Thursday, May 17, 2007

Unusual Plant

Glossy leaved plant (click to expand)

I was cycling through Sherwood Park's forested area this week when I came across this plant which I couldn't identify. In cases like this I usually take a picture and try to identify it later. My initial thought was Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) but the leaf arrangement is wrong and the poison ivy flowers appear in the leaf axil. Here the flowers or fruits appear to be on a separate stalk.

One of my friends suggested Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) but this doesn't match either. So I am posting it on my blog in the hope that someone out there recognizes it. If you do recognize it post a comment or send me an email.

Possible seed or flower pods

Update on this plant - I received an email from a reader who suggested it might be Wild Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis). I looked it up in my Peterson's "Field Guide to Wildflowers" and it looks like a match. The description clearly shows that the flowers appear in a cluster of three on a separate stalk. The flowers are a creamy-white and appear between May and July.

I guess I was confused because this plant hasn't yet flowered so looks unusual. A. nudicaulis is native to Ontario and grows in dry open woods which is the type of forest in Sherwood Park. Thanks to A. Lynch for the identification.

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