Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sparce-flowered Willow-Herb

Églantine found a flower in our yard.

When she brought in part of the plant for identification purposes, I had to go get my wild flower key as I never seem to remember, from year to year, what the name is.

Some willow-herbs tend to be harder than others. I usually need to use my microscope for this one. OK, first we check to see if it has "hairs" on the stem and if so if they are very short incurved or longer, mostly horizontal and spreading.

These are longer, mostly horizontal and spreading so we move on to the stigma or end of the pistil in the flower. Is it a smooth curve or deeply 4-lobed?

OK, deeply 4-lobed stigma means one can look back at the leaves. Are they NOT clasping and very hairy? If so, according to Edward G. Voss's Michigan Flora, which is a three volume key for plant identification that is often used in the Royal Botanical Gardens Herbarium and here at my home, the flower is a Sparce-flowered Willow-herb Epilobium parviflorum. (OK, I left a bit out to make it easier for me, and you, but this is essentially how to ID this particular plant.) Fun?


Rurality said...

Nice plant. I'm jealous of your microscope!

Anonymous said...

And that's why you are still the wildflower expert in our house!:~)

Ontario Wanderer said...

We had microscopes in the elementary schools where I taught in the Junior Division but I kept borrowing them for the primary children and me. One of the first things I did, upon retirement, was to phone the school board to see where the microscopes came from. I was able, as an ex-teacher, to get a good deal on a used microscope from a firm in Toronto that supplied school. It was one of the best purchases that I made!

Églantine, you just need to spend a few more hours with the books and microscope and you will be more expert than I.

Anonymous said...

I have Epilobium montanum in my herbarium. :D

Tim Rice said...

This is neat how you can take pictures through your microscope.

Anonymous said...

My book (Mala Flora Slovenije) doesn't use any microscopic characteristics for your species.