Field of Science

Plant ID the hard way - a quiz

One of the most common requests the Phactor gets is "can you identify this plant"? My professional alter ego once got a call from the local poison control center and they had a kid who had eaten a plant with, wait for it, red berries and green leaves. Wow, does that narrow it down to about 300 species. Are the leaves alternate or opposite? Silence; they are MDs after all. OK, have your security drive it over to my lab, and what arrives is one berry and one leaf. Fortunately that actually was enough, but it gives people the wrong idea about what is needed, besides one hell of a lot of experience, to ID a plant. So here's the latest challenge. Can you ID this plant from this photo from a reader in Saudi Arabia, which won't help a bit because as most of you know people seldom ever ask about native species? It doesn't help that the picture is out of focus, but no one said this was going to be easy. The genus seems pretty certain to me, but the reddish calyx, yellow corolla are a new combination in my experience. What are your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

how about:

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri

boa sorte


The Phytophactor said...

Sounds very good! Flowers are certainly a match & the leaves aren't visible. No question it was a Kalanchoe, but had no idea what species it was, and this is a new species for me. Thanks!

William M. Connolley said...

How about writing a post on (a) how to photograph a plant so that someone competent can identify it (I'd have gone for the flowers too, but it seems you like to see leaves) and (b) how we poor mortals might set about it (unless that is hopeless)

Jenn said...

Yeah, I can only say Kalanchoe.