2
$\begingroup$

I have collected this plant from the soil in a park in Belgium. I thought it was a child of a plant which was growing nearby but when the leaves started to grow I realised it is a different plant.

When I was collecting it, it was at the stage of having only the seed leaves (still visible in the photo) which are elongated and about 2.5 cm long. In the park, on the ground from where I collected it, these plants were growing in large quantity close to each other. After about 1 week from bringing it home the leaves started to appear. Now about 3 weeks later the leaves are about 2-3 cm long.

Could you help me identify it?

enter image description here

Further clues

First of all, this plant is very abundant in the park but I can also spot it in other places, e.g. close to sidewalks within a walking distance from this park.

This is the plant in the original environment from where I collected it:

enter image description here

I could also find it growing in a pocket of a tree - this suggests to me that the seeds might have fell from a height, so this plant might be a tree (?)

enter image description here

The ground of the park is largely populated by wild garlic. Other than that, some nearby plants are a hornbeam and elderberry.

Here are some further photos of surrounding plants that might be a hint for you:

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It might help if you also had the remains of the seed itself. $\endgroup$ – bli Mar 28 at 10:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately I don't have the seed. This weekend I will go to the same park and perhaps collect some further clues :) $\endgroup$ – camillejr Mar 29 at 10:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Try to identify nearby trees also. Even if the the leaves do not match, this could be helpful information regarding the environment. $\endgroup$ – bli Mar 29 at 11:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To help you start ruling out species: not Corylus avellana; not Robinia pseudoacacia (which both show up in your pictures). That cherry is of more interest, but I think your seedling is not quite representative of Prunus avium $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Apr 3 at 14:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Leaves make me think Acer is likely, and the presence of a decaying maple samara in your 3rd image is a giveaway that maples are nearby... $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Apr 3 at 14:41
5
$\begingroup$

You definitely have a seedling with prominent cotyledons still present.

My initial guess is Acer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple, or just called "sycamore" or "planetree maple" in parts of Europe)

enter image description here

Source: Wikimedia

You can see a detailed image of an A. pseudoplatanus seedling here and a time-lapse of a seedling growing to the point of cotyledon release in Neil Bromhall's youTube video.

According to the range map available from Euforgen, A. pseudoplatanus is present (blue) throughout Belgium:

A. pseudoplatanus distribution in Belgium and surrounding countries

As for confirming nearby adults, you're looking for a tree that looks as follows:

enter image description here

Source: Blue River Nursery

For more information regarding identifying the adult, please see Virginia Tech Dendrology

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Scientific study of the cotyledons of this tree can be found from two New Phytology (76th issue) papers from the 1970s: Ampofo et. al 1976, pp 31-39 and Ampofo et al. 1976, pp 41-52 $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Apr 3 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ Wow, very interesting! I didn't expect it because the adult leaves are different. Thank you for solving the mystery! :) $\endgroup$ – camillejr Apr 3 at 17:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @camillejr Sure!. But please go back and check to see if you can find a mature tree to confirm my suspicion or not. $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Apr 3 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ No need to guess here, this looks very much like a seedling of A. pseudoplatanus (Gewone esdoorn in Belgium and The Netherlands). This is the most common Acer in Belgium. Other relatively common species are Acer platanoides and Acer campestre, but but their leaves differ and I've never seen these have seedlings this abundant. $\endgroup$ – RHA Apr 6 at 18:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.