New plants turn up in well traveled places. Some are brand new to plant lists. I find ones I’ve never seen before. Either way, new plant names are needed.
A couple of weeks ago I had to walk around in town. Out of habit, I watched for plants in bloom and saw several. Spring beauty, grape hyacinths, chickweed, dead nettle and henbit were among them.
One I didn’t recognize was covered with red purple blooms. It was a small plant, a few inches tall. It had lacy leaves and hairy stems.
Lots of plants fit this description. Finding new plant names is difficult when sorting through a pile of them with no idea how to narrow the search.
There were no seed pods on the plants. I made a note of where to find one patch so I could come back to see the seed pods.
In the meantime I planned to check out the flowers on http://www.missouriplants.com, my go to place for new plant names. All you really need to know is the color of the flower and whether the leaves are alternate or opposite. Then you scroll through the thumbnail pictures until you find the flower.
Like so many good intentions in the spring, this one got shoved aside by more pressing matters.
An opportunity presented itself for me to race out and check this plant for seed pods. I found the patch and sat down to check the plant and stared.
It couldn’t be! These distinctive seed pods couldn’t belong to this plant, or could they? They did and I knew the group this plant belonged with: crane’s bills.
Another crane’s bill, the Carolina Crane’s Bill, grows near the driveway on my road and in nearby areas. The seed pod is a definite identification of the group, no other group has anything like it.
Finding new plant names can be much easier if the group is known, the geranium family in this case. This little plant has the common name Stork’s Bill. It is the introduced one originally from Europe.