Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Find the Perennial

Here's a pretty typical Internet Search Challenge:  You see something and don't know what it is. You turn to searching to find a match.

This happened to me while biking near my house on the Illinois Prairie Path. My eye caught what I believe is a pretty spectacular perennial, one that I would like to grow in my yard. The area is fairly shady, which is the type of plant that will do well under a canopy of oak trees.  The plant has a nice shape; bumble bees love it. I took a photo which I've posted here, including a close up of some flowers and leaves.

Can you find the name of this plant?  Where would you look? What terms would you query? What would be a good strategy for tracking down a match? What do you need to know to answer this accurately? If you know the name without having to search, give others a chance to solve it first.

Note: There are databases that allow you to look up plants by characteristics--the problem is knowing how best to describe the plant. I realize the photo is not very adequate. Knowing how an expert might describe the shape of the flower or leaves or stem could help. This may be answered more quickly by taking the photo to a nursery, but I'd still like to know how someone might solve it online!

Post your answer here and include how you arrived at your answer.


Carl Heine said...

So far, the closest guess is Veronica Icicle, popular name Spike Speedwell. Not sure about the sawtooth edges on the leaves--those don't match the smooth edges in the photo.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Lysimachia clethroides (Gooseneck Loosestrife) to me. I don't know how you'd find this on the internet. I have it growing in my garden in New Zealand. If I was looking for a plant, I would use the ask an expert technique and them verify that with other sources.

Carl Heine said...

Lysimachia clethroides has to be it! Well done. I agree that searching Web 1.0 is not an effective information fluency strategy. But searching Web 2.0 is! Putting a question out there for others to answer, as long as someone is willing to answer, can be effective. It was in this case.

Anonymous said...

It is not Aesculus parviflora?

Google Image Search:
perenniel "white flower" green long oval leaves mound OR bush OR "ground cover"

Carl Heine said...

I realize the photo is not detailed enough to tell with much precision. Aesculus Parviflora is a different plant.