Plant Identification Practice

I've been practicing recording plant characteristics, using the terminology from an old book by Harrington[1]. So far, I have been focused mostly on the leaf characteristics. During one lunch break, I studied one tree with the following leaf characteristics:

- deciduous

- alternate (leaves alternating position as they move up the stem, as opposed to directly across from each other)

- simple (one leaf in each departure from the stem, as opposed to say a frond with leaflets)

- double serrate (saw-tooth like leaf shape, with smaller teeth on each tooth)

- pinnatley (one large midvein with smaller veins branching of that)

Some research in Alaska plant identification keys showed this to be an American Green Alder tree, which are spread through interior Alaska.

During another lunch break, I found this interesting little bush (I first thought it was a small tree). Those who do berry-picking in Alaska would instantly recognize it as a high bush cranberry, with the berries still green; but since I am new to this, it took me some research to figure it out:

high bush cranberry exhibit A

high bush cranberry exhibit B

high bush cranberry exhibit C

high bush cranberry exhibit D

The leaf characteristics on this plant are interesting, being distinctive from leaves generally found in the area.

- green with red edges

- opposite leaves, i.e., they come in pairs opposite to each other on the stem

- most leaves are three-lobe clefted, like a maple leaf, and serrate

- glabrous, meaning no fur or stickiness on the leaf, but the veins on the bottom of the leaf are stiff and stick out quite a ways

As always, it is a delight to see all the variety and detail in God's amazing plant creations. Also, here are some scenery photos I took on that walk:



End Notes

[1] How to Identify Plants, H.D. Harrington, 1957

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