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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - July 07, 2010

From: Bushkill, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

This should be an easy one. I would like to identify a plant that grows along river banks, usually up to the edge of the water and within 50' of water course, and is very common. It is up to 8' in height, hollow stem, 4" diameter oval to round leaf. alternate branching,dense growth,dies back each winter,has about 7 leaflets on each leaf,and is easily broken since it is structured like bamboo.

ANSWER:

Well, Mr. Smarty Plants is a little confused by your description.  The hollow stem structure that is like bamboo makes me think of a grass, but the leaf part of the description doesn't sound like a grass.  In fact, the leaf part is most confusing since you say the leaf is 4" in diameter and oval or round and then say that there are 7 leaflets per leaf.  The way to solve this, however, is pretty simple.  Please send us photos and we will do our very best to identify your plant.  Since this is a common plant you shouldn't have difficulty finding specimens to photograph. Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos. Be sure to take closeups of the leaves and the stem as well as a photo of a whole plant.

 

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