Resolving a Question

I enjoy defining a question and chasing down the answer. Since life is full of questions, at times they compile faster than I can resolve them. One of these involved a plant I saw near the Pine Cottage on the Penn State University Park campus years ago. It has fuzzy, cottony, white flowers and foliage of many shapes, with the most striking being a duck foot. I took a few pictures of it, vowed to figure out its identity someday, and carried on with my busy day.

A picture of the cottony flowers.

A picture of the duck foot foliage.

Yesterday I visited Stephanie Cohen, and she showed me her elaborate gardens (humorously named Shortwood Gardens, an homage to Longwood Gardens). It was great to talk plants for a while and catch up. As we walked through her extensive plant collection she pointed out a specimen and remarked that it was a Baccharis species. And suddenly my mystery plant from Pine Cottage came to mind.

Many species of Baccharis exist. I believe my mystery plant is Baccharis halmifolia, which has a host of common names. Some of my favorites include consumption weed and cotton-seed tree.

I like finding answers and resolution.


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