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Old 11-27-2010, 04:33 PM   #1
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Default It blooms at Thanksgiving in NC

Woodies experts, help me please. Ignore the captions, which are clearly incorrect. This is a low growing woody plant, with dark red bark on the new shoots, which is putting out blossoms now. There are a bunch of them in my yard. I'm pretty sure they had simple, alternate leaves when they had leaves. They were on my list to id, but they were sort of non-descript and I hadn't gotten to them. They are kind of pretty now.
It blooms at Thanksgiving in NC-witch-hazel-blossom.jpg It blooms at Thanksgiving in NC-witch-hazel-blooms.jpg

With my luck to date, they are some horrible invasive. Please tell me they are some wonderful native that I can cherish.
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Old 11-27-2010, 05:26 PM   #2
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It reminds me of Vaccinium - the red stems and simple, alternate leaves are consistent with some kind of blueberry/huckle/farkle/deerberry, etc.

There are different ones down south, I'm not familiar with them, but have a look at V. crassifolium and V. stamineum. Just a guess, though. I have no idea why they would be blooming now.

Those oak leaves are nice, I just saw some of those leaves yesterday and I coudn't convince someone that they were oaks.

Last edited by swamp thing; 11-27-2010 at 05:26 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:39 PM   #3
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Vaccinium seems a good guess. You might also check Black Huckleberry - Gaylussacia baccata.
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Old 11-27-2010, 11:50 PM   #4
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I have other vaccinium on my property, and the structure of the plant in similar. The other plants, of which I have many and haven't ever speciated beyond "wild blueberry", don't have the red twigs and still have leaves. I could definitely be persuaded that this is in that genus, although none of the photos looked quite right - the flowers on mine are not the bells that I associate with vaccinium. I looked at the black huckleberry, and those flowers are a lot pinker but the shape is similar. It is a puzzle. I wish I had a photo of the plant before it lost its leaves. I am going to take a sprig of it into the botanical garden on Monday and see if they can tell me. I have learned that personal knowledge of the local flora is very helpful in id-ing plants, as is personally holding it and looking at it more closely than a photograph. On the other hand, I still often just get a genus id and not a species. It makes me feel better when I don't know that often the experts don't either!

I have other plants blooming out of season, so whatever this is may not be due to bloom at this time. Our fall has been exceptionally warm, and many plants are confused.

The oak leaves are mainly from chestnut oaks, Quercus montana, which is my predominant tree species (probably accounting for 50% of my trees), followed by red maples at about 30% and everything else making up the last 20%.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:17 PM   #5
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Swamp thing, you were right on. It is V. stamineum, or deerberry. In the week since I originally posted the photo, all the vaccinium bushes in my yard broke out in flower.

The expert at NCBG thinks the 7 weeks this summer of record heat and drought may have caused the plants to have an unusual summer dormant period, and their blooms are triggered by dormancy. It remains to be seen whether they will bloom again in the spring - he thinks they probably will.
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baccata, black huckleberry, bloom, blooming, blooms, blueberry, bush, chestnut, chestnut oaks, crassifolium, deerberry, gaylussacia, gaylussacia baccata, huckleberry, identify plants, late blooms, oaks, plant id, plant identification, quercus montana, red maples, shrub, stamineum, vaccinium, wild blueberry

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