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Thread: need ID help

  1. #1
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    Default need ID help

    SO i got the peterson book on edible plants
    and rented a few others from the library and started working my way through the forest today

    i ID'd a few plants and trees but need help with a couple

    at first glance i thought this one was cow parsnip, but then i looked closer at it and my little book seemed to say otherwise
    but as far as i can tell it doesnt match up with any of the others...

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    theyre growing along the stream

    this is in California btw

    *********************

    the second is a tree
    I think its California Buckeye?
    but i didnt see any of the huge white flower stems

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    the white-ish moss covered wood is the trunk
    it wasnt too old of a tree

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  2. #2
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    Sure looks like parsnip, or hemlock.They look similiar, that's why we avoid them

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    If the stem is mottled (spotted, not striped) purple, and has NO HAIR, then it is hemlock. Otherwise it is not hemlock and could be a wealth of other plants. There are a few details that are kind of hard to explain that also would help make an ID, but those are the first two things I look for. I can tell you that it's definately NOT Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot, Daucus carota)
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    The second set (the tree) is kind of hard to tell. I don't have my tree book handy. Buckeye is 5x palmately lobed, while most hickory family trees have 7 or more lobes (leaflets, pinnate) BUT young trees and new growth will sometimes lack a few leaflets. A wild guess is that it's a kind of Buckeye. I'll ask my co-worker to bring back the tree book and have a look tomorrow.
    Hope that helps! I know that for a newcomer to wild plants, it can all be a little overwhelming.
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  4. #4
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    to YCC

    yes it had purple-ish lines and spots
    so its hemlock?

    as in water hemlock?
    the poisonous thing?


    edit: wait, does it matter if it was striped purple or spottted purple?
    cuz if i remember correctly it was stripped
    and only along the thickest parts of the stem

    what else would help with an ID
    im kinda curious to know what it is, cuz its growing everywhere
    Last edited by crimescene450; 06-03-2010 at 12:39 AM.

  5. #5
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Water hemlock looks totally different from dry-ground hemlock. It's definately, absolutely not water hemlock, not even close. Regular, dry-ground hemlock looks much like what you have there. Let me see if I can list some of the traits that help identify it. Be aware, though, that I am relatively new to plants also. My struggle is with all the terminology, and latin names, but I'll do my best. That said, I have not encountered and documented all of the "look-similars" to the carrot, yet so all the differences might not be obvious to me either. As much as I'd like to tell you what the plant IS, without holding it in my hands so that I can examine all the details and go through a painstakingly long list of plant pictures, I just can't.

    Both versions of hemlock are VERY poisonous, so it's imperative that you get a positive ID on this plant before you eat ANY of it. The Identity of the plant lies in it's details. Stripes are definately different than "mottles" or spots. Yes it makes a difference. Carrot,, Chervil, and a few other look-similars, have stripes not spots. Hemlock has a mottled stem with NO hairs.
    The pictures above are of wild carrot. notice the stripes and hairs.
    Chervil is a similar looking plant. Chaerophyllum procumbens
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    Another detail is in the seedheads of the plants. this is Chervil seeds. I have not yet uploaded pictures of carrot seedheads.
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    You're going to have to look at all sorts of details, like the leaf petiole sheath and midvein, How often the plant branches, the root system, etc. Here are a few things that look similar to what you have, that will show what details you need to observe. At this point, it doesn't matter what plant I post a picture of, as I don't think I have a picture of your plant.
    different leaves and good display of the veins
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    different root systems
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    This is probably your best bet. You need good pictures or a plant in hand to go through the list. It takes a lot of time, but it's the best way I've found to find exactly what I have in hand. Some species are still questionable LOL!!
    http://botany.csdl.tamu.edu/FLORA/cg...ery?q=apiaceae

    I highly recommend getting the book "Botany in a Day" by Thomas Elpel.

    And lastly, I have to thank lots of folks on here, as well as Mr. Chris Nyerges, for my progress in plant identification. Rick, Wareagle, Gryff, and lots of other folks on here have led me down the right path. If you want to learn plants, stick around and we can all learn together!
    Last edited by your_comforting_company; 06-03-2010 at 01:48 AM. Reason: added pics and info
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  6. #6
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    ok thanks

    i think theres one guy on this site who lives near me
    maybe he'll know what it is

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    edited and bumped
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    Im am pretty sure that is hemlock....not positive but it if it something different then it looks bizzarly similar to hemlock. I see that plant everywhere and i have always thought it was hemlock. It grows EVERYWHERE i know! Kind of strange to see a poisonous plant growing over such wide areas. It is classified as an invasive species so that may be why.

    The tree below is california buckeye. The easiest way to identify is 5 leaves all originating from a single point. The leaves range from a dark green color to a light green color that you saw. That is weird that it doesent have any flowers. Mabeye it is a late bloomer or mabeye it is dying...but still kind of strange. A lot of times when trees are struggling to survive they wont produce many or any flowers, nuts, or berries. At times, really young trees tend to not produce those either. As long as you identify 5 leaves originating from one point, you can be certain you have a california buckeye.
    You can usually see a buckeye from a mile away from its beautiful flowers. The buckeye makes nuts but they are poisonous. Be careful, the california bay tree and the california black walnut(although this tree can be rare to find nowadays) tree both produce edible nuts. The nuts look very similar, so make sure you know what tree you are pulling the nut from! That shouldnt be to difficult though.
    There is another tree that has similar leaves but they arent five orignaiting from a single point, more like 8 or so running down the length of the branch. That one I am pretty sure is an ash tree.
    Last edited by justin_baker; 06-03-2010 at 03:57 AM.

  9. #9
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Justin - YCC is correct in my opinion. That is not Hemlock and most likely Wild Carrot. The hairy stem makes the difference. There are a number of look alikes for Wild Carrot. Caraway, Yarrow, Fool's Parsley and Poison Hemlock can all be mistaken for Wild Carrot (Queen Ann's Lace) just by looking at a plant. There are a few others that are similar but those are the major ones. The "bird's nest" of the older plants will help you know that you are at least in the right group. The root of Wild Carrot smells like carrot, too. Queen Ann's Lace is pretty prolific and is probably what you see when you see a field full of it.

    Crimescene - Can you confirm it has a hairy stem? It looks like it in your pictures.

  10. #10
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin_baker View Post
    There is another tree that has similar leaves but they arent five orignaiting from a single point, more like 8 or so running down the length of the branch. That one I am pretty sure is an ash tree.
    wait
    youre talking about another tree that is similar to the Ca bay tree?

    does it look like this?

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    thats another photo i took, but i didnt get any other shots of it



    Rick- Ill take some more photos (of the hemlock looking plant) that are closer and more detailed. and double check the features. and ill probably dig on up too. but i wont be able to until tomorrow or so

  11. #11
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I don't think it's carrot. the flower clusters are wrong and lack the purple center flower. Probably a parsley or chervil, or some close relative, but the clusters on your plant are much smaller in diameter than the few carrots I've observed.
    As much as I hate to say it, the only way to tell for sure is to go through that Texas A&M University database one species at a time. CalPhoto will have a good collection for each species listed, and you might also find their database helpful as it will list all your local plants.. It's the opposite coast for me so It only helps me if the weed is widespread.
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    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    Ok so i went down and chopped off a sample to bring home for closer inspection
    and i got some more photos

    the first thing i noticed upon cutting it, is that the stem is like a giant straw

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    also, ive confirmed the purple-ness
    im guessing these are spots. although in some areas they form lines

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    heres the top of the leaves again

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    not sure if itll help, but this is the bottom of the leaves

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    i keep looking at the peterson book and keep thinking its water hemlock....
    but on the flip side, i could also be a plant not in the peterson book
    im on the west coast and the book says central-east america


    edit: and also, to answer ricks question, the stem is hairless


    edit again: ok i think i got it now. its Conium maculatum, aka poison hemlock

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conium
    Last edited by crimescene450; 06-04-2010 at 11:02 PM.

  13. #13
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    The last set of pictures here confirms it for me. Hollow stalk mottled with red spots, unforked bracts under the flower clusters, the slick branch sheath, and the multi-veined pinnules in each leaflet.
    I have to agree with you. Conium maculatum. Poison Hemlock.
    Good job working it out CS450.
    http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/im...nium+maculatum

    http://www.kswildflower.org/flower_d...p?flowerID=110

    http://texnat.tamu.edu/cmplants/toxi...onhemlock.html
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    this is too pic heavy for my dial up, but let me remind you of another very important id tool- the roots. Never cut a plant to id it, always dig it up and observe every thing
    always be prepared-prepare all ways
    http://wareaglesurvival.blogspot.com

  15. #15
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    Agreed. The root would have clearly shown that it was not carot. Although, sometimes you must cut a plant to see if it is hollow or pithy, It's still a good idea to observe the roots as well.

    (Sorry about all the pics.. You can never have enough details when IDing a plant!)
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    Great job, CS. It sometimes takes a bit of digging (pun intended) to figure out what a given plant is but the next time you see it you'll remember all the points you checked.

  17. #17
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    yeah i was gonna dig it up
    but it was surrounded by thistle.

    speaking of thistle. has anyone had them before?
    are they any good

    im trying to figure out what would be a good first plant to try
    and theres alot of them

  18. #18
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Oxalis spp (wood sorrels), rumex spp (sheep sorrels), leeks and ramps, and anything in the brassicaceae family are good for first edibles. Easy to identify and non-toxic.
    There are all the pulpy fruits too, like right now plums are in fruit down here. Muscadines and bullaces will be fruiting soon too.

    and set this rule for yourself: Don't eat anything you are unsure of.
    I tell my kids not to eat anything without letting me check it out first. If I ask them questions about any given plant they are observing, and they get even one question wrong, no eats. Any plant that you are going to eat, you should be able to list features of that plant from memory. You should have a mental picture of the plant and be able to recognize it at a passing glance.
    It only takes one mistake in plant ID, as with the Hemlock above, and your wild edibles adventures will be over!!
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  19. #19
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    That's really an excellent post, YCC. Your instructions to your kids are exactly what we do every day with all the food we eat...if you think about it. We do have a mental picture of what a banana looks like so when you see one you know exactly what it is. Same is true with all our common store bought foods. There is no reason that we can't have the same intimate knowledge and memories of wild foods that we harvest. It was probably intuitive on your part but I could not agree more!! Good post!!

  20. #20

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    Man there are so many plants that ive seen these past few weeks, i have no idea what they are! Ill take some pictures, mabeye you guys will have an idea of what they are.
    Last edited by justin_baker; 06-22-2010 at 02:56 PM.

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