What is This Plant?

may8(Z4 MN)October 25, 2009

Hi, I got this plant in a the spring swap, but I do not remember what it is and wether or not it is hardy. Therefore, I dug it up. Can you help?


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Looks like it might be the herb tarragon. If it's real French tarragonÂpropagated only vegetativelyÂit will have a fairly strong scent. I grow quite a lot of it and it's generally hardy for me. I do cover my tarragon bed with marsh hay after the ground is frozen. (Of course if it's not tarragon, none of this applies...) GaryStPaul

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 11:18AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I'm inclined to agree with Gary. Give it a pinch and a smell , if it is tarragon you'll know. I've had mine for years and I don't bother mulching it and it does just fine.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 8:40PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Looks like the French tarragon that I brought to the spring swap. They were divisions of my long established tarragon. It is hardy. I don't always mulch my herb bed. I would mulch if it is going to be replanted now, as I mulch all late planted perennials to delay soil freezing and give the roots more time to get established.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 12:11AM
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may8(Z4 MN)

Thank you very much for all of your help! It does resemble tarragon in the picture, because it does not show the size of the leaves. They are much bigger, about 1/2 inch wide and 2 and 1/2 inces long, almost look like bamboo leaves. They do not smell like tarragon, either. Any other thoughts? Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 2:02PM
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Difficult to tell from the photo. If you pick a leaf, does it exude milky juice? If it's been growing in shadier conditions, it could be swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Another possibility is ironweed (Vernonia sp.) You might search for images of these and compare them with your plant. If not, ask again.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 9:36PM
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may8(Z4 MN)

No, it does not exude milky juice. I tried to look it up on an ID site based on the leaves. The closest is something called Laurel(?) oak tree. But the color is not the same and I think it is a plant or bush, not a tree. Doses anyone know of a good ID site for bushes and plants?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 3:37PM
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Try the Name That Plant forum on this very website.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 5:57AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Maybe amsonia, blue star. Did the leaves turn golden yellow/orange this fall?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 4:10PM
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may8(Z4 MN)

It may be amsonia, blue star and the leaves are turning yellow. From some of the descriptions, the leaves are 6" long, mine is only 2.5" and it did not have any flowers. It did not grow much for the season either. Maybe it needed more sun than part shade. I think I just keep it inside for the winter and plant it outside in the spring and see what happen. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 2:03PM
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You may be seeing descriptions of mature amsonia. It takes three years for the plant to develop fully--you probably won't see flowers before that. The leaves are great once it's established (flowers are nothing special though). Your plant looks like young amsonia to me.

A bit of bad news is that amsonia doesn't like being moved. Maybe treating it nice indoors all winter, however, will make up for the move.

It seems like the plant ought to be fine in less sun since it's not a big bloomer.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 7:04AM
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