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Plant Identification: Mystery Plant

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AKB9355
Great Falls, VA

October 2, 2012
7:32 AM

Post #9293430

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?

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jasminesmom

jasminesmom
Saugerties, NY
(Zone 5a)

October 2, 2012
7:37 AM

Post #9293438

It looks like some type of begonia, others will know for sure..
TomH3787
Raleigh, NC
(Zone 7b)

October 2, 2012
7:43 AM

Post #9293448

Astilbe
AKB9355
Great Falls, VA

October 2, 2012
9:25 AM

Post #9293550

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.
Thanks

greenthumb99

greenthumb99
Lucketts, VA
(Zone 7a)

October 2, 2012
6:42 PM

Post #9294131

You can always isolate the plant by potting it up. Once it blooms and is identified you can decide how you want to deal with it. As long as it is not allowed to go to seed it poses no threat.
KayJones
Lee's Summit, MO
(Zone 6a)

October 2, 2012
6:44 PM

Post #9294136

It looks like a Begonia to me.
TomH3787
Raleigh, NC
(Zone 7b)

October 2, 2012
6:56 PM

Post #9294152

It's not a begonia - they do not have compound leaves. Also the only common begonia hardy to zone 6b is Begonia grandis (which is clearly not the pictured plant).
Why do you think it's not an Astilbe? There are several species, hybrids and many different cultivars. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/adv_search.php?searcher[common]=&searcher[family]=&searcher[genus]=astilbe&searcher[species]=&searcher[cultivar]=&searcher[hybridizer]=&searcher[grex]=&search_prefs[blank_cultivar]=&search_prefs[sort_by]=rating&images_prefs=both&Search=Search For a better chance at ID, try protecting the plant from deer/rabbits in the spring so you can get a pic of the flowers.
altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

October 2, 2012
8:39 PM

Post #9294270

Looks like astilbe to me too... leaves, buds and hairiness all match. Not a begonia.
Here's a pic to compare to, for the non-believers (scroll down to the Astilbe picture and click on it):
http://torontogardening.blogspot.ca/2009/06/everythings-in-bud.html

This message was edited Oct 2, 2012 8:40 PM
AKB9355
Great Falls, VA

October 3, 2012
4:18 AM

Post #9294400

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.
altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

October 3, 2012
6:42 AM

Post #9294502

[quote="AKB9355"] Can they self-seed or hybridize? [/quote]

Yes, of course they can self-seed, and also hybridize but there's probably no need to invoke that.

Anyway, look at the flower bud.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

October 3, 2012
6:56 AM

Post #9294515

Astilbe chinensis has prickly leaves


https://plantdatabase.kwantlen.ca/plant/plantDetail/467
AKB9355
Great Falls, VA

October 4, 2012
11:18 AM

Post #9295795

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.
FlowerAddict68
Ridgecrest, CA

October 4, 2012
1:39 PM

Post #9295917

It does look very similar to a young astilbe; leaves, flowerbud ect..

I don't see a resemblance to Saxifrage. I agree, saxifrage is a big family, but the leaf and flower structure of saxifrage is different from your image above.

As for the possibility of astilbe seeds finding their way around your yard... astilbe seeds are very small (around 380K per oz.), so the wind or even birds/animals can help distribute seeds.

If the conditions in your garden are right, volunteer hybrid plants may appear.

kwanjin

kwanjin
West Valley City, UT
(Zone 7a)

October 4, 2012
2:15 PM

Post #9295942

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.
AKB9355
Great Falls, VA

October 5, 2012
6:36 AM

Post #9296444

Just curious- have any of you ever had volunteer astilbe?
altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

October 5, 2012
6:58 AM

Post #9296460

I don't understand why you seem to be doubting that they are capable of reproducing from seed?
kkane
Davis, CA
(Zone 9a)

October 5, 2012
10:45 AM

Post #9296632

An astilbe couldn't cross with a thistle. Different genus and species.
kristenbarney
Arlington, VA

October 6, 2012
5:56 AM

Post #9297265

Hello,

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.

Please let me know if you can help.

Thanks, Kris

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mbbtn
Bulls Gap, TN

October 6, 2012
6:37 AM

Post #9297319

wineberry? Rubus phoenicolasius
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

October 6, 2012
8:03 AM

Post #9297400

Kris--I'd start a new thread for your question, it'll get more views that way and it'll save on confusion since your plant is not the same one that AKB9355 is still trying to ID.
AKB9355
Great Falls, VA

October 7, 2012
5:56 AM

Post #9298252

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.

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