I'm back. This plant is popping up all over around here. Some are seemingly coming out of nowhere, amidst hillsides completely covered in rock, sides of the road, amongs shrubs behind office buildings. This is one that we broke off, it was growing like a runner, the main plant, from the best we could tell, was about 10 feet back and about 18 feet tall. They seem to grow upright for the most part. Some of the leaves are larger than a basketball, and I understand that they get much larger. The leaves are very fuzzy and the stalk is moist just under the bark, but almost bamboo like on the inside. I've asked around, some say it's a mosquito plant, others said fig, I only know that it's interesting and very pretty (so, it's probably invasive).
SOLVED: Large fuzzy leaves
Looks like velvet leaf (Abutilion theophrasti). Most farmers hate it with a passion.
Velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) has alternate leaf arrangement. From justdeb's first photo, this plant has leaves that are oppositely arranged.
At the risk of crossing the mystical zone 7 boundary, I'm agreeing with growin on Paulownia tomentosa, Royal Empress Tree, especially with justdeb's description that it is "...popping up all over around here." Hallmark of invasive species, and certainly common practice for Paulownia. It will have very light airy seeds that can blow a good distance and thus end up a villain in quite a few unlikely places.
I'd hate an 18' Abutilon, too, but I think I'd be running away (with a passion) first.
Thank you. After looking up Paulownia tomentosa it looks like you found it! Thank you. Guess it is a good thing that I checked into it first. It really is a beautiful leaf, very lush and tropical looking. So many of my coworkers have identified that they have it growing in their yard and they love it. Probably the same way mimosa started out. Apparently, they take 8 - 10 years to bloom. I don't recall ever seeing any blooms on them, so it's only just begun. :-)
Thank you again for your help, everyone.
It's a great place for the volunteer Paulownia; not so great for that deck and house. I'd suggest you relocate them. There are some great structural engineering firms out there that specialize in moving buildings. Check out their credentials first, though, with ASCE and BBB, and make sure they have insurance.
Give the Paulownia room for about 50' spread, and you should be fine. I've heard that you should dig around one-third of the foundation at a time, a couple transplant seasons ahead of when you actually intend to move the house, to prepare it for transplant shock.
•Apply Messenger and hydrogel crystals in the backfill around the house when it is in place, and tamp firmly to help it "settle in".
•You should never fertilize for the first year.
•Observe closely for any pests that may show up after the move (like nosy neighbors and distant relatives); spray twice weekly with equal parts fresh manure/pureed ginkgo fruit/bland white zinfandel to control.
I have a method to determine if something is a weed or a plant that I want. If I try to kill it and it lives, it's a weed. If I try and tend it and it dies, it was something that I really wanted (and likely paid a lot of money for).
LOL, VibVal! :) And justdeb, I find the same characteristics with weeds, until I decide I want them and try to move them. THEN, they die on me!
I'm going to try to move this Paulownia. I figure, if I prune it heavily, then dig it up and plop it elsewhere, I might fool it into thinking I'm trying to kill it. Then it should recover nicely :o) Thanks for posting yours for ID, cos it solved my question, too! :)