What is it? Light and tangle makes it hard to say!
It’s most helpful to send a few pictures of different parts of the plant. Leaves, bark, twigs, buds, habit and flowers all help in figuring out accurate identifications. For the initial enquiry, you are the best judge of what stands out about the plant. Sometimes we need to ask for additional views of a surprising part of the plant to differentiate between similar species or cultivars . We will let you know!
If you are not certain what parts of the plant you should represent in your inquiry, consider whether any of the views suggested below seem to hold interesting or differentiating information about the plant's identity. Here are some of the features you should consider as well as some help in getting the most useful image.
Close ups of flowers from a few inches away can be a big help if the image is clear. For an inflorescence (a cluster of smaller flower), take an image of the entire inflorescence and also a closer images of some of the individual flowers. Also, showing where and how the flower emerges from the plant can yield some information.
The leaf holds many clues and has lots of points of interest to a horticulturalist. We may need to see the top of the leaf, bottom of the leaf (which frequently holds more clues than the top) and point of the leaf attachment to the stem; some leaves attach directly to the plant, some attach via a leaf stalk (called a petiole). If the leaf is a compound leaf made up of many smaller parts (leaflets), take a picture of the entire leaf and a close one of some leaflets. How the leaves attaches to the stem in relation to other leaves can be a very important clue.
Take the pictures from about one foot away or even slightly closer. Do not take the picture from a few feet away.
The image should be of the last few inches of the twig including the tip. Have the image fill up the frame without getting blurry.
These can often be the key for accurate ID. Persistent fruit can be especially important for winter identification when leaves are absent.
The habit is the general shape of the plant. Trees tend to have a tall habit with a slender trunk and then branching out. Roses have a shrub habit or climbing habit. A ground cover has a creeping habit. Seeing a picture taken back from the plant showing the entire habit can give clues about the identity.
The color of the sap can sometimes be used as an ID characteristic. For example, some plants in the Euphorbiaceae family have a milky white sap.
We are looking forward to recieving your questions about plant identification!