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Mystery Plant


frogesque

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Posted
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W

    I had several of these turn up in some seed trays (my own unsterilised compost) and howked most of them out as weeds but one I kept because I was curious about the small, very dark purple spots on the leaves. It is now in a deep 130mm (5") pot and is about 1m tall. (3ft) with a stem about 20mm (3/4") dia. that has the same dark purple spots and tinge to it as the flower buds.

    It seems tollerant of full or part sun but likes plenty of water. The flowers (about 35mm across) are short lived, 2 days at most but there has been a succesion since June and it's still going strong. Seed pods are enclosed in 5 papery sepals which are retained after the flower drops. Seed capsuals are rounded and about the size of a smallish grape. I'm reluctant to detach any before they are ripe which I don't think they are yet. I'm assuming its an annual. Its been growing quite happily outside.

    I've searched through my RHS Encyclopedia with no luck so far.

    Ok folks - so what is it? :D

    flower1.jpg

    flower2.jpg

    flower3.jpg

    flower4.jpg

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    Posted
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)

    Ummmm, not too sure !

    At first I thought it was a Malope, but, found all this lot from the same family too !

    http://www.malvaceae.info/

    Possibly one of the Lavatera group?

    A weed though is only a weed when not wanted :D

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    Posted
  • Location: Chichester, West Sussex
  • Location: Chichester, West Sussex

    You could send it to Kew they have a plant identification department but that’s probably a bit OTT :lol:

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    Posted
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)

    Hmmm, check out Physalis, also known as Cape Gooseberry or Chinese Lantern.

    If it is, dont let it get in the garden, its known to spread rapidly!

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    Posted
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W

    Interesting replies so far, thanks.

    Snowbear: I'm leaning toward a Cape Gooseberry hybrid at the moment Some pictures here. The plant certainly looks similar although the yellow flower is the wrong colour.

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    :) I think somebody got it right - Physalis - chinese lanterns because you can see the seed head forming. I would be very interesting in seeing how the seed heads develop - the common ones (which drive us all made by taking over the garden) have boring orange seed heads. Please could you post a picture of the seed head when it ripens later on. Thanks. I will look in my encyclopedia tonight and see if I can identify the strain for you.
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    Posted
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W
    :( I think somebody got it right - Physalis - chinese lanterns because you can see the seed head forming.  I would be very interesting in seeing how the seed heads develop - the common ones (which drive us all made by taking over the garden) have boring orange seed heads.  Please could you post a picture of the seed head when it ripens later on.  Thanks.  I will look in my encyclopedia tonight and see if I can identify the strain for you.

    <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

    Ok, I managed some more photos on Monday in full sunlight.

    There were 7 flowers on at the time, from 1.5" across to this fully open beauty at 2.5".

    flower.jpg

    This is the full plant:

    plant.jpg

    Not sure if this is a flower bud or an unripe fruit body - they look very similar.

    flowerbud.jpg

    Maturing fruit body:

    fruit.jpg

    fruit1.jpg

    fruit4.jpg

    With the papery calyx pushed back showing the berry inside:

    fruit3.jpg

    Leaf:

    leaf.jpg

    Topside:

    leaf1.jpg

    Underside:

    leaf2.jpg

    Finally the stems which are squarish and like polished ebony, the plant is totally hairless.

    stem.jpg

    I would like to grow some of these next year but I'm fairly certain it belongs to Solanaceae (as is potato, tomato, chinese lantern and deadly nightshade!) and I really need to know if it's poisonous. There is something about this plant that just screams 'look but don't touch'.

    The flowers have a very slight but pleasant odour and hoverflys just love it.

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    Posted
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W

    Thanks for all the continued interest. I'm not yet convinced it's a cape gooseberry or chinese lantern. The flower colour is wrong (yellow with a brown centre) and the leaf and stem doesn't look right either. I have however been looking at various tomatilo speciea (they are all solanacea and the family is huge) so I think we are on the right track. We'll get this nailed down yet!

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    Posted
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)

    Sure looks like it!

    If it is, I would destroy it

    Danger:

    All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

    Bloom Color:

    Light Blue

    Bloom Time:

    Late Spring/Early Summer

    Mid Summer

    Late Summer/Early Fall

    Foliage:

    Deciduous

    Other details:

    May be a noxious weed or invasive

    Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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    Posted
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W

    Thanks Wibs and SnowBear.

    This certainly looks like our man!

    I've scratched around the web and come up with various sites that list it from either highly poisonous to mildly toxic (no more so than green parts of tomato or potato) so I'm investigating further.

    It may however explain another mystery - the almost total absence of whitefly in the greenhouse this year though they are certainly in the garden. One site (unfortunately I've lost it) suggests it may be a control for whitefly so possibly it has a use as companion planting providing pets and children can be kept away from it. The plant originally apeared in the greenhouse until the flowers were so attractive I moved it outside but near the door. It's back inside again now. :unsure:

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