Posted on 13 July 2009 by

Reader Question: How to Identify My Plant

ragweedBy Vanessa Richins


“None of the dichotomous keys listed on your site found a plant I am trying to identify. Can you recommend another?

I found the plant in my backyard in CT. Most notable is that the leaves alternate between ovate with serrated margin and deeply lobed with serrated margin.

It has hairy leaves and stem, not woody at all, and oppositely arranged leaves. Any ideas what it might be or where else I could look?”

Hi Diana. You are correct that one of the most intriguing facts about this plant is that the shape of the leaves can vary widely.

How long has this plant been there? How tall is it? If it’s still young, it could possibly be a tree or shrub also, as it can take time for these plants to become woody.

What shade of green (assuming it’s green, that is!) is the plant? How many lobes do the leaves have? How big are the leaves?

If it wasn’t for the fact that the leaves were oppositely arranged, I would guess a young mulberry. Those have the different leaves like you describe.

Do you have a picture you could send us? That often helps me identify a plant easier.
Here is another possibility I found:

Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida)
The University of Kentucky describes it as having, “Leaves: opposite, stalked, large, entire or 3 to 5 lobed with toothed margins, coarse and slightly hairy.”

Database for the Connecticut Botanical Society:

Here’s a key from the University of Connecticut for trees, shrubs and vines. They should have plants that are specific to your state, so that may help.

I hope one of those resources can help. If you can’t find it, please send us a picture and some of the information I asked about above. Good luck!

One Response to “Reader Question: How to Identify My Plant”

  1. Dan and Deanna Says:

    That sounds like an interesting plant. Photos help a lot when you need to help someone to identify a plant. For things like this (helping others.) We have placed you on our list of those that get these two Awards: “Best Blog Award” and “A Lovely Blog Award”. If you would like to know more visit our blog to see more at: .
    Have a good day.

    Dan and Deanna “Marketing Unscrambled”

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