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Mystery Plants

Posted by Crazy_Gardener ~Z2b~ AB Canada (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 3, 05 at 23:15


Is this some kind of Tickseed, Coreopsis?


I have this in two places and I don't remember planting it, hope its not a weed. It is about 4 feet tall and looks like it going to have yellow blooms? Any ideas?

TIA
Sharon


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mystery Plants

Yes, Coreopsis tinctoria, looks like.

The second one is a puzzle...are the leaves opposite?


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RE: Mystery Plants

Hi, Sharon. The first one looks to be Coreopsis tinctoria:

http://home.att.net/~larvalbugbio/coreopsis.html

I would guess the second to be a variety of Goldenrod (Solidago sp.).

http://images.google.com/images?q=goldenrod&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&safe=active&client=safari&rls=en-us&sa=N&tab=wi

I really like the looks of that coreopsis. I'll have to find room for it in my garden next year!

Doris


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RE: Mystery Plants

Boy you gals are fast, LOL.

Lori, if you look above the soon-to-be blooms you'll see how the leaves are arranged in a whorled form.
hmmmm, don't think its Goldenrod, its more like an Aster or some kind of daisy type flower, Chrysanthemum?

I figured it must be Coreopsis tinctoria too because it looks alot like my Coreopsis tinctoria 'Dwarf Red' that I have growing in the garden too, but only this one is a shorter compact variety.


Coreopsis tinctoria 'Dwarf Red'

Sharon


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RE: Mystery Plants

Does it have somewhat fleshy leaves?
This may be totally out-to-lunch, but the way the flower buds are held in cymes, and what look like, individually, pretty insignificant flowers makes me wonder if you happened to grow any strange sedums from seed last year (or, I suppose, this year)...maybe Hylotelephium maximum or Hylotelephium telephium?


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RE: Mystery Plants

Lori, on closer inspection the leaves are alternate than whorled. The flowers, hmmm, kind of look like some kind of Ragwort (Senecio).

I will have to google Hylotelephium maximum and Hylotelephium telephium, I did sow some Sedum seeds from GN, but I don't recall those names.... that's what I get for sowing too many seeds!!!!

Tomorrow, I will take a good close-up photo of the leaves and hopefully they'll open up more to tell what it is.

Sharon


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RE: Mystery Plants

I looked at Senecios too...
It doesn't look like any of the "weedy" varieties - they have deeply divided leaves and flower buds like miniature sow thistles. Perhaps one of the ornamental species (though I don't know which), if it is a Senecio?
Sharon, please do post a close-up of the leaves and flowers if some open today - this is intriguing!

Do some of the leaves have a serrated edge?

Here is one of the Hylotelephium pix that I thought might show similarities (see link).

Can you tell if your plant is a sedum or not, ie. fleshy leaves? (It appears that Garden's North sold a sedum mix that included the species I mentioned.) Just a thought or wild guess, anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hylotelephium


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RE: Mystery Plants

No serrated edges on the leaves Lori.

No, I don't believe its any kind of Sedum syn Hylotelephium, although according to my records I did wintersow HYLOTELEPHIUM maximum seed from GN and its in another bed, the leaves are not fleshy at all on the mystery plant.

Here I got some better pics today, blooms are just starting to open. Maybe, just maybe....its a Goldenrod like you said Doris, but what species? LOL






btw, can you see the little bug in the bottom right corner, what is this?

The leaves are bigger at the bottom leading up smaller as they grow.

This is really driving me nuts ;)

Thanks for all your help!

Sharon


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RE: Mystery Plants

Sharon, I'm having trouble with the plant, let alone the bug, LOL! Yes, it's obvious from this new batch of photos that it's not a sedum of any kind. (Hey, it was probably pretty obvious to most from the first set, LOL!)

Doris, I think you're on the right track. I think it's Solidago rigida, Stiff Goldenrod...but please correct that if anyone thinks otherwise. Common, very widespread in dry open areas from Alberta to Ontario, and south to New Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico states.

Description:
-stems 3 to 8 dm tall, coarse and stiff, covered with fine hairs (are they?)
-leaves alternate, oblong to elliptic, thick and firm, nearly entire (i.e. seldom toothed), fine hairs on both sides, 1-nerved but with lateral nerves (i.e. veins) sometimes evident; basal leaves with long stems on which the long stems are not hairy, upper leaves clasp the stems
-flowers in relatively large heads in rather dense corymb-like cymes, rounded or flat-topped

Wow, they look like good specimens - probably a lot bigger and more lush than in the wild!
If you plan to keep them, it would be interesting to take note if they are invasive. It sounds as though this species would not be - one source of mine says "thick, branched woody roots; grow deeply into prairie turf"; another says "caudex and fibrous roots" (as opposed to rhizomes), so that sounds pretty nonthreatening.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solidago rigida flowerhead


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RE: Mystery Plants

Oh my gawd Lori, I think you got it! Yes, both sides of the leaves do feel like they have fine hairs!

I'll have to do some more googling on S. rigida so that I can see the leaves, but I'm sure its what you said and thanks Doris for suggesting it being somekind of Goldenrod.

Its funny in all the native/wildflower books I have I couldn't identify it and like I said before I have no idea how it got here. I have this plant in a couple places, but now that I think of it, they were just leaves about 4" high last year with no blooms and now flowering this year.

Thank you,
Sharon


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RE: Mystery Plants

I don't recall stiff goldenrod having big leaves at the base. There is some on the way to work and I'll try to remember to stop and look tomorrow. But it has to at least be a close relative. Here (and in the wild) they always have only one to few flowering stems. But that might be because yours is garden grown. Those here also form more of a flat top head, like Lori's link does.

Rick


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RE: Mystery Plants

Yes, Rick - not something I've ever noticed in the wild either. I was actually going from a written description but this link shows some photos of the basal (and other) leaves and has quite a detailed description. Thoughts?

Here is a link that might be useful: Solidago rigida link


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RE: Mystery Plants

Lori the link you provided is a good one, although I don't see any tinge of red in the stems, maybe they turn this colour later in the fall. But everything else matches up to a T.

I will mark the plant and next year give it a good pruning to make it bushier so that they will not lean over so much and maybe move the other plant over into the wild garden.

Sharon


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RE: Mystery Plants

Ok, back with my report with regard to our wild stiff goldenrod here in Minnesota:

Yours is indeed Solidago rigida. Ours do have the large basal leaves, to some extent. Some have none, some have up to five. I really had to look to find them in the grass, and I am not surprised I missed them before. I wonder if in the wild they tend to die off as summer progresses, or perhaps as the plant matures, it does not produce them and goes directly into flowering mode from spring emergence.

While I still stick to my flat head comment, I see now that that applies to the best bloom stage here. I wouldn't be surprised if they are the earliest blooming of all Solidago species. Native stiff goldenrod here are now way past prime bloom, and have taken on the inflorescence shape of your mystery plant photos.

I wonder how your new plant will behave next year? Somewhat differently, I'll wager.

That was a great link you found, Lori.

Rick


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RE: Mystery Plants

Is the bug a lacewing? It looks like it could be from the top... just a wild guess.


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RE: Mystery Plants

Well, I'd say it's not a green lacewing - the only kind I think I can recognize! Apparently there are 4 "or so" species of lacewings in Alberta, including Brown Lacewings and "blotchy" ones (from Bugs of Alberta, John Acorn; a fun book to read, it showcases the "125 coolest species of bugs" out of the 20,000 or so). The green lacewings sure are pretty things - lime green with gold eyes - they look so fragile yet also so predatory (with the big eyes and pointy little faces). Assuming (and I sure don't know this!) that all lacewings have the same "build", the wings should be right behind the head, and the bug in the picture doesn't seem to be built this way...but who knows. Any entomologists out there?

Hey, if we're going to be ID'ing bugs now, we're gonna need a side view and a closeup. Sharon, can you check if it's still out there? ;)


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RE: Mystery Plants

Thanks Rick for your verification, hope you didnt get your work clothes dirty walking into the fields confirming if it had larger basal leaves ;)

Funny how our plants bloom at different times, the Solidago canadensis and cultivars are blooming way before the Solidago rigida in my garden.

I wonder how your new plant will behave next year? Somewhat differently, I'll wager. What do you think they'll behave like?

I will try my best to get a side view of the mystery bug, but dont ask me if his legs are hairy! ;)

Sharon


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RE: Mystery Plants

Was at Mom and Dad's today-about 50 miles away. They also have stiff goldenrod. Theirs is in full bloom, with some at the flat head stage and some older, but none as far along as the ones on the way to my work. Took some photos, but not sure how they will come out. It is a windy day here.

Well, I don't know when the sun rises way up there, but it is still dark at 3:45 am when I go to work (chuckle). No, I checked the goldenrod after work. If I had to where a suit or nice clothes to work, well, I don't think I'd be working there too long. Then again, don't make a lot a money either. But I'm happy, and that's what counts in my book.

I'm wagering your goldenrod(let's nickname him-Stiffy?) Will settle down a bit next year. I think Stiffy will have less foliage, and more flowers. And He'll be more true to type(at least my type) in flower form too. But no fertilizing please. It is a wildflower.

This phenomenom is not unheard of with alpine plants grown in troughs. Of course, these plants like very lean soils, and when planted in new troughs with new soil, the nutrients are ripe for the picking and the plants can grow uncharacteristically lush. Even a lean soil can have that rush of available nutrients. But being in a confined container, the excess nutrients are used and/or leached in a season, and the plant returns to it's "normal" stature the following year. However, Stiffy is not in a confined situation, so I can't say if this will really hold true.

Rick.


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RE: Mystery Plants

You leave for work at 3:45?!?!

And here I was whining about having to get up again at quarter to 6, after being on vacation for 3 weeks...hey, I've never denied being a wimp!

By the way, I'll hide the following comment in this post...since it seems everyone else is being silent on the subject...

IT FROZE HERE THIS MORNING!

Gaaaaahhhh! There was frost on the roofs in our neighborhood, and frost on the grass through the open areas and down by the river, so at least NW Calgary got it. My hands were freezing by the time I got to work (it's two pairs of gloves from now on), and it's supposed to be colder tonight. Urk, I was just compelled by some evil impulse to share that...


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RE: Mystery Plants

Hello Abgardeneer,

I start work at 5:30 am though its only a short walk from where I sleep.

FWIW the rooftops around here had white on them the last two mornings.
The min/max thermometer in the carport said 2.0Cplus this morning. No damage as yet that I can see.
The weather here has turned to rain so no predictions of anything that cool in the weather forecasts.

Ian


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RE: Mystery Plants

I would hesitate to call it Solidago rigida, comparing it to photos I've taken I've of them growing wild.

In the third photo from the top, plant on the left edge of the photo, the flowering stems appear far longer and in a much looser arrangement than the ones I've photographed. Garden growing natives can distort their growth habit, but this is to a degree I wouldn't be confident Id'ing the plant.

Compare the plants in the 3rd photo above to the ones in the third photo at the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stiff Goldenrod


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RE: Mystery Plants

Glen, your photo is what I called the best bloom stage. They look exactly the same as the ones here in MN. But have you seen them weeks after? The inflorescence takes on a configuration like Sharon's pic. And given Lori's link pic and this pic I found in Wildflowers Grasses & other Plants of the Northern Plains and Black Hills, there sure seems to be a bit of diversity.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Lil' Stiffy very well could be a different species, but I can't find anything in my books (although none are Canadian) that even remotely fit the bio. maybe someone else can? So far, I am still inclined to say it is the garden vs. prairie phenomenom.

BTW, I discovered in my lookings: did you know stiff goldenrod is a nitrogen fixer? But not only does the literature say it's not as efficient as legumes, there is no evidence that the nitrogen fixing organisms actually benefit the plant.

Rick


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RE: Mystery Plants

According to your photos Glen, my plant does not have any red tinge in the stems. So maybe its not S. stiffy after all ;)

We got pretty low last night and the sky was as clear as could be with not a trace of wind, but thank goodness no "F" last night. I guess its time to start hauling some of the tenders into the greenhouse soon.

Sharon


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RE: Mystery Plants

Sharon,

I too don't think you have Solidago rigida. The growth habit is just too different from the plants that I grow in my own garden which resemble those posted by Glen. I think it's some kind of Gnaphalium (Marsh cudweed) - maybe Gnaphalium palustre or uliginosum?


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RE: Mystery Plants

Oh boy, this is fun - playing at being a botanist! I'm learning a few new words, anyway, LOL!

I browsed through Gnaphalium palustre and G. uliginosum in my weed book previously too... and ombining it with Moss'Flora of Alberta, here's what they say:

G. palustre:
-low spreading annual; stems at first erect then diffusely branching from base and spreading
- the leaves are alternate, oblong to lance-shaped, 1 to 3 cm long, with a single vein, stalkless (this plant has stalked basal leaves), covered with loose felty hairs; leaf margins smooth to slightly wavy
- flowers in small leafy terminal or axillary clusters of 3 to 10; heads in leafy-bracted clusters
-plant usually 5 to 20 cm tall

G. uliginosum - often confused with above species;leaves are narrower than above; whole plant covered with fine white hairs (distinguished from other species by the narrowness of the leaves, discoloration of involucral bracts at tips, by being finely tomentose overall)

G. viscosum:
- annual or biennial; stem 3-9 dm tall; leaves 4-10 cm long, 5-20mm wide, linear to oblanceolate, sessile, extending downward, upper and often lower surfaces glandular-pubescent (distinguished from the other species by the glandular leaves)
-inflorescence branched, many-headed; yellowish to white flowers

G. microcephalum:
-2-7 dm tall, stems and leaves closely white-tomentose, simple or moderately branched; leaves numerous, broadly linear or lower oblanceolate, 3-10 cm long, somewhat pointing downward at the base
-white to tan flowers

The cudweeds species that occur here sound like plants with generally narrow leaves, and lacking the distinctive stalked basal leaves in Sharon's photo.

I wonder if different varieties of Solidago rigida might account for the differences noted? Moss says the species in Alberta is S. rigida var. humilis Porter (S. parvirigida Beaudry). Would it be the same variety in your areas, Glen, Rick and MaryV?


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RE: Mystery Plants

Oh, also... Moss, in his key to goldenrods, indicates that the infloresence of S. rigida is "rounded or flat-topped".

Vance, Jowsey, and McLean in Wildfowers Across the Prairies state that stiff goldenrod has flower heads in a "flat topped inflorescence", but show a picture of one with rounded heads. (I suppose they mean "flat-topped" in comparision to S. mollis and canadensis, the other species covered in the book.)

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Plants of the Northern Plains and Black Hills (T. Van Bruggen) also shows a photo of S. rigida with strongly domed inflorescences.

Re. red stems (not shown on Sharon's photo, but mentioned by Sharon with reference to Glen's photo), the only species for which reddish stems are specifically mentioned by Moss are S. multiradiata and spathulata.

Here's another link showing one with rounded heads.

(By the way, don't take my continuing interest to be an all-out defense of it being S. rigida - I really don't know! I'm just curious about what it is, and the keying-out procedure, or whatever means one would use to figure it out. ;>

Here is a link that might be useful: another stiff goldenrod pic with rounded heads


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RE: Mystery Plants

My solidago rigida plants are about 5 feet tall and quite sturdy. They don't seem to be leaning over like the ones shown in the pictures. They are growing in 3/4 sun not in full sun like these plants seem to be. You would think that plants growing in less sun would tend to lean more. On the other hand, they are in raised beds and we've had a pretty dry summer here so that may account for the difference. They are certainly not as lush and full as these plants and I've had them for about 10 years and don't recall them ever appearing that way. My plants have red markings on the stems and the leaves seem to bend forward towards the stalk. I also don't have the large basal leaves as shown in the pictures. They truly do look similar to Glen's pictures. I'm sure that I have the straight species, Solidago rigida.

What's bothering me the most is that I know this plant! I've seen it many times before and I'm certain that it belongs to the Asteracaea family.

Sharon, do you remember growing Solidago rigida? If you grew it from seed, they look like 3 year plants. Your pretty thourough in keeping records so you might be able to give us more clues. How tall are your plants now? Have the buds open further? I'll do some further investigating with my friends at the Botanical Garden and send news. This is bugging me!


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RE: Mystery Plants

Went out and had a look at the plants after work. Photos are from Aug 20th and today, Sep 7th.

They look exactly the same in fruit as in flower.

I thought they would look identical, I can't recall any herbaceous plant where the flowering stems continue to grow for weeks and weeks (or even at all) once the plant begins to set seed. You've seen something Rick that I haven't.

The photo you posted Rick I think pretty closely resembles some of the plants in the photos on the link I provided, now thumbnails in this post.

Lori - the literature I checked when I keyed the plant in the field said a somewhat flat topped, and, flat topped inflorescence (Budd's Flora, and A Taxanomic Reminder For Recognizing Saskatchewan Plants).

S. multirada doesn't have leaves that are rough or gray pubescent and habitat is boreal, montane, and alpine meadows (it's out), and S. spathulata has decumbent stems and a narrow erect panicle (it's out) - Budd's Flora.












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bottom thumbnail

...appears to be dead.

Another try



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RE: Mystery Plants

Thanks everyone for helping me find out what this darn mystery plant is, maybe I should just yank it and forget about it. LOL. No I won't do that, IMO, I like the plant even though I don't the exact name ;)

Marilena, nothing really has changed since posting the second set of photos, its still around 4 feet and the buds are sure taking their sweet time opening up for a full bloom shot.

They are planted in part-sun, in a bed that has been ammended with compost and aged cow manure, most likely why they are lush and leaning to the side.

According to my records, the only Solidago's I started from seed are

Solidago sphacelata Golden Baby 2004 - purchased seed
Solidago 'Crown of Rays' 2005 - trade Lori
Solidago canadensis 'Goldkind' 2005 - trade Lori

The only thing I can think of is that it blew over into the garden (remember I live out in the country), bird dropping or a mixup trade.

Sharon


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RE: Mystery Plants

Well, I would hold my ground in this debate(saying it is S. rigida) except for two things:
1. The mystery plant hasn't bloomed(much), but already has taken on the form of MN native stiff goldenrod that is past peak bloom. And
2. MaryV recognizes it as something else, and knows Solidago rigida. Maybe she is remembering now ???

Anyway, these are at at my parents:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And a later bloom
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

As for the subspecies of the the taxon, I found clear descriptions lacking, but both ssp. rigida and ssp. humilis are native to MN.

Rick


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RE: Mystery Plants

After some time, I received a response about the pictures from the curator of the perennial gardens at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. It is Solidago rigida. It is not a subspecies.

Here are his comments:

For sure, I think it's from the Aster family. Second , on first sighting I wondered if it wasn't some kind of Gnaphalium but most of the species are weedy-looking and the picture doesn't illustrate that trait. Finally I think the picture depicts a well-grown specimen of Solidago rigida.

He explained to me that the difference between Sharons plants, my plants and the species photographed by Glen in the wild is climatic. The major difference between our plants is the distance between the leaf nodes (Sharons are much closer) and the red tinged stems are lacking. Sharon is growing the plant in a cooler climate, in less sun and in richer soil. Weve had little rain Sharon had lots of rain this year.

A full sun plant can lose coloration if grown in shade. Also, plants in the wild would have much leaner soil. Rick, your hardiness zone (USDA Zone 4) is about equal to mine, Canadian Zone 5 and the plants you would see in the wild would have been affected by similar temperatures.

So, Sharon I hope you don't dig the plants out. Solidago rigida is to me one of the most beautiful of the entire species.


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RE: Mystery Plants

Thanks so much for going to all that trouble, Mary. I am sure we all appreciate you going the extra mile. And I still bet Sharon's plant will act a little differently next year, simply due to the maturity of the plant. But only time will tell.

Rick


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RE: Mystery Plants

Thanks a bunch Marilena, I will now go add the official name to the photo ;)

The only difference I can say that is going to happen next year is that they will be pruned back early in the season making them sturdier and bushier. After this last bout of rain and wind on the weekend, they are leaning even more and really haven't bloomed any further.

Case closed, thank everyone and the for your expertise help!

Sharon


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RE: Mystery Plants

Sharon, are your beds full of new manure, are other plants in that bed monster-sized?

You live in the same zone as I do. I have a hard time buying that the plant in your photo could be so different than the ones I've photographed wild.

I've grown 40 or 50 SK wildflower species in my garden, none have EVER looked as different from their wild kin as your plant from the ones I've photographed.

Mary - you've garden grown this plant in z5, longer summers etc... have your plants in wetter years, ever, resembled Sharon's?


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RE: Mystery Plants

No Glen, not fresh manure if thats what your inquiring, I do use use aged manure along with homemade compost....as well, I don't use any synthetic fertilizers in the beds. The other plants in that bed are not monstrous at all.

It has been a wet year though.

Sharon


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RE: Mystery Plants

Just as a comment, perhaps relevant, perhaps not...

I've been growing Dalea purpurea for some years now from seeds originally purchased from a restoration company up in Edmonton.

This summer, my route to work has been through Bowmont Natural Environment Park, where I've, for the first time, noticed purple prairie clover in the wild. (Yeah, not too observant, I know, but anyway...)

The ones I grow at home are in horrible, unimproved clay along the fence, and any "topsoil" (a euphemistic term around here for clay with most of the rocks screened out) that may once have been there, was probably largely removed when we dug out the turf. The only benefit they get is watering from a soaker hose along the back of the bed near the fence, if there's been no rain for some time.
Compared to those I've seen this summer in an essentially "wild" setting (no mowing, no watering, no grazing), the ones at home are much larger, lusher plants. They are 2 to 4 times taller, have many more stalks per plant (about 3 on a quite robust specimen in the park, versus more than 10 and even well over 20 on my plants). The stems are also very leafy at home, while the others are very sparse. The flower heads on those in the park are compact wide little cylinders (up to ~2 cm long), while those at home are narrower, elongated wands up to 7 cm long (av. ~ 4-5cm). There is competition, too, from other plants at home, though I can't judge how it compares to that in the park.

So, even in what I think of as really crummy gardening conditions (typical of Calgary, sigh...), it seems life is a lot easier for them than in Bowmont Park...I found it surprising that the difference was so large.


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RE: Mystery Plants

No Glen, theyve never looked like that even in wetter years. But I dont recall a wet year! Its been so dry here in the last 5 years everybody wants plants that can tolerate dry shade or xeriscapic sun plants. Also, my plants are growing in a raised bed that doesnt have consistent watering and they are competing with other plants since my beds are jam packed.

My plants have always looked like the ones in your picture and I really pushed those people at the Botanical Gardens for an ID since it seemed incredible to me that a plant could change so drastically. But they insisted that indeed it is a Solidago rigida.


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RE: Mystery Plants

Green leaves with small clusters of "fruit?" I don't know how big these "fruits" are supposed to get but I'm thinking it's some type of tomato, tomatillo, or pepper? Some of them are turning black/dark reddish??

The fruits are about the size of a large bee bee. And the clusters are between 5 to 7 fruits each.

Here is a link that might be useful: mystery tomato??


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one more picture

mystery plant picture two

Here is a link that might be useful: plant pic no 2


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RE: Mystery Plants

Tayna,

I see that you live in California. I live up here in Manitoba, Canada.

I don't ever remember seeing a plant like you have before. Have you taken a picture or a piece of it to a local nursery or sent it to the local university hort department? They should be able to tell you what you have there.

Hope this helps.

Brenda


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RE: Mystery Plants

Hi Tanya.aeria.
The plant you have is known as a "sunberry". It was developed by a man in California a long time ago and didn't catch on very well. It is a close relative of the Huckberry and is mostly used in pies and baking.
I'm growing it for fun and as a tester for a nursery to see if it would be worth selling. Most people have not liked it at all. I don't mind it raw but haven't gone farther with it. My grandson likes it also but I think he feels it would work well in his peashooter hahaha
Hope this helps some Take care Lois


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