Kill it, eat it, leave it be?

okieveganApril 18, 2014

Okay, it grows rapidly, it tries to take over everything. It doesn't get that tall (based on last year). It's very soft and furry. The roots snap off even if I try to carefully dig them out.

So, what is it and what do I want to do with it? Can I eat it? Should I make into a salve to cure dry skin? Can it kill Bermuda? Should I declare war on it?

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slowpoke_gardener

If it kills Bermuda, save the seeds, you will be rich.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:18PM
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OklaMoni

what was the mature size of it?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:28PM
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chickencoupe

LOL

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:26PM
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OklaMoni

is the stem square? almost looks like some kind of mint.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:28PM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

Looks more like a kind of nightshade to me, in which case it's poisonous and should not be eaten.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:31PM
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wbonesteel(7)

Heh. That's what I was gonna say, Slimy. 'Don't eat it! You don't know where it's been!'

iow, if you don't know what it is, don't eat it.

Okievegan, If it is nightshade, though, it can be useful for other purposes.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:54PM
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okievegan

So, to sum up, it could be mint or a biological weapon?

Y'all don't leave me with much of a middle ground.

Mom, I'm not sure of the mature size of it. Last year, I kept trying to kill it. Emphasis on the "trying" because I obviously failed miserably...it's already back.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:01AM
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wbonesteel(7)

The pic offers a look at some of the smaller leaves. We have no idea of the color, shape and structure on the main stem, no flowers - or color, size and shape of same.

There honestly isn't enough information to judge, here.

So...if you don't want it in your garden, kill it...with extreme prejudice. Cover the area with cardboard or black plastic, weighted down by rocks and leave it there for a few weeks.

...or use roundup or another appropriate weed killer, if it won't endanger pets or other plantings.

Pull, dig and hoe, mebbe....and keep pulling, digging and hoeing, as needed.

One definition of 'weed' is simply a plant that is growing where you don't want it to grow. e.g. to some, if a tomato is growng in their roses, the tomato is a 'weed'.

So, if the plant you've asked about is growing where you don't want it, kill it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:49AM
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MiaOKC

Is it sort of gray-ish green? We have been fighting smooth groundcherry/chinese lantern weed/husk tomato weed. Physalis longifolia var. subglabrata

The babies look a bit like what you have, and have sort of a fuzzy green-gray look. They tend to grow taller, though, sort of horizontally creeping along then popping up in some ornamental and getting to be a foot tall, hiding in the other plant. I was finally able to ID with the help of this group when the yellow flowers on the undersides of leaves and small husks started to form. It's in the nightshade family, if it is the same.

Here are some pics I had on file, but these are when the plant is bigger.

Here is a link that might be useful: smooth groundcherry

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:16AM
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okievegan

The picture I had posted WAS two plants...not just stems off a plant.

Here are a couple of pics of them in the yard. Please excuse the dog poop, but they are in her area.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:21PM
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okievegan

Message message message just let me post the pic already!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:23PM
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okievegan

MiaOKC, I've been looking at a lot of sites about ground cherries and I am now convinced that you are right....I've got ground cherries. I'd have more if I had found this out sooner...I ripped up a bunch two days. :(

So, verdict is in, eat it. Though, looks like Cookie's bathroom area will have to be moved.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:24PM
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okievegan

Okay, so this made me giggle:

"Ground cherries should be started from seeds indoors, approximately four to six weeks before your last spring frost date. They can be started in cell packs or soil blocks. They can be slow to germinate, but be patient. Once they get going, they will grow steadily until it's time to start hardening them off. Harden them off and plant them out after danger of frost is past."

I'd never have any if all that work were really necessary!!

I wonder where mine came from?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:30PM
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chickencoupe

The USDA database says they are native and prolific throughout Oklahoma. I've not seen one, until now, the entirety of my life. What an exciting find.

I wonder if they can be cross bred with tasty heirloom varieties? I wonder how long it would take to change the strain and if the new strain would weaken their invasiveness, make them more edible . e.g.

How awesome (except they like to grow in Cookie's bathroom)!

bon

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:07PM
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MiaOKC

Okievegan, our house came with them in the flowerbeds (along with lots of sticktights, etc.) from neglect. We let them grow the first year to find out what they are, thought they were ornamental Chinese Lantern plants. However, for us the husks never became anything that was edible. They didn't fruit out inside the husk, I don't think, but the husks would open and drop a billion seeds. They creep along, rooting along the stem kind of like bermuda, and spread like crazy in our flowerbeds so we ultimately decided to pull them. It's taken a while to get where we only have a few. I went out today and saw some babies. Snapped a few pics with my phone to show you what the baby in my flowerbeds looks like, will post them in a bit. I'll see if I can find the thread where OKGWers identified them for me, too.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:23PM
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MiaOKC

Small one. Weird tiny dead snake just happened to be there, I didn't place it for size or anything.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:45PM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

Ground cherries are delicious! Wait for them to drop from the plant and store them at room temperature for a day or two before eating them, for best flavor.

This post was edited by Slimy_Okra on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 19:49

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:48PM
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MiaOKC

And here's another. Often the leaves are totally chewed up, and lots of tiny babies near the bigger ones (see lower right).

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:50PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

That's a brown snake...they're very common in Oklahoma flower beds ;) They eat slugs for one thing, yes I agree, Ground Cherry of some type...just remember this: (excerpt from a online journal)
Physalis mollis, commonly known as smooth ground cherry, has been used as a fly poison. So in other words, if you don't know...do be careful with eating it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:06PM
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okievegan

Well, mine is definitely not smooth. It's so soft and fluffy that I'm tempted to cuddle it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:25PM
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wbonesteel(7)

Ok. That's a new one. Someone looks at a weed in their garden and cries, "Fluffy!!"

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 1:37AM
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okievegan

Not a weed....ground cherries. Don't try to make me out as a weirdo.

:P

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 7:19AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I grew several varieties of ground cherries on purpose last summer, hoping to get fruit for pies and jelly. The plants became huge monsters up to 4-5' tall and about as wide. They encroached on everything around them and really didn't produce all that much fruit. It was such a small amount that I didn't even pick it . We were in various stages of drought, which likely didn't help. Granted, they were in the new back garden which was planted for the first time last year and the soil wasn't improved at all, but other veggies, flowers and herbs grew great all around them and were very productive, so I don't think the soil was the issue. I considered them a total waste of space. This year I going to put down cardboard on the ground where they grew and cover it with a thick layer of half-rotted hay and grass clippings. I want to be sure that these plants and their descendants don't grow in our garden this summer or ever again.

We have them growing wild along a roadside a couple of miles from our house---along a fence line beside a gravel road near an old farmstead where someone runs cattle but nobody lives. I've marveled at how tough the native ground cherry plants are, considering they get no care whatsoever and we spend much or all of most summers in drought. I've never noticed that they produce very much, though they do flower and form the little paper husks in the summer months.

These are not something I'll ever plant again. Maybe they are productive in better soil and with more rainfall, but in our garden about the best thing you could say about them is that they survived a dry, hot summer.

Okievegan, Because they are in the nightshade family and could be harmful to Cookie if she ate them, I'd kill those invasive things. I don't know if you can dig down deeply enough to get the roots. If you use synthetic herbicides, one of those products might kill them. I don't use herbicides so I am going to try smothering them before they sprout out back.

Dawn

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 8:31AM
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wbonesteel(7)

See! I was right! Kill it.

okievegan, we're gardeners. We're ALL kinda weird, really. :D Have you ever noticed the looks your family and friends give you when you go on and on about your garden? You're all excited and enthusiastic, while behind that fixed smile on their faces, they're thinking, 'Gardening? What's exciting about that??'

Or even strangers..."That's a beautiful garden!" they say, just before they give you The Look. ;) ...because you've got dirt under fingernails and mud on your knees...and the wind has blown your hair into a disheveled mess. ...while your face is plastered with the biggest smile in the world.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:58AM
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okievegan

Hahahahahaha....wbonesteel, that is exactly how I view people who DON'T garden!

Dawn, my yard is full of things that are poisonous to dogs. Cookie, thankfully, has never been the type to graze or chew on anything other than dirt, occasionally, when she has a stomachache. However, I will continue to snap off those ground cherry seedlings because I certainly don't want them to take over the whole place. Digging them up just isn't possible. Last year, I watered the area really well and then tried to the next day...couldn't find roots! I'd be digging around a little seedling, looking for the root, when it would suddenly snap off and it would be like a root never existed beyond the few centimeters left on the seedling.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:28AM
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