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Author Topic: Mystery plants or gifts from the Gods?  (Read 15155 times)

Offline swelleyman

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Mystery plants or gifts from the Gods?
« on: 07/07/2008 15:31:57 »
Been growing seeds for 60 years (got the anorak!) but this year was the first time something strange showed in the seed tray.  They should all have been Britain's Breakfast Tomatoes but amongst the few (!!) Toms were these 'other' seedlings.  As the firm is renowned for large plants I wondered if indeed they were a really new Tomato variety amongst the seemingly hundreds that are to be grown these days.  Otherwise I thought perhaps they were somehow 'escapees' from within the catalogue that had somehow found the end of the tunnel by consorting with Tomatos.  Needless to say I wrote and sent the photees to the seed merchant and they of course denied any possibility that they were rogues.  They didn't even comment on my suggestion that they might have been someone's 'Waccy Baccy'!  They simply suggested that unlike them, my seed-sowing cleanliness was lacking and they'd come from the compost.  Always possible I suppose but then i'd be inundated by them if that was the case.  Still a possibility i'd accept.  But what are they?

Just in case they were some new super-Tom I have in fact planted the now huge plants in my Tomato border where they flaunt their individuality in the light of my red, no, very red face!
      

« Last Edit: 07/07/2008 15:37:42 by swelleyman »


 

Offline RD

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« Reply #1 on: 08/07/2008 00:20:13 »
Your free gift looks more like true tobacco than the waccy variety,
perhaps your seed merchant sells ornamental tobacco ...



http://www.suttons.co.uk/ProductDetail.aspx?product=141916

« Last Edit: 08/07/2008 00:46:20 by RD »
 

Offline rosalind dna

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« Reply #2 on: 08/07/2008 00:28:25 »
swelleyman

Try this Royal Horticultural Society's site (RHS) as it might help but the plant is almost certainly NOT a tomato bush.
http://www.rhs.org.uk/index.asp
 

Offline that mad man

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« Reply #3 on: 08/07/2008 00:45:03 »
Does it smell nice cos it also looks a bit like basil.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #4 on: 08/07/2008 20:26:37 »
The leaves are wrong for tobacco (or any of the rest of solanaceae). More obvate than cordate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Leaf_morphology_no_title.png
Of course I don't know anything about wacky backy.
The best thing I can sugest is that you let it grow until it has flowers, they are often easier to identify.
 

Offline RD

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Mystery plants or gifts from the Gods?
« Reply #5 on: 08/07/2008 21:15:29 »
Paul's seeds "came up illegal"  :)
 

Offline swelleyman

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« Reply #6 on: 09/07/2008 11:19:41 »
Thanks very much for your prompt ad helpful replies.  Curiously there is a Tobacco plant just out of picture so I appreciated the difference, but thanks. 
Re: basil - if only 'cos the plants are so massive!
Re: RHS , have joined to access forums etc. with same message and photos BUT ... took a long time to set up (now achieved) but photo. won't travel!!!
Re: Waccy Baccy - actually knew it wasn't as did germinate some seeds MY SON brought back from Uni. many years ago (wonderful plants with distinctive leaves etc., which bullied everything in greenhouse and remained bug free.B  ALL plants composted (much to my son's annoyance)Drug Squad neighbour!!!
Agree re: letting them flower
Watch this space!
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #7 on: 09/07/2008 13:57:54 »
Re: RHS , have joined to access forums etc. with same message and photos BUT ... took a long time to set up (now achieved) but photo. won't travel!!!


You could set up a free account on an photo hosting site like "Photobucket" , "Flickr", etc.
and store a copy of the plant image there. Then you could post the image, or a link to it, on any forum message board.

If you are a full RHS member apparently you can email photos for plant identification...

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E-mail your enquiry to gardeningadvice@rhs.org.uk. Please always include your membership number. Our typical response time is three to ten days, however some enquiries that need research and analysis do take longer.

You can include digital images (up to a maximum file size of 250KB)
http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/advisory_service.asp

« Last Edit: 09/07/2008 23:32:27 by RD »
 

Offline swelleyman

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« Reply #8 on: 09/07/2008 23:34:24 »
Getting there methinks.  Joined Photobucket and photo travelled!  Suggestion now is that its an Evening primrose?  Hope not as hoping for something a little more 'ornate'.  Not RHS member so can't access Plant ID part.  Cheers.

 

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Mystery plants or gifts from the Gods?
« Reply #9 on: 10/07/2008 17:28:17 »
I consulted my good friend of long standing, the Earl of Chessington, probably the greatest plantsman since Tradescant and he is a RHS member and he said it isn't any of the things so far mentioned but added that he didn't know what it was either. [^]
 

Offline swelleyman

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« Reply #10 on: 11/07/2008 23:01:26 »
Now here's a thought!  I compared it with a rogue I found outside that survived a purge earlier in the year and it's very similar indeed!  Mind you one of them is now 120cm and growing compared to the 20cm one outside (in very shallow soil mind you and under a large Hollyhock (which was why I failed to compost it!  Allowing for some etiolation in the greenhouse (garden full of trees) it is amazing what a little care and attention does for plants!  Buds are growing so it won't be long.  ....... perhaps it'll be a different colour!?!  Hope springs eternal.
 

Offline swelleyman

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« Reply #11 on: 24/08/2008 17:12:41 »
My mystery guests have finally flowered!  Four went out into the garden (don't like the climate!) and three left in geenhouses.  One in the coolest has produced tiny, yellow, 1" diameter composite type flower from buds on side branches.  Still no wiser as such small flowers on such large plant.
Much chewed by small caterpillar but hopefully recognisable!
 

Offline swelleyman

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« Reply #12 on: 25/08/2008 22:53:37 »
Lanceolate paired toothed smooth leaves, no stalk but wrapped around stem, which has many obvious lenticels and small hairs.  Flower has 5 sepals and 8 ray petals.  Central florets are slightly raised.  Does this suggest Helianthus species as has been suggested on another forum?  Relative to size of plant the flowers are very small, suggesting a wild species rather than one in cultivation
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #13 on: 25/08/2008 23:12:46 »
Snap ?



 Helianthus divaricatus L.  woodland sunflower

It's a native of North America, but according to the RHS a nursery in the UK sells it : "Breezy Knees Gardens & Nursery" in Yorkshire.
« Last Edit: 25/08/2008 23:53:20 by RD »
 

Offline swelleyman

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« Reply #14 on: 26/08/2008 20:38:02 »
Getting there I think though mine have only  8 petals??
Breezy knees eh?  Those were the days with wales far below my feet on Crackstone rib!
Enough of this, will now search this possibility!  Cheers!
The Breezy Knees sounds and looks superb - pity it's such a long way from Telford! (They don't do mail order) but thanks for your diligence.
« Last Edit: 26/08/2008 20:44:36 by swelleyman »
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #15 on: 27/08/2008 21:01:46 »
The microcephallic version only has eight petals...



   Helianthus microcephalus  small woodland sunflower

According to the RHS there are two suppliers in the UK... "Beeches Nursery"  (Essex), and "Sampford Shrubs" (Devon).

« Last Edit: 27/08/2008 21:14:12 by RD »
 

Offline Don_1

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Mystery plants or gifts from the Gods?
« Reply #16 on: 29/08/2008 12:59:39 »
I think you may find this is 'Niger' L. Guizotia abyssinica

Take look at this http://www.ukwildflowers.com/Web_pages/guizotia_abyssinica_niger.htm

Thanks to Dr. Peter Llewellyn
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #17 on: 29/08/2008 13:33:05 »
I think you're right Don_1, not only is the flower head a better match...



Guizotia abyssinica
 
but the of leaves Helianthus microcephalus do not have the jagged edge of Swellyman's mystery plant.

The seed may have come from a birdfeeder...

Quote
Guizotia abyssinica is an erect, stout, branched annual herb, grown for its edible oil and seed. Its cultivation originated in the Ethiopian highlands, and has spread to other parts of Ethiopia. Common names include: noog (Ethio-Semitic ኑግ nūg); niger, nyjer, or niger seed; ramtil or ramtilla; inga seed; and blackseed.

The seed, technically a fruit called an achene, is often sold as bird seed as it is a favourite of finches, especially Goldfinch and Greenfinch. In the bird seed market, Nyjer is often sold or referred to as thistle seed. This is a misnomer due to early marketing of the seed as 'thistle' to take advantage of the finches' preference for thistle.

The seed, which can be called "birdnip," is well loved by goldfinches and will result in a feeding frenzy when presented in specially designed feeders. Goldfinches spend every waking moment in their surroundings looking for seeds, but once the word is out that there is Nyjer in a yard they will abandon all other sources of food and head straight for that feeder.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niger_seed
« Last Edit: 29/08/2008 14:08:00 by RD »
 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #18 on: 29/08/2008 14:48:08 »
That flower looks like Saint Johns Wort!  leaves are different as well s the stamens etc..
Here is st. johns wort!





 

Offline Don_1

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« Reply #19 on: 29/08/2008 15:19:51 »
Yes there is a resemblance to St. Johns wort, but the leaves of the St. Johns Wort are more ovate and smooth edged and the flower has 5 petals and long stamens as oppose to this plant with 8 petals and short stamens and a more elongated leaf with a jaggered edge.
 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #20 on: 29/08/2008 16:45:08 »
It is interesting their similarities as well as their dissimilarities!
 

Offline swelleyman

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« Reply #21 on: 29/08/2008 22:40:55 »
Perception is always functionally selective!
Thanks very much for the 'Nyjer'!  Yes the plant structure and flower head is identical, AND .... GUESS WHAT .... earlier this year we bought some 'Thistle' seed to attract Finches.  So having been persuaded that it was a woodland sunflower I now have to realise that I was seeing only what I thought I was seeing rather than what was realy there!  The plant is similar in very many respects.  Despite the British situation of the pictured 'wild flower' mine do not like outdoor conditions and are far more the half-hardy plant.  Doubtless, at least one of the survivors will find itself out of doors when the flowers are seedheads, a huge 2 metre finch-foodhall!  One plant is about to flower so watch this space for the photo in a couple of weeks!  The seed merchant was right it was my 'fault' I must have had some seed adhere to my hands after I finished filling the 'Thistle seed' bottle, which of course co-incided with seed planting time for some of my tomato seed varieties!!  Presumably conditions on the ground beneath the bird feeders are too cold to allow germination - can't believe the sparrows and finches ate them all!
Thanks again for all your diligence.
 

Offline Don_1

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« Reply #22 on: 30/08/2008 11:24:51 »
Just a little PS on this plant, I think you will find it's range in the UK (as a wild flower) is restricted to the more southerly regions.

Quoted from Dr. P. Llewellyn:
"It is found dotted all over southern England with decreasing frequency as you go north so there is little in Scotland or Wales and only one recorded site in Ireland. I suspect that with warmer summers and autumns though that these distribution data are already out of date."
 

Offline swelleyman

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« Reply #23 on: 25/09/2008 13:22:15 »
For those folks not quite asleep with this thread - the latest developments on the Nyjer front!  The warm conservatory plant has finally flowered with buds bursting every day.  Hoping to save seed though branches are very friable and fall off with the minimal human traffic.
 

Offline Don_1

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« Reply #24 on: 25/09/2008 13:36:59 »
Maybe your soil is too rich and heavy.

Try it in a poorer well drained soil.
 

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Mystery plants or gifts from the Gods?
« Reply #24 on: 25/09/2008 13:36:59 »

 

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