves large and triangular with the bottom corners very elongated and pointed away from the stem. The whole leaf about 4 inches long. The plant is covered in backward-curved prickles that can tear skin and cling to clothing. Flowers are only about a half a dozen, light or dark pink or white, in a loose cluster at the ends of long, bristly stems. This plant only grows in wet soil.

Arrow-leaved Tearthumb (P. sagittata)
Like the above, this plant is covered in backward-facing bristles that can tear skin and stick to clothing. The leaves, however, are basically long oval shaped, but with a triangular notch where the stem attaches to the leaf, leaving two very sharp, downward-facing lower lobes. The flowers are in roughly marble-shaped-and-sized clusters in white or pink. This plant only grows in wet soil and often forms very large colonies.

Mile-a-Minute: (P. perfoliata)
Leaves like a rounded equilateral triangle, with the stem attached just in from one side. Plant is a vine, climbing over shrubs and other vegetation thanks to backward-facing bristles that can tear skin and cling to clothing. Flowers are green in a tight cluster the size and shape of a grape, which turn into sky blue fruit, and seem to grow out of the center of a round leaf. This is an aggressive weed and does not need wet soil.

Nepal Smartweed (P. nepalensis)
Leaves like an elongated triangle but with the stem attached at the edge of the smallest side. The leaves are sessile (they don't have much of a stem). Plant is not bristly. flowers grow in a small, round cluster about the size and shape of a marble, out of the base of the uppermost leaf. Flowers are white. Leaves often have a red edge. Not found in NJ (that I know of) but present in several spots in upstate New York.

Most Common New Jersey species:

Low Smartweed (P. longiseta)
Dark pink, narrow, dense clusters of flowers max about 2 inches long, not nodding, with long hairs among the flowers. The clusters have the overall width of maybe a section of pipe cleaner. The lower part of the cluster may be somewhat interrupted. Sheaths have fringe that is nearly as long as the sheath itself. Grows in disturbed areas and does not need to be wet.
Also has smooth stems, smooth leaves, leaf stems under 1/4 inch, no hair on edges of leaves, largest leaves generally under 2 1/2 inches. Can have dark marks on leaves but these are not highly contrasting with surrounding leaf. Some hair on sheaths themselves but it is flat to the sheath, not sticking out. Usually does not form large patches of plants. (See also Lady's thumb, swamp, and dense-flowered smartweeds below).

Dotted Smartweed (P. punctata)
Interrupted, narrow clusters of white or green flowers, usually held upright or sometimes drooping, clusters usually not more than 3 inches long. Sheaths have fringe about half the length of the sheath.
Also has stems either smooth or with short hairs growing along the stem (not sticking straight out), Leaves can also be either smooth or with hairs pressed to the surface of the leaf. leaves have a stalk about 1/2 inch or less, and largest leaves are about 5 inches. Base of leaf is tapered to stem. If you look very closely at individual flowers you can see dots or bumps on them. (This is by no means the only species with these dots.) Must grow in wet soil. Often in large patches of several plants together. (see also waterpepper, swamp, dense-flowered, and Carey's smartweeds below)

Pinkweed (P. pensylvanica)
Broad, tight clusters of light pink flowers. Flowers a little larger than other smartweeds. Whole cluster generally not more than 1 1/2 inches long. Base of cluster never tapered. Sheaths never have any fringe. Upper stem is usually not smooth, but also does not have hairs sticking straight out from the stem.
Also can have white or darker pink flowers but this is rare. Leaves are large, the big ones are about 5 inches long and they have definite stems, about 1/2 inch long. Must grow in wet soil and often forms large colonies. (see also small and water smartweeds below)

Pale Smartweed (P. lapathifolia)
Very large smartweed with dense, drooping clusters of pale flowers. Clusters generally up to about 4 inches long. Sheaths never have any fringe. Stems noticeably broader than other smartweeds, commonly up to 1/2 inch wide at sheaths.
Also can have white or darker pink flowers. Leaves can be hairy near the margins or along the center vein. Larger leaves can be up to about 8 inches long and are often 6 inches. Leaves often have a dark triangular mark (chevron) in the center. Leaves have a definite but short stem, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Sheaths are large, up to about 1 inch long, and can have stripes.This plant does not have to grow in wet soil but usually does. It is annual and easy to pull out of the soil. (see also Carey's, stout and Far Eastern smartweeds and kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate below)

Other New Jersey Smartweeds

Lady's Thumb (P. maculosa)
Similar to low smartweed, but has tight, narrow clusters (not interrupted at the bottom of the cluster) of flowers that are both light and dark pink in the same cluster, with flowers that open wide, and without any hairs in the flower cluster. The sheaths have fringe that is much less than half as long as the sheaths themselves. The leaves usually have a dark triangular mark on them.
Also has longer leaf stems than low smartweed (over 1/4 inch), with larger leaves (over 2 1/2 inches for the largest). The leaves can have some hair, but it would be flattened to the leaf surface, or they can be smooth as in low smartweed. They are not linear but rather sort of long ovals as in most smartweeds. Does not grow in standing water, does not generally need wet soil, and does not usually grow in colonies.

Swamp Smartweed (P. hydropiperoides)
Similar to low smartweed, but with narrow, dense clusters of pale pink or white flowers always held upright (though they can be slightly bent). Clusters up to about 2 inches long. Grows in colonies in very wet soil, often in standing water.
Also has leaves fairly long and narrow for a smartweed, but not grasslike. Sheaths have a long fringe, nearly as long as the sheath, but there are no hairs among the flowers. Flower clusters appear tapered at the tip more often than in most other smartweeds. Flower clusters often interrupted toward base.

Dense-Flowered Smartweed (P. glabra)
Similar to low smartweed but with longer, very dense, narrow clusters of dark pink flowers, never interrupted, no long hairs among flowers, clusters about 2 inches long, or more. Leaves never with dark marks. Fringe on sheaths present but much shorter than sheath. Grows in wet soil. Uncommon.

Waterpepper (P. hydropiper)
Similar to dotted smartweed but with very long, drooping, narrow, highly interrupted clusters of often dark pink flowers (though it can be pale pink or white). Clusters are often more than 6 inches long. The lowermost flowers actually grow at the bases of the uppermost (very small) leaves and are surrounded by the sheaths. This is a fairly common and subtly pretty smartweed of wet areas.
Also even the largest leaves are generally under 3 inches, and the leaf bases are not as tapered as in most smartweeds. Stems and leaves never have any hair at all. Stems are often red (but not always) Like dotted smartweed, if you look very closely at the flowers you will see they are covered in dots or bumps. The sheaths have short fringe, well less than half as long as the sheath.

Carey's Smartweed (P. careyi)
A rather large smartweed with drooping clusters of flowers in white or light pink, but covered all over with extremely long hair that sticks straight out from the stem, unlike any other smartweed (though kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate has similar hair on sheathes only). Grows in wet areas. Uncommon

Small Smartweed (P. glabra)
Similar to pinkweed, but with very narrow leaves about three inches long but only 1/2 inch wide, with a pale midvein, rather like crocus leaves, or small blades of grass, but distributed along the stem as in other smartweeds. Flowers in a fairly dense, wide cluster but can be looser, narrower, and longer than pinkweed, and flower color can be darker or lighter than pinkweed. Sheaths have short fringe. Does not have to grow in wet soil. Uncommon.

Water Smartweed (P. amphibia)
Similar to pinkweed but growing in standing water. Leaves often floating on surface of water but can be freestanding as in typical smartweeds. Flower cluster very dense, up to 2 inches long, deep pink, a striking color, but lighter pink where the flowers are open. Flowers open in a ring around the cluster at a time and open flowers are much wider than buds, making the cluster look much broader in one section than the rest. Cluster does not droop though may be slightly bent. Stems are generally a little hairy but the hairs are pressed against the stem. Stems are often striped. Sheaths have no fringe. Leaves have short hair, pressed to the surface of the leaf, with long stems up to 2 1/2 inches. Leaves are large, 6 to 7 inches or so. Often forms large colonies in standing water. Must have wet soil. Uncommon but striking.

Stout Smartweed (P. robustior)
Similar to pale smartweed but sheathes have short fringe. A very large smartweed. Sheaths are often swollen at the base (but this is not the only species with swollen sheaths). Flowers generally white or pale pink in dense, long, drooping clusters. Leaves never have dark marks. This is perennial, so difficult to pull out of the ground, unlike the annual pale smartweed. The flowers are paler than in Far Eastern smartweed, but it is very dificult to separate these two with confidence. Does not need wet soil.

Far Eastern Smartweed (P. extremiorientalis)
Similar to pale and stout smartweeds. Sheaths have short fringe. A very large smartweed. Stems are often somewhat narrower than the other two large species. Flowers generally a mixture of dark and light pink in the same long, dense, drooping cluster. Leaves often have dark marks. Stems are hairy especially between leaves. Flower spikes often kinked. Very difficult to separate with confidence from stout smartweed. Does not need wet soil.

Kiss-Me-Over-the-Garden-Gate (P. orientalis)
A garden escape. A very large smartweed with dangling, drooping clusters of dark pink flowers. Clusters about two inches long. Sheaths are green (rather than papery and brown in most smartweeds) and where other smartweeds would have a fringe, they have a green collar, sticking out at a 90-degree angle from the stem. Sheaths are also very hairy, with hair that likewise sticks straight out from the stem. Does not need wet soil. Uncommon.

Posted on November 22, 2020 04:21 PM by srall srall | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Alnus sp. in New Jersey

I am not an expert. This is what I've learned so far:

There are three Alders (Alnus sp. ) in NJ: Smooth (A. serrulata), Speckled / Gray (A. incana, used to be A. rugosa), and European (A. glutinosa)

Alders have woody "cones" for fruit that are generally present all year round. Any tree with cones and broad leaves is generally an alder.

Alders have twice-serrated leaves, that are alternate

Alders have buds that are on stalks (and are alternate)

Alders have long male catkins and very small (smaller than a pencil eraser) female catkins.

Alders live in damp soil near water.

Alders are usually multi-trunked shrubs.

Species (in NJ):

An alder that is a tree, or more than about 20 feet high is European alder.

An alder with blunt-tipped leaves, or especially with any leaves where the tip is indented, is European alder.

An alder in the winter with female catkin cluster clearly drooping below the main branch is speckled alder.

An alder with leaves whose bases are tapered into the stem rather than blunt which also has a taper at the tip end is smooth alder.

An alder with cones upright, not drooping below the stem is smooth alder.

An alder with single teeth (not double toothed) is smooth alder.

An alder with orange hair on veins below is European.

Smooth alder:

Leaves are oval, tapered at both ends, single or double toothed, usually not hairy

Female catkins are upright. Sometimes cones are upright. Sometimes cones droop. Cones have fat and short stems.

Bark is only slightly speckled on twigs, pretty much not speckled on trunks.

Speckled alder:

Leaves are tapered at tip, fairly straight across near stem. Usually very obviously double toothed. Sometimes hairy below.

Female catkins are not upright, either straight out or drooping. Cones have thick, short stems.

Bark nearly always white speckled (short horizontal lines) on twigs and on trunks.

Buds are rounder, fatter than other alders.

European alder:

Leaves blunt or even indented at tip. Not long tapered at tip. Leaves quite wide for length sometimes nearly as wide as long. Sometimes leaf tip indented. Generally very obviously double toothed. Underside of leaf has orange hair on veins. Leaves are shiny above.

Female catkins are upright or straight out from branch, but not obviously drooping. Cones usually dangle. Cones are on long and thin stems.

Bark not generally light speckled on trunks, sometimes dark speckled, sometimes broken into small plates. Bark on twigs can have some speckles but generally not many.

Posted on November 22, 2020 04:19 PM by srall srall | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Cardamine sp. in New Jersey

I am not an expert. This is what I've learned so far:

There are several groups of Cardamine species in NJ.

Most common are the weeds of lawns and disturbed areas, the bittercresses (hairy, narrow-leaved, and nursery)

Next are the woodland spring ephemerals, the toothworts, of which by far the most common is cut leaved toothwort.

Finally there are the much larger wetland meadow species, cuckoo flower and bulbous bittercress.

There are a number of very rare species that are similar to each of these and which ought to be present in NJ.

Hairy Bittercress: small plant with lots of small leaflets always with a basal rosette of many leaves when it is flowering. The end leaflet is round and somewhat lobed. The fruit are held close to the stem, facing upward, NOT spreading at a 45 degree angle. Flowers extremely early in spring and in late winter, and continues for many months. Rosette is present all winter. The stems of the basal leaves are hairy, and the leaves have up to 4 pairs of leaflets.

Narrow-Leaved Bittercress: small plant with lots of small, narrow leaflets in a basal rosette and on the flowerstalk. Flowers are tiny and greenish, with minute petals that fall quickly. This plant flowers much later than hairy bittercress, in late spring. Basal rosette is present in winter. Up to 9 pairs of leaflets on the stem leaves.

Nursery Bittercress: very similar to hairy bittercress, but with somewhat wider and more lobed end leaflet, more likely to bloom in the fall, holds fruit at about a 45 degree angle from the stalk. It will have basal leaves present when flowering

Pennsylvania Bittercress: very similar to hairy bittercress, but without any basal leaves when flowering, and with fruit held at a 45 degree angle to the stem. often grows in water. Stems are thicker and whole plant somewhat succulent. leaves and leaflets tend to be decurrant (extending downward) on the stems

Wavy Bittercress: flowers are similar to hairy bittercress, much larger petals than narrow-leaved. Leaves intermediate between narrow-leaved and hairy. fruit nearly at a 90 degree angle to the stem. leaflets tend to be fairly broad. up to 6 pairs of leaflets.

Sand Bittercress: flowers are similar to hairy bittercress. Leaves are also similar, but with smaller leaflets and very large numbers of leaflets. The fruit is held away from the stem at the base, then curved upward. Flower stems are hairy, leaf stems are not. leaflets very narrow

Note: If you see a plant that looks much like these but has unlobed basal leaves it's probably Arabdopsis thalani, mouse ear cress. Other possible species are smooth rockcress and lyre leaved rockcress. The rockcresses have entire leaves (but often lobed) and flower clusters all along an inch or more of the stem. Also note that Lepidium species, shepherd's purse, and pennycresses look similar but none have elongated fruit.

Cut-Leaved Toothwort: all leaves, both on the ground and on the stem, with very narrow lobes

Two-Leaved Toothwort: all leaves both on the ground and on the stem, broad, toothed or with rounded lobes, generally with three main lobes to the leaf, not at all narrowed.

Slender Toothwort: significant contrast between broad lobed leaves on ground and small, very narrowly lobed leaves on the stem. If the basal leaves are absent difficult to tell from the vastly more common cut-leaved. If it has not flowered yet, it has sharper teeth, but is otherwise hard to tell from two-leaved.

Large Toothwort: supposedly present but I've never seen anyone find it. similar to two leaved but the central lobe or leaflet of the leaves is narrow, not as broad as on two-leaved, still broader than cut-leaved.

Note: wood anemone (Anemenoides nemerosa) looks a little like these but with single large flowers. Rue anemone is somewhat simliar, but with small, round leaflets in a whorl under the flowers. dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius) is somewhat similar but always with three leaves (of 3 or 5 leaflets) in a whorl and flowers in a tight whorl as well. Starflower (Lysimachia borealis) has simple leaves in a whorl below generally a single flower.

Cuckooflower: this much larger plant has flowers each about the size of a fingernail or larger. Usually they have a pink tinge but not always. The plants are about knee high. The stem leaves of cuckooflower have lots of tiny, narrow leaflets in pairs

Bulbous Cress: this is similar to Cuckooflower, though the flowers tend to be droopier and not at all pink. The stem leaves are very distinctive: wedge shaped with a few teeth, but entire, not divided as in cuckooflower. stem with appressed hairs. This grows in very wet open areas.

Purple Cress: much less common, similar to bulbous cress but with drooping purplish flowers and stem hairy or smooth but not with appressed hairs.

White Cuckooflower should not be present in NJ but is in the Hudson Valley and is very like cuckooflower but white or yellowish never pinkish.

Note that rockcresses (smooth, lyreleaved) look a lot like these (especially like bulbous cress) but have entire basal leaves (bulbous cress has a large terminal lobe and a few lateral lobes). The extremely rare American (or round leaved) bittercress looks similar to cuckooflower but is only a few inches tall and creeping, without the divided stem leaves.

Posted on November 22, 2020 04:19 PM by srall srall | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Tick-Trefoils in New Jersey

I am not an expert; this is what I've learned so far:

Tick trefoils are pink flowers in loose clusters in mid to late summer with three parted leaves and fruit that are chains of flat semi-circles which are clingy.

In New Jersey there are two genera of tick trefoils: Hylodesmum and Desmodium.

Hylodesmum is easy to separate. The three parted leaves are in a whorl at the base of the plant. In naked flowered tick trefoil (H. nudiflorum) the flowers are on a separate stem from the leaves, in pointed leaved tick trefoil (H. glutinosum) the flower stalk arises from the center of the whorl of leaves. The leaves are also more long-pointed.

Desmodium is more complicated. The important points are leaflet shape and size, hairyness, length of stem on leaves, and number and shape of fruit (loments) in the chain.

Tall plants (more than 10 inches), Narrow leaves, 1 inch stem:

Probably the most common species is panicled tick trefoil, (D. paniculatum), the leaflets are very narrow, about three inches long by half an inch wide (though that can vary). They have stems about one inch long, they are not particularly hairy (though the leaf underside has appressed hairs). Their veins are not very obviously netted. There are 2-6 fruits in a chain.

Tall plants, sessile leaves, more than 20 flowers in a cluster which tapers at the end:

Showy tick trefoil (D. canadense) is similar to panicled, but with leaves not so linear, with extremely short stems, and massively more flowers. The tapered tip to the flower cluster is distinctive. They have 2-5 fairly round fruits in a chain.

The following species I'm not as familiar with:

Tall plants, leaves not narrow, leaf stems about 1 inch, leaflets very pointed at tip.

Toothed tick trefoil, D. cuspidatum is not very common in NJ but present, has triangular fruit, and stipules at the base of the leaf stalk that don't fall off. It's most distinctive feature is the long tips on the leaflets.

Tall plants, the fruit semicircular, long stems on leaves, the leaflet stems all the same length, not hairy

Maryland tick trefoil, (D. marilandicum) is pretty smooth all over. the fruit are semicircular rather than rounded and there are about 2-3 in a chain.

Tall plants, leaves not narrow, not extremely hairy, leaf underside has hooked hairs

Hoary tick trefoil, (D. canescens) has larger leaflets and broader. The stem is about an inch. The stipules at the base of the leaflets are oval and tend to stay all season. The fruit are triangular and 4-6 in a chain.

Tall plants, leaves not narrow, stem quite hairy, triangle fruit

Perplexed tick trefoil (D. perplexum) has long, straight hairs all over all the stems and leaf stems but otherwise looks like other tick trefoils. Fruits are triangular. Stipules at base of leaves tend to fall off. leaflet tips often pointed but not extremely so.

Tall plants, leaves not huge, leaflets very oval, end leaflet much larger with longer stalk than side ones

Stiff tick trefoil (D. obtusum) has oval leaflets which are thick and dark green. The side leaflets are sessile, the whole leaf does not have a long stem. The end leaflet is nearly twice as big as the side ones and tends to bend over backward or be off at a different angle than the rest of the leaf on a very distinct stem of at least a cm. Fruit are semicircles with 2 or 3 in a chain.

Tall plants, leaflets under 1.5 inches.

Little leaf tick trefoil (D. ciliare) has leaflets all about the same size, the side ones sessile, the end with a bit of a stem, leaflets thick and often folded along the center vein. whole leaf is generally under 2 inches long. Fruit semi-circular, 2-3 in a chain.

Trailing plants, round leaflets

Roundleaf tick trefoil (D. rotundifolium) trails along the ground and looks most like a clover of all the tick trefoils. It has round leaflets about an inch or a bit more long, the side ones sessile and sometimes almost heart shaped at the base, the end one on a bit of a stem and slightly larger.

When looking at tick trefoils also rule out bush clovers (clustered flowers), sweet clovers (smaller, narrow leaves, flowers not pink), and hog peanut (vine).

Posted on November 22, 2020 04:18 PM by srall srall | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Plants with Vaguely Oval (or Triangluar), Entire Leaves in Ponds, in New Jersey

I am not an expert. This is what I've learned so far:

Roughly from larger to smaller:

-Arrow arum, Peltandra virginica, has triangular leaves with main veins along the middle to each point of the triangle.
-Broad leaved arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) has curving parallel veins in three bunches, aiming toward each point but without a much larger central vein (as in arrow arum)
-Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) has veins almost not visible and lower lobes much smaller than in either of the above. It also nearly always has flowers all summer.
-Water-plantain (Alisma sp.) has leaves nearly oval, or with slight bottom lobes, one central vein and fine veins mostly straight from central. A. subcordatum has smaller flowers and fruit than A. triviale but generally you will not be able to separate the two in the field. A. subcordatum is more common here.
-Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) generally grows in mud rather than water and has much larger leaves, in clusters, with heart-shaped bases and secondary veins curving to follow the shape of the leaf.
-Spatterdock (Nuphar advena) also holds its large leaves above the water as in those above, they are larger in spatterdock and somewhat rounder, with the veins at nearly a 90-degree angle to the midvein of the leaf, over nearly the whole surface.
-A "spatterdock" with leaves all floating and the bottom lobes (at the notch) overlapping one another is variegated pond-lily (Nuphar variegata).
-American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is rare but present in the area, has the largest leaves of all, holds them out of the water. They are entirely round (no notch) with the stem right in the center as an umbrella. Pale yellow flowers. Same thing with pink flowers is the planted sacred lotus (Nelumbo lucifera).

All of which have larger leaves than the following:

-Fragrant white waterlily (Nymphaea odorata) has floating basically round leaves with a notch, much like "Pac-man".
-Wild Calla (Calla palustris) has round leaves with a notch and a definite point, about 4 inches across, held above the water, with not very obvious veins that diverge from the midvein and curve to follow the edge of the leaf, a lot like a small and rounder pickerelweed.
-Common Water-hyacinth (Pontederia crassipes) has kidney shaped leaves with veins very curved and following the edges of the leaves, held out of the water, with a huge, swollen node in the leaf stem right at water level. This is not that.
-Kidney leaved mud-plantain (Heteranthera reniformis) has kidney shaped leaves somewhat above water level, only up to 3 inches across (if that) with wide stems but no swollen nodes. The leaves are often wider than long and the notch between the basal lobes is fairly wide and U-shaped.
-Little floatingheart (Nymphoides cordata) has 2-inch, heartshaped leaves, usually with a pointed tip and a fairly wide v-shaped notch. The not very prominent veins seem to spread in every direction from the point where the stem is attached.
-European frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) is usually not found in NJ, has round, heart-shaped leaves, with a very narrow notch, about 2-inces and floating..
-American frogbit (Limnobium spongia) is also not usually found in NJ, and has pointed heart-shaped, floating leaves about 2 inches wide and generally longer than wide, with a narrow notch.

-Water shield (Brasenia schreberi) has floating, oval leaves about 2-3 inches long with the stem attached to the center.
-Water fringe (Nympoides peltata) is also not generally in NJ. It has floating, oval leaves about 2-3 inches with a closed notch and pointed tip, and small yellow flowers.

-Pondweeds (Potamogeton sp.) can also have floating oval leaves about 5 inches long by 1 inch wide.

-Southern floating hearts (Nymphoides aquatica) Are well south of New Jersey andhave 2-inch floating heart shaped leaves.

Other water plants:

-Water chestnut (Trapa natans) has diamond shaped leaves with ruffly teeth on two sides and they grow in very round clusters floating in the water. roughly 2 inches across.
-Water pennywort (Hydrocotile sp.) has 1 to 2 inch round leaves either with a notch or with stem in center of leaf, and with very definitely crenate lobes all around it (maybe 8 lobes per leaf).
-Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) has wedge shaped leaves in clusters like a green flower, each leaf with veins parallel and straight and all from bottom to tip of leaf.

Posted on November 22, 2020 04:16 PM by srall srall | 0 comments | Leave a comment