Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Questions for the Hive Mind: outdoor IDs

Neither of these is an emergency sort of ID situation or anything, but I'm curious.

The first plant was growing in the dark underneath our front deck. The husband has torn the deck apart (for complicated reasons I probably don't fully understand), so suddenly the plant is completely exposed, enabling photography. I'm thinking a juniper of some kind? I don't really know the various needley plants very well.

Another question relevant to this one might be, is this worth trying to relocate? I mean, we don't have any particular attachment to it or anything, and I obviously can't know how it will handle transplanting if I don't know what it is, but if it could be a nice plant at some point, and it was free and could be moved, then we're not above trying to give it a more deliberate location.

UPDATE: More or less identified in the comments by multiple people as a Juniperus sp., probably J. virginiana, with an outside chance at J. communis or J. chinensis.

Plant #2 was growing in a bit of land that had been cultivated within the last couple years, but was allowed to do whatever it wanted this year, so this could either be a deliberately-planted ornamental or a common weed, and I'm not sure which is more likely. The whole plant:

And a close-up of a flower:

The flowers sort of make me think of chicory, but the rest of the plant doesn't. This was blooming in late June, by the way.

It's also appealing to thrips, I gather.

Not really looking for any advice on the second one, since it wasn't on our property, plus: ew, thrips. But I hadn't seen it before, and it was interesting, so I figure one of y'all must know what it is.

UPDATE: Identified by nycguy in comments as meadow campion, Silene latifolia ssp. alba.


nycguy said...

#2 looks like meadow campion---a common wildflower.

Nic said...

The little conifer I would definitely say is some sort of juniper, most likely a form of Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis). It is so far only displaying its prickly juvenile needles; the adult foliage on larger trees is more scale-like and a darker shade of green. My family's garden has two of these which were planted at the time the house was built meaning they are now over 50 years old. They are not huge even at that age but rather untidy, as branches routinely die and break off even while other parts of the trees keep growing at odd angles, making them rather ragged-looking. I think exactly because of this wild, gnarly growth habit they are also popular for bonsai. As for the flower, I do not know what it is called, though there is a self-sown specimen at the edge of our garden that has been returning every year for a couple of years now.

Paul said...

Agree with the CG that the first plant is a juniper -- though whether a tree or the ground hugging bush type, can't really say at this point with surety. Personally, I have not witness much in the way of branch die off. But as CG mentioned, they do their "own thing" growth wise. If you and your spouse prefer a neater more tidy/orderly look to your plants and yard, then this plant is not for you. If you don't mind a plant that "marches to its own drum" then keep it. Since you don't know whether it is a bush cultivar or a tree, I would recommend playing it safe and moving it. If nothing else at least a good distance further from the house's foundation. These can take full sun or dappled shade with better growth generally occurring in full sun.

Claude said...

I'd also go with juniper, but I'm going to go with the common cedar tree, and this would be its juvenile form. they can get big, so definitely move it if you want to keep it.

Diana said...

I'm going with young cedar tree as well. It's a very common self seeding tree on the East Coast - I'm not sure how common they are in Iowa but this looks EXACTLY like a young cedar.

They do grow BIG but are great for lots of different wildlife.

Wade said...

I'm going to disagree with the cedar hypothesis. I think it is almost certainly a juniper. Junipers are virtually impossible to tell apart, especially if you don't know the adult growth habit or have the cones to look at. For that reason I would assume it would more likely be Juniperus communis which is both native and far more widely planted than J. chinensis. Or the similarly native and very widespread J. virginiana.

I would also like to remind you all that both Satan and Hitler use common names. The common name "cedar" can refer to various species in Calocedrus, Thuja, Chamaecyparis, Juniperus, and the ACTUAL cedars in Cedrus. So maybe we could try for a little more specificity and accuracy?

mr_subjunctive said...


Google tells me that some Juniperus go by "cedar" as a common name, including the Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), so everybody's right on this one, for some value of "right." The ensuing confusion, obviously, is why Satan and Hitler prefer common names.


The seedling is a fairly close match to some of the photos here, and J. virginiana is known to be a common(-ish) weed tree in Iowa, and Iowa is part of its natural range.

J. communis doesn't appear to be native to Iowa, though that doesn't, I suppose, entirely exclude it from contention.

J. chinensis is pretty similar-looking when young, says Wikipedia, but I'd think it would probably either have to be deliberately planted, which this obviously wasn't, or else widely cultivated in the area, which I have no idea if it's a thing here or not.

So I'm inclined to call it J. virginiana until such time as it demonstrates that it isn't.