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Please help with identification  RSS feed

 
Ryan Absher
Posts: 28
Location: Northeast Alabama, Zone 7a
1
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I was walking with my wife today, showing her how to identify the trees on our land.
We found several plants that I couldn't identify, and we were wondering if anyone here could help.
I tried finding them through google, but I guess I couldn't describe them well enough.
I have seen these most of my life, but until I found permaculture, I simply identified them all as "weeds"...

1)


2)


3)


4)

 
Deb Stephens
Posts: 395
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
23
books dog food preservation forest garden goat trees
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I'm not sure what #1 is. It looks like a tiny maple tree, but coming from a rosette like that, it makes me think it must be some sort of wild lettuce. I will do some research and see what I come up with.
#2 is some kind of lespedeza -- the photo is not clear enough for species ID.
#3 is sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis) I believe.
#4 looks very familiar and I am sure I will remember what it is later, but right now I am drawing a blank.

Hope that helps!
 
Donovan Wentworth
Posts: 14
Location: Michigan - Zone 6a-5b
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I'm pretty sure Deb is right that #3 is sweet clover. Sometimes white sweet clover is lumped in with M. officinalis, other times it's considered separate and called M. albus or M. alba. Here are some good pictures of M. albus if it helps you make a positive ID. The University of Michigan Herbarium says that it's an Old World species that is widely cultivated as a forage plant. It is attractive to bees and is "characteristic of recently disturbed places in dry, open, often calcareous ground, such as sand dunes, prairies, and roadsides, as well as fields, railroads, and shores".

MSU lists it as an invasive species in Michigan.

I think that #4 looks a lot like Lespedeza of some sort, actually. If you look up L. procumbens or L. repens (trailing lespedeza and creeping bush clover), you'll see how the leaves are really similar. Lespedeza species seem to hybridize a lot too, so that plant might not fit neatly into one species or another. Is that plant creeping on the ground? I can't really tell from the picture but it kind of looks like it is.

I don't really know about #2. I think I've seen it here in Michigan before, but it doesn't look like any of the Lespedeza species that the University of Michigan lists as being present in the state except maybe L. cuneata. #1 has me totally stumped.

EDIT: The more I look at it, the more I think #2 is L. cuneata (Chinese bushclover).
 
Donovan Wentworth
Posts: 14
Location: Michigan - Zone 6a-5b
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Since we pretty much know that third one is M. officinalis/albus, here's an interesting compilation of the ways Native Americans used that plant. Besides forage, it's reportedly an effective bed bug repellant and cold remedy, and it smells nice to boot
 
Ryan Absher
Posts: 28
Location: Northeast Alabama, Zone 7a
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Thank you, this has been very helpful. I knew permies was the right place to post this!

Regarding #1, I finally found my "North American Wildlife" book. The closest thing I could
find was sycamore. So, maybe a young sycamore?
 
Deb Stephens
Posts: 395
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
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books dog food preservation forest garden goat trees
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Ryan Absher wrote:Thank you, this has been very helpful. I knew permies was the right place to post this!

Regarding #1, I finally found my "North American Wildlife" book. The closest thing I could
find was sycamore. So, maybe a young sycamore?


The leaves of sycamore do indeed look like maple, but I don't think what you have there is a tree of any kind. Can you give us a description of the plant -- is the stem soft or woody for example? Leaves fuzzy or different color on the underside? Is there a distinctive smell when you crush the leaves? Maybe a shot from a different angle would help so we can see the plant from the side.

I don't really know about #2. I think I've seen it here in Michigan before, but it doesn't look like any of the Lespedeza species that the University of Michigan lists as being present in the state except maybe L. cuneata. #1 has me totally stumped.


Donovan, I do think #2 is lepedeza, but you may not see a lot of it up in Michigan. He is in Alabama, and the really invasive types the agriculture people had everyone planting back in the 40s and 50s do really well in the south. (I know because we have them here too, unfortunately.) I think it probably is sericea lespedeza (L. cuneata). That is mostly what we have around here and it looks like it. The name Chinese bush clover is new to me. That's why I like taxonomic names -- so much less confusion. I also don't think #4 is lespedeza. I still can't remember what it is, but I'm pretty sure that isn't it. A couple more photos might help though because this is pretty hard to ID from only one straight down shot.

 
Ryan Absher
Posts: 28
Location: Northeast Alabama, Zone 7a
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I am out of town right now, but when I get back Monday I will post better photos and information.
Thanks!
 
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