Seedlings

This page has photos of seedlings for native or benign naturalized species to help recognize the "good" plants. See the invasives page for identification of species you may wish to remove. Click to enlarge the image.  Additional (or better!) photos are highly desirable.  Please send them to info@flnps.org with species and photographer clearly identified (and permission clarified if not your own image). 

doll's eyes
A. pachypoda or A. rubra; note first leaf is distinctive for genus ID, not much help for species.
Photo by
R Parker
red baneberry
A. pachypoda or A. rubra; note first leaf is distinctive for genus ID, but not much help for species.
Photo by
R Parker
nodding onion
All Allium species germinate with a thin grass-like look. Also see Erythronium, which are a bit larger cross-section.
Photo by
Rosemarie Parker
Allegheny serviceberry
Amelanchier species, not clear which one but several Finger Lakes native Amelanchiers start out looking like this.
Photo by
R Parker
Wild Ginger
Inset shows more mature seedling with fuzzy leaves. Cotyledons are not fuzzy and are more pointed than true leaves.
Photo by
R Parker
black birch
Note pointed buds and spotted bark.
Photo by
R Parker
Marsh Marigold
Note the rounded tip and deep sinus.
Photo by
R Parker
Harebells
Young plants, whether seedling or offshoot, lack the wider basal leaf seen in larger plants. All campanula cotyledons are very small.
Photo by
R Parker
hackberry
Note the notch in the cotyledons. This one was far from a mature tree, but underneath a good bird perch.
Photo by
R Parker
Broad-Leaved Spring-Beauty
Red stems!
Photo by
R Parker
Bulblet Fern
Not really a seedling, but the result of a fallen "bulblet". Very tiny but red stalk is distinctive.
Photo by
R Parker
Squirrel corn
Blurry, but the color is true.
Photo by
R Parker
Panicum clandestinum
The wide, hairy leaf with visible veins is easy to recognize.
Photo by
R Parker
Yellow Mandarin
Note reddish stem in side view on left. This plant is probably 3yr but still small.
Photo by
R Parker
evergreen wood fern
The teeny fringe in center is the first sign of the new asexual form (i.e. "normal fern"). It can take a year to reach this point, although the sexual forms will show up fairly quickly (note flattened green gametophytes below the moss).
Photo by
R Parker
Marginal Wood Fern
The teeny fringe in center is the first sign of the new asexual form (i.e. "normal fern"). It can take a year to reach this point, although the sexual forms (note flattened green gametophytes below the moss) will show up fairly quickly.
Photo by
R Parker
prairie wild rye
First sighting is a slender bronze-burgundy wisp. After a few inches the blue tinge of a mature plant MAY be visible.
Photo by
R Parker
riverbank wild rye
It's hard to ID grass seedlings. Look for red coloring near the crown.
Photo by
Krissy Boys
Virginia wild rye
Purplish initially, note green true leaf.
Photo by
R Parker
yellow trout-lily
Erythronium species all start like thin wires with the seed on top. Very similar to Alliums.
Photo by
Rosemarie Parker
stiff gentian
These are spring 2nd year. First year are really, really tiny! (Pearlite gives scale here.)
Photo by
R Parker
Sharp-Lobed Hepatica
Hepatica can take 1-2 yr to germinate, so moss and weeds are common. Hepatica has bluish tinge, reddish stem. Violas show true leaves faster!
Photo by
R Parker
Orange Jewelweed,
Light green leaves on fat stalks. Both cotyledons and first real leaves shown.
Photo by
Jennifer Koslow, Eastern Kentucky University
Twinleaf
Smallest seedlings do not have typical leaf shape, but still distinctive. See top center and bottom right edge of main cluster.
Photo by
R Parker
Virginia Bluebells
First leaves are more pointed and more bluish (as are the cotyledons) than those of year old plants. Both are in this photo.
Photo by
R Parker
Wild Bergamot, Bee Balm
Cotyledons - Fuzzy and purplish tinge help with ID. Perlite gives a sense of the size - very small.
Photo by
R Parker
garden forget-me-not
Note the fuzzy leaves on this aggressive self-sowing naturalized plant. Compare to Rudbeckia sp.
Photo by
S Navie, Univ Queensland, AU
rose shell azalea
Small seedlings, or stoloniferous offshoots like these are commonly seen where deer keep mature plants trimmed.
Photo by
R Parker
Bloodroot
This distinctive leaf is usually seen by the second spring after sowing. First year underground growth is shown in right corner.
Photo by
R Parker
Pitcher Plant
Seedlings in half sphagnum, half sand, with dime for scale. Note seeds still on some cotyledons, and the start of an actual pitcher in inset.
Photo by
Rosemarie Parker
wood poppy
Distinctive leaves even when young. A very prolific self-sower in moist woods. Non-native in NY.
Photo by
R Parker
Smooth Blue Aster
Thick, bluish leaves distinguish S. laeve even when young. The one on the left is likely 1-2 yrs.
Photo by
R Parker
New England aster
Most Symphyotrichum look the same at this point (cotyledons).
Photo by
R Parker
White Trillium
First year growth is underground, then cotyledon (12 months), first true leaf (24 mo). Typical 3-lobed leaf after roughly 36 months.
Photo by
R Parker
Golden Alexanders
Cotyledons are long and pointed, and first leaves are simple, not lobed as in the adult. The serration helps with ID.
Photo by
R Parker