Thursday, July 16, 2015

Enlisting Help

Here is another shrub I have admired over the years. It blooms a little later in summer than the Rose Mallow from yesterday's post . The stems have a distinctively reddish coloring which, with the slight pinkish flowers, gives it a lovely appearance. Just before the racemes open, the buds have a deeper reddish hue. Search though I might, I have never been able to learn the identity of the shrub. That is until now. Over the years, each time I would come across this photo, I would hit the internet again to try to find out it's name.

I have posted this picture in the past which shows a mulberry tree on the edge of the Patuxent and have related how, despite it's unremarkable look, it remains the tree where I have seen more uncommon species of birds than any other. I wanted to draw your attention, however, to the shrubs around the base of the tree. This is the same plant as in the first image.

When I have been stuck in identifying something in the past, I have turned to experts. With unfamiliar birds, I have turned to an expert birder friend. I also recently posted a question on a birding site and got a ton of helpful advice. With unfamiliar animal tracks, I have called upon a person at the Department of Natural Resources. A couple of years ago, I turned to an horticultural expert at a Maryland state agency for help in identifying a plant. It finally dawned on me to do the same thing with this plant.

Remarkably, after much time spent sifting through sites, descriptions and pictures on the internet, this lady returned my email within an half-hour! She identified it as a shrub called Japanese Knotweed. I was delighted to realize that several years of not knowing the plant's identify had finally come to a speedy end.

This last image shows a close-up of the leaves. The thing about this photo is that the entire image is a reflection and there is not one real leaf in the picture. Now that I know the name, it becomes easy to find all kinds of information about the plant on the internet. The bottom line is there are people and agencies out there that are willing to help when you need advice. Just don't make a pest of yourself!

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