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Old 06-16-2010, 05:22 PM   #1
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Default mystery shrub in bloom

Growing wild in a WNY swamp. Interesting little flowers blooming just a few days ago. IIRC the stem had spines, but you don't see them in the pics. Overall the plant reminds me of bayberry or blueberry, but doesn't seem to be either.
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:09 PM   #2
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Perhaps a barberry?
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:35 PM   #3
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Barberry.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:35 PM   #4
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Try Gaylussacia frondosa. Nice plant. Great wildlife value.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:06 PM   #5
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Definitely not barberry - there was plenty of barberry on this property, but this shrub is much taller than barberry, has fewer spines (if any, pics don't show them, I could have been mistaken), much larger leaves, which are also lightly serrate, and is flowering now rather than in April. The flowers also don't look like what I'm seeing of Gaylussacia frondosa (Large image for Gaylussacia frondosa (blue huckleberry) | USDA PLANTS). I suppose it's possible they open up more than they do in the pics, but seems doubtful (some of them would be open if they did).
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:20 PM   #6
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It might be Berberis canadensis. I can see a few spines in the second picture, and the leaves look right.

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=BECA2

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Old 06-16-2010, 10:41 PM   #7
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Your photos are good but not good enough to get in close. Can you go to the black lines and see if you don't see some similarities to the plant you photographed, PLANTS Profile for Gaylussacia frondosa (blue huckleberry) | USDA PLANTS. And.... compare these to your plant since you're in front of it, http://www.portableherbarium.com/Images/catalog/Gaylussacia-frondosa.jpg, http://www.portableherbarium.com/Images/catalog/Gaultheria.jpg, Gaylussacia frondosa, Plant Site, Gaylussacia frondosa on Flickr - Photo Sharing!, and Gaylussacia (Huckleberry) - 7 images at PlantSystematics.org images, phylogeny, nomenclature for Gaylussacia (Ericaceae). I'm pretty sure the photo from the USDA you referenced is Gaylussacia but.... I think it's a different species that occurs in FL where the photo was left behind in that entry after the taxonomists split out tomentosa or maybe it was nana. Here's a decent way to sort some of them out to the species level, New York Metropolitan Flora: Gaylussacia:.
Key to the species of Gaylussacia
1. Glands on lower surface of leaves small, on generally curved, hairlike stalks...Gaylussacia bigeloviana
1. Glands on lower surface of leaves, large, short-stalked, and nearly sessile...2 2. Resin glands present and generally abundant on both surfaces of the leaf...Gaylussacia baccata
2. Resin glands present on lower surface only...Gaylussacia frondosa
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:14 AM   #8
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OK, I need to walk back what I wrote earlier! I'm only familiar w/ Berberis thunbergii, but it looks a bit like Berberis vulgaris, which apparently does grow large. The leaf arrangement definitely makes it look like a barberry of some kind, the plant does have spines, and the flowers hang in a raceme. Maybe what I'm seeing here is unripe berries rather than flowers, in which case B. vulgaris is a real possibility. (B. canadensis doesn't grow in NY apparently.)
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:33 AM   #9
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I enlarged your photos and I can't see any spines.... they've got to be there... Leaf arrangement looking more and more like a Berberis and the berries do hang in a raceme on vulgaris. The other thing I'm seeing is that the leaves of your plant have distinctly serrated margins where Gaylussacia leaf margins are ciliate and look almost entire. Just because the USDA plants database doesn't document an occurrence doesn't mean a plant's not there.
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:37 AM   #10
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You can see one spine directly opposite/under the last cluster of leaves on the right (at least, I think that's what it is). I'll try to see if I can get a closer-up photo from my camera. (Battery ran out, so had to recharge it first.)
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