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This plant appeared in my zone 6B garden this spring in full sun. It's about 12-18 inches tall, has a prickly stem, had a flower bud but that was eaten before it could bloom. It does not appear to be spreading but I don't know if it's something I should eradicate before it takes hold. I have stumped local Master Gardeners with it. Ideas?
Astilbe crossed with a thistle maybe. Though that was one of my early guesses, the stems are prickly and the leaves are not quite astilbe. Pretty sure it's not a begonia either. Please keep the ideas coming.
Maybe it is an astilbe. That was my initial guess. It doesn't look like any of the varieties in my garden though. Can they self-seed or hybridize? The leaves don't seem quite right and it's stems are not just hairy, they are prickly. I sent a sample off to the VA Tech plant id lab and they didn't know either. I guess I'll protect it from the deer and see if I can figure it out next spring.
I keep thinking okay I'm crazy this is an astilbe and then I go out to look at it and I think, really? IF it is an astilbe it either had to self seed from a distance, since I have no close neighbors, or it hybridized or reverted from any of the 5 or so chinensis and japonica varieties I have had in my garden for the last 10-15 years- none of which look similar to this plant. That said, I have never had a volunteer astilbe before. I concede it is probably from the Saxifrage family, a pretty big family, but still not convinced. If anyone has any other suggestions let me know, otherwise I'll try and see a flower next year and maybe that will solve it. Thanks.
I'm firmly in the Astilbe camp. Just because one hasn't had a plant reseed itself before is no reason to think one could never have it happen. As Moon said, Astilbe chinensis is prickly and that flower spike is exactly right for Astilbe.
Can you help me identify this plant? I found it in my community garden plot in the Virginia Coastal Plain. It has small, heart-shaped green leaves (1-2 inches). In 3 years I have never seen it flower. The stems are square, red, and white. The stems are connected to rather large (compared to the leaves) roots which are tubers or rhizomes. The roots go pretty deep in the ground and the stems pull away very easily from the roots. The plants spread in a clumped area. I placed a lot of the roots and some of the leaves together in the photo.
I know it looks like an astilbe. I know it can't cross with a thistle. :). And for reasons other than the fact I've never had a self-seeded volunteer, I still have doubts (although I'm still curious if others have had astilbe self-seed in their gardens). If it were that straight forward I would have expected, given a sample of the plant and a description, that my master gardeners and the VT plant lab would have been able to ID it. Anyone have ideas outside the box before I give up and just continue to watch it? Thanks.