With the aid of the wonderful Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, it is usually fairly easy to identify a plant that I am unfamiliar with, even if the flower is not present.
Some years ago, I started noticing a mystery plant that was growing abundantly in spring along roadsides, clearings and other disturbed areas near forests. At first glance, it seemed to be Wild Carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace).
However, Queen Anne’s Lace is a taller plant which grows later in the year. My mystery plant is NOT found in Newcomb’s Guide.
What on earth is it?
Happily, one day I was out for a walk with a gentleman who was able to answer the question. It’s Torilis japonica (Hedge Parsley.)
Newcomb’s Guide was published in 1977 and it wasn’t until the 1990’s that Hedge Parsley, a European species, started being seen as frequently as it is now.