In master naturalist training we identified trees by looking at their shape, bark, leaves and seeds. While hiking near Barcroft’s bog, we found oaks and poplars growing tall above a thriving poison sumac. Be aware, and if you’re in doubt about a plant, don’t touch or taste! Poet Jacqueline Jules stresses the importance of learning our plant IDs — and watching out for poison ivy!
by Jacqueline Jules
I beg you. Reconsider preconceived notions and identify the difference. Three together. Mitten shaped. Small stem on the center leaf. Pointed tips. Shiny. White berries. Not the same as Virginia Creeper and its cluster of five. Do a little research. You’ll find most are harmless. Don’t despise every green vine gracing the path because one or two produce a nasty itch.
“Identfying Ivy” copyright by Jacqueline Jules — printed with permission of the poet
Read more poetry by Jacqueline Jules at Metaphorical Truths.
For help with identifying plants and animals, submit a photo to INaturalist. Researchers and citizen scientists (and even people like me!) use the posted data to learn more about our world.
In the Washington, D.C. region Alonso Abugattas posts observations about animals and plants and answers questions on his blog, the Capital Naturalist.