Plant ID, perhaps sedge

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by Robert Cummings, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. Robert Cummings

    Robert Cummings New Member

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    Looking to identify this plant. Observed July 15, 2020 at Seattle municipal park—Green Lake.

    Thanks, Bob Cummings
     

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    If it is the same as the plants in the background of the third photograph, it is Plantago lanceolata -- just looks like a mutated form (possibly with fasciated stems leading to strange inflorescences)
     
  3. Robert Cummings

    Robert Cummings New Member

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    Daniel, thank you for your prompt response! It occurred to me as well that the plant could be a deformed manifestation of Plantago lanceolata. The leaves are certainly similar. I will take your suggestion under advisement while I continue searching, and will of course let you know if I come up with anything more definitive.

    Best regards, Bob Cummings
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    "Now and then the flower clusters appear maimed, twisted, contorted, doubled, or squat, due to mutations or moth-induced galls"

    -- Arthur Lee Jacobson, Wild Plants of Greater Seattle - Second Edition (2008)

    Wild Plants of Greater Seattle
     
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  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    A search for "Plantago lanceolata galls" has some interesting image results, although the one that most closely resembles these is thought to be a mutation.
     
  6. Robert Cummings

    Robert Cummings New Member

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    Hi Daniel, excellent suggestion regarding the 'galls.' A bit of internet sleuthing led me to conclude that this weird-looking plant is plain old garden variety Plantago lanceolata: leaves are identical and ribbed stem in the same, only the inflorescences are malformed due to "a teratological condition (probably a genetic abnormality), which is quite common in Plantains." I found two photos illustrating this condition (see below).

    Caption of photo (2): Teratology: Plantago lanceolata: This certainly is not a gall but a teratological case, because all five inflorescences of the same plant were malformed in a similar way. Nearby plants were normal.

    Caption of photo (1): Normal Ribwort Plantain on the left; teratological plantain on the right. (Emsworth Wildlife Diary)

    Wiki describes teratology (a new word for me) as "the study of abnormalities of physiological development. It is often thought of as the study of human congenital abnormalities, but it is broader than that, taking into account other non-birth developmental stages, including puberty; and other organisms, including plants. The related term developmental toxicity includes all manifestations of abnormal development that are caused by environmental insult. These may include growth retardation, delayed mental development or other congenital disorders without any structural malformations." --Best, Bob Cummings
     

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