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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Many of the flowers we found during this spring's wildflower trip needed work to identify. That is when we turned to our group expert, Susan.  
Cutleaf toothwart (Dentaria laciniata)
Besides her experience, Susan also carried with her a couple great identification books. As soon as a debate started over identification such as Sweet william vs Wild phlox, we called for Susan. If she didn't know she opened her excellent guide book, Newcomb's Wildflower Guide  It was then that the serious questions were asked:
  • How many petals?
  • What color?
  • Were the leaves arranged opposite or alternate along the stem?
  • Were the leaves cut or smooth?
If her regular guide books didn't work she could pull out her Flora of West Virginia by P.D. Strausbaugh and E.L. Core.  While we weren't in WV, the expansive book included any plant which might be found on the Ohio side of the river.  Flora of West Virginia
We learned that there is a difference between the phlox and sweet william,  I don't remember what that was, but the plant shown above was agreed to be a phlox.  (Okay, I didn't learn which phlox or how to tell the differences - only one step at a time.)
This is one view you were likely to see had you driven past us.
Though we were just as likely to be hovered around Susan as she check out basil leaves.  
Last year she taught me to recognize Pussy toes Pussy Toes & Cat's Feet.  I actually remembered this year when they appeared along a bank.
Like other members of the group, Susan patiently shared her experience and knowledge with this slow-witted novice and I thank her.

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