SOLVED: Need Help with ID of Low Growing Plant Possibly a Herb

Colonial Heights, VA

have had this plant in a pot for several years now and have no idea what it might be. possibly some kind of herb. grows low in the pot and trails over the edge. thanks for you help.

Thumbnail by photocat
(Zone 1)

Very pretty. My first thought was a plectranthus of some sort but I have no idea. I am real curious though and will be watching this thread in hopes that someone positively ID's it for you. Very nice looking plant!

Sarasota, FL

How big are these leaves? Looks like Swedish Ivy, Plectranthus.

(Lynn) Omaha, NE(Zone 5a)

Does it flower?
Lynn

Keaau, HI

Plectranthus australis, Swedish Ivy.

(Zone 1)

Another possibility, Malabar Spinach: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/116647/. I got the DG newsletter in e-mail this morning and that was the first subject. It kinda sorta looks like your plant. It says it's a climbing/vining/trailing herb.

More images: http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=images+of+basella+rubra&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&resnum=1&ct=title

Colonial Heights, VA

no ... it does not flower. leaves are very small, quarter inch wide probably. thanks to all trying to help.

Colonial Heights, VA

looked at pictures of Malabar Spinach and Plectranthus australis. don't think my plant is either of those. hard to tell for sure from pictures but looks like the leaves of those 2 are much bigger than those on my plant.

Brookfield, CT

Photocat, what zone are you in? Do you overwinter this plant indoors or is it hardy in your area?

Colonial Heights, VA

I am in central Virginia, believe that to be Zone 7. no I do not bring it inside or do anything special with it at all. it pretty much survives complete neglect.

Bretten, Germany

Looks very similar to Veronica umbrosa with blue flowers in spring....

(Zone 1)

There is a listing for Veronica umbrosa in PF: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/76872/ but the leaves look totally different to me.

Colonial Heights, VA

definitely not Veronica umbrosa. the leaves of my plant are more heart shaped, are only about 1/4 to possibly 1/2 inch wide, have distinctive veins in them. sometimes the leaves might have a reddish tint in parts but for the most part are green.

Bretten, Germany

How looks the color of the flowers?

Colonial Heights, VA

never seen it flower and have had it for years.

San Marcos, TX(Zone 8b)

If it is malabar spinach, it will have little white flower followed by small black berries that will stain your fingers. The leaves are edible and delicious and the berries are used as a dye. I would NOT recommend eating it unless you are sure it is malabar.

Good luck.

Keaau, HI

No chance that the plant is Basella alba, Malabar Spinach. The leaves are alternate, your plant has opposite leave. Malabar Spinach has leaves with wavy margins, your plant has scalloped margins. Your plant does not look like the Malabar Spinach in many gardens around here.

The picture above looks like Plectranthus australis in A. Graf, "Tropica". It looks like Plectranthus australis in nurseries around here. The size of leaves can be from variety, environment that it is grown in, the amount of fertilizer that you use.

Your plant is Plectranthus australis, Swedish Ivy.

(Zone 1)

Images of Plectranthus australis: http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=plectranthus+australis&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&resnum=1&ct=title

There is a listing for it in Plant Files but no information or photo's as yet: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/128310/

Brookfield, CT

Hello all,

I just checked hardiness of plectranthus australis, supposedly only hardy to zone 11 or 10. Another way to check if it is a type of plectranthus: it is in the mint family and mints have a stem with a square cross-section. I don't know if this is a hard and fast rule, but photocat, if you roll the stem between your fingers and it feels angular rather than round at least you know it could still be a plectranthus, just maybe not P. australis. I was also considering Pilea 'Red Stem', but again only hardy to zone 10. I'll keep looking, this is an attractive plant. Can you tell me anything else about its growth habit? Does it spread around? Have you tried to propagate it? If so, by what method?

Thanks, Kathy

Colonial Heights, VA

The stem is very thin, barely 1/16 inches wide and very difficult to tell either visually or by feel if it is angular but if I had to guess, I would say it is more angular than round. I am including another picture, one of a small cutting from the plant. have never tried to propagate but my guess is you could probably just place this cutting in water and it would grow roots. I think it is a very attractive plant. it has been in this pot forever, a fairly large pot and has survived with little care. it does not rise above the top of the pot and is now trailing over the edge of the pot. in its current location, it has not been a terribly fast grower. my mother and I both believe it is an herb because several years ago, I had a small herb garden in that same area. when crushed, the leaves have no minty odor. there is some kind of odor but I cannot discern what it might be. I know it is not thyme, rosemary, or lavender. I am so appreciative of everyone's efforts. thanks to all.

This message was edited Aug 12, 2008 9:59 PM

Thumbnail by photocat
Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Having square stems is a hard and fast rule, everything in that family has them. Of course there are a lot of things in that family, so it's not always a super helpful characteristic. But if the stems aren't square then it can't be Plectranthus.

(Zone 1)

It sure is a pretty plant! I keep watching this thread in hopes to find out what it is!

Brookfield, CT

Perhaps a type of germander? (Teucrium spp. also in the Lamiaceae family) The common ornamental types are more shrubby in habit, but there are 250 species th check out, so I'll let you know if any fit the description.

Brookfield, CT

Hello again,

There are many very similar-looking genera in the mint family. This is getting really tough! Photocat, is your plant located in the shade? I am wondering why it is not flowering for you, perhaps insufficient sun is why, or maybe the soil is just tired out (I assume you have not fertilized it)? Also, can you look in the pot and tell me how it spreads? Does it have rhizomes (underground stems)? Stolons (above-soil stems that root ant the nodes)? Lack of sun might also be keeping the usually aggressive growth of mint family plants slowed down.

Keep the clues coming, this is good for keeping my ID skills sharp!
Kathy

(Lynn) Omaha, NE(Zone 5a)

The way it grows it's hard to believe it is not a member of the Lamiaceae.It just looks so familiar,but the stems do not look at all square.

This message was edited Aug 13, 2008 2:52 PM

Colonial Heights, VA

I am beginning to think it is some kind of creeping thyme. your thoughts?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

The leaves are too big--thyme has tiny leaves and given the pencil eraser reference in your more recent picture your leaves are way too big.

(Zone 1)

I found this creeping thyme in Plant Files: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/53196/ but there's only one close photo and it doesn't look right.

and Wild creeping Thyme: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/55708/

Totally different looking foliage than your plant.

(Zone 1)

hmm ... maybe a creeping jenny of some sort: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/28814/

(Lynn) Omaha, NE(Zone 5a)

It reminds me a little of Rosary Vine.Could it be something from that family?

Lecanto, FL(Zone 9a)

Pinch it and tell us what it smells like.

(Zone 1)

It does resemble Ceropegia (Rosary Vine, String of Hearts): http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/53707/ but I really don't think Ceropegia would survive outdoors in winter temp's in Virginia.

(Lynn) Omaha, NE(Zone 5a)

I don't either.Something in the back of my head keeps telling me it's something with tiny leaves I grew indoors 20 years ago.But,with a head like mine,who knows...lol

Keaau, HI

Ceropegia woodii, the Rosary Vine has distinctly heart shaped leaves, and does not have scalloped margins.

(Zone 1)

LOL Metro ... Yep, I should think and preview what I've written before hitting send! I meant to say that photocat's plant has the same trailing growth habit as ceropegia, but totally different foliage.

Colonial Heights, VA

just a quick note to let you know I have not disappeared off the face of the Earth. it's just been a very busy week at my job and I have had no time to answer any of your questions. I can say there is no discernible smell to this plant. need to get back to wandygirl about the rhizomes and stolons. thanks to all of you.

(Zone 1)

I too would be curious as to whether this plant has rhizomes, tuber or just roots. If you ever pull a bunch out of the pot, be sure to take a photo to post.

(Lynn) Omaha, NE(Zone 5a)

Metro,
I also meant the growth habit and the way the vine hangs.I did not mean to imply that it WAS Rosary Vine.
Lynn

Brookfield, CT

Thanks for the update, photocat. I'm watching this thread.

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