Identification: Shrub w. leathery leaves and 3-lobed fruit

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest Native Plants' started by dt-van, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    Hiking above Lytton last weekend, we came across this shrub with leathery leaves and cute 3-lobed fruits. It doesn't quite match snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus): this one has 4 or 5 main veins in the leaf, but only 3 main in my books (Plants of Southern Interior BC) and at eFlora http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/ShowDBImage/ShowStandard.aspx?index=25012 . The fruit also seem too few and on too short a stem for that Ceanothus. Too bad we can't find images of fruit on internet or books. And of course if I had known it would be difficult to ID, I would have taken more photos.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Re: Shrub w. keathery leaves and 3-lobed fruit

    I do not recognize this as a native plant from this photo anyway. You may never find it looking only at native species, if that is what you are doing.
     
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  4. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    This plant was seen in the Skwaha Ecological Reserve at an elevation of about 1500m.
    While it's possible that it is a non-native plant it isn't very likely. The reserve was established in 1978, has no road access and doesn't get a lot of visitors. I was told that the area was used for grazing previously, but hasn't been for many years.

    The leaf edges in the photo show no visible teeth while the C. sanguinium I've seen is usually noticeably toothed and less leathery. In my photo all the prominent veins start from the leaf base, while photos of both C. sanguinium & C. velutinus show 3 main veins from the base, plus some fairly prominent side veins branching off.

    Does anyone know how variable C. velutinus can be, or have a good photo of the fruit?
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Some of the lower leaves in the background show the more typical 3-veins arising from the base. I had just ordered a DVD of identification characteristics for Ceanothus yesterday, so I should be able to compare the fruit for you by late next week or the week after.

    (and it does look more like C. velutinus than C. sanguineus overall, yes)
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Non native plants can pop up anywhere, but if it really seems to be a native ceanothus then that point becomes moot.
     
  7. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    Daniel,
    Just came across this old post of mine and wondered whether you were ever able to compare it with info on the DVD you were ordering?
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks for the reminder, I'll have a look when I get a chance.
     
  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Well, I had a look through the Ceanothus images DVD, and nothing matched. So I then started to question the assumption that the leaves and fruits were actually from the shrub in question, or whether they were two different plants entirely... what do you think about Prosartes trachycarpa for the fruits/leaves?
     
  10. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    This is such a coincidence. I wrote to BC native plant expert, Terry Taylor, last night to ask if he recognized the plant . . . here is his reply:

    It looks like fairy bells Prosartes trachycarpa (Disporum trachycarpum). It is a herbaceous liliaceous species, not a shrub though. The venation and three lobed fruit look right.

    After looking at photos on E-Flora BC, it seems like a match.
     
  11. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    Daniel,
    For some reason I never saw your January post until now. I'm sure you are right. In fact the eflora photo you attached was actually taken in the Botanie Valley - the same general location as our photo, but at a lower elevation. Amazing that without any obvious context we were completely fooled into thinking the photo was of an evergreen shrub. The deeper green and leathery texture seem a bit atypical for D. trachycarpum, but shape of the leaves and fruit are right on. Thanks,
     

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