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Plant Identification: Small woody perennial "weed" with fleshy root.

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guygee
Satellite Beach, FL

March 17, 2013
4:31 PM

Post #9452784

Here is one that fascinates me since I discovered that the fleshy root is edible. It is a perenniel that grows even in deep shade under bamboo in a narrow place between my house and a fence in my East Central Florida yard. It obviously has some way to spread by seeds because it keeps finding its way into my potted plants, where it grows with vigor in well-drained coir and vermiculite, but I have not yet seen the flowers or seeds even though I have been watching this plant for a couple of years now. It first drew my attention when I pulled out a young one and noticed the small but fleshy root ... I nibbled on it and it was good. In the older plants the root get somewhat bitter, but that is cured by quickly parboiling. I tried an older root yesterday by putting it in the microwave with just a little water for one minute, then pulling off the outer skin of the root, The inside was slightly mucilaginous but after that quick cooking not bitter at all, in fact a slightly sweet and rather tasty morsel. I emphasize that the fleshy roots tend to be small, no thicker thant my pinky or at most my thumb, but any perennial plant that stores food in the ground could be a valuable resource, especially a shade-tolerant species such as this that grows where nothing else is growing in my yard. I am sure most people would consider this a weed. I wish I had more to go on but all I have are the pictures below.

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guygee
Satellite Beach, FL

March 18, 2013
1:38 AM

Post #9453107

Well this one is a potential "eat the weeds" star, as it fills a niche in my yard where nothing else grows. Also, any perennial plant that stores nutritional food in tubers, bulb or roots is like having an emergency pantry in the ground at all times. I like that idea, doomer-type that I am. I already put some of these in pots and they grew like champs, but since they are in my yard already I cleared them out again. I desperately need to find a flowering part or fruit, apparently.

I will periodically bump this one until either I figure it out or somebody steps and helps me figure it out.

This message was edited Mar 18, 2013 3:41 AM
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

March 18, 2013
9:03 AM

Post #9453462

If you put some in more sun, you may see its' true nature, if the shade was preventing it from flowering. Does it resemble other plants nearby? I hesitated to say something so simple, you've probably already thought of these things, but I'm sure I'm not the only one also curious who looked up what they could think of, with no matches worthy of suggesting to you.

Are you in zone 8 or 9?
guygee
Satellite Beach, FL

March 18, 2013
9:31 AM

Post #9453494

purpleinopp wrote:If you put some in more sun, you may see its' true nature, if the shade was preventing it from flowering. Does it resemble other plants nearby? I hesitated to say something so simple, you've probably already thought of these things, but I'm sure I'm not the only one also curious who looked up what they could think of, with no matches worthy of suggesting to you.

Are you in zone 8 or 9?


Way out here on the barrier island, south of Cape Canaveral, I say unofficial zone 10 based on the very tall Norfolk pines and the many mature coconut palms still living even after a couple of very cool winters 2009-2011. Last major freeze here was in the late 1980's. When I got here in 1993 the Norfolk pines were still "cut-off" from freezing to the ground but no sign of that now they are visible from the causeways rivaling beachfront condos in height. A few miles west on the mainland it is a completely different zone.

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