Instant plant ID!

By March 9, 2022 No Comments

Under 1 minute

I love this! It took me less than a minute to reply to a message on WhatsApp asking what the tree species name was. Take a look. Do you know it?

What’s the tree species?

Does this close up shot help?

The answer is Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum). Now, I know this site really well and it also happens to be the only site in our portfolio planted with Sourwood. That’s why it’s easy to remember.

Of course, the fall colors are also stunning.

And while it looks good to answer the question quickly, it’s not a contest with prizes. Plant identification skills are important because to properly care for our landscape plants, we first have to know what they are. It’s our starting point.

Imagine how stunned I was when a fourth level apprentice in landscape horticulture told me he didn’t care about the plants I named nearby. It didn’t do anything for him. What? Horticulture is about plants. I would love it if someone would show me all of the plant species on site. Sadly, I’m the go-to guy and, as it turns out, it’s not really appreciated. It pains to write these lines.

First encounter

I remember my first encounter with Sourwood as if it was yesterday. It actually happened in 2014, when I worked for the City of Coquitlam parks department. My city gardener boss pulled up to a small city park and the only tree in the parking lot was a huge Sourwood specimen.

As was her habit, my boss quizzed me immediately, but I drew a blank. Now I have the city gardener boss-failure-Sourwood association burned into my brain. And that also frees me to learn other plant names; and there are many more to learn about. Recall that gardening starts with plants!

To have success in horticulture and gardening, you will have to learn about plants. That’s obvious. If you’re interested in one or both, it’s probably because you love plants. So, keep going and feel free to share your discoveries in the comments section.

My goal is to ace every plant ID inquiry on WhatsApp in under a minute!

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