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Plant Identification

Submitted by nskinner on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 15:52

When presented with a plant sample that needs identification, one might start with whether the sample is woody, tree-like, shrub-like, vine, forb, aquatic, or evergreen versus deciduous. The sample in question seems to be possibly deciduous and shrub-like. It has broad flat leaves that are dark green on the top and lighter green on the bottom. The leaves themselves are almost waxy and reflective to some degree. The next step in identification is deciding whether or not the leaves are truly simple leaves, or compound structured leaflets. There are three total leaves in questions. To decide this the axillary bud must be identified. There is no axillary buds identifiable on this sample. Since it does not appear at the base of each leaf, one might assume that it was at the base of the main leaf stalk connecting the three leaves together. This would make them leaflets rather than true leaves. The leaflets are organized in a compound structure rather than alternating. The margins of the leaflets are also key to identification. The margins of this sample appear to be wavy rather than serrated, lobed, or smooth. The overall shape of the leaflet is almost tear drop shaped. Some leaf or leaflet shapes could be round, heart shaped, palm-lobed etc. but this sample remains a tear drop shape. It is symmetrical rather than asymmetrical. The overall size of the sample is 7cm in length and 7cm in width. Each leaflet is about 3.5cm in length and 3cm in width. Each leaf has a small dark brown discoloration to it that has a swirl like pattern branching off the discolored shape. This could be some sort of parasite or unfortunate symbiotic relationship. The dark brown discoloration seems to be a damaged part of the leaflet that reduces the surface area of green useful parts to the leaflet. Overall it is possibly a negative symbiotic relationship going on. There are also 3-5 small bumps about 1mm in diameter on each leaflet. they are raised on the top of the leaflet and not noticeable on the bottom. It is unclear if there is a relationship between these bumps and the discolored patches. The leaf stalk is fuzzy in appearance and pinkish brown colored. It is also flexible and has no bark. With these defining characteristics, one should be able to identify this plant using a key; assuming they know what region the sample is from.