Hey, everyone. I'm a long-time fan of Paul and I'm a bit ashamed I haven't joined this forum yet. Anyhow, can ya'll help with some plant identification on these three that I have growing in my Portland, OR backyard? Thanks!
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
posted 5 years ago
Welcome to permies Mitch
'm on the other side of the world and I'm only going by what they remind me of from around here.
1- I'm tempted to agree with S Bengi, but I dunno. Do the crushed leaves smell a bit cabbage/mustardy?
2)-I think that may be something we don't have around here..
3) looks like some kind of sow thistle. Maybe!
I'm sure someone will ID them with more confidence than me
I think I am going to disagree with a lot of you here on #1 . I'm not sure I have ever seen garlic-mustard, so I can't be sure it looks like that or not, but in some of the photos I looked up just now, it looks different. Of course, using common names makes it all the more confusing. My first thought was orach (a kind of chenopodium -- related to lamb's quarter or pigweed). Not the red orach, but one of the larger green varieties. Not sure, but it does look a bit like it. Are the leaves fuzzy at all on the undersides?
On #2... That one does look somewhat like okra -- especially the veining and the stems -- but the leaf shape looks a bit more like a squash. Most of the okra I have seen has deeper cut leaves (a lot like marijuana leaves actually -- I know because the pot helicopters buzz our garden every year to take a closer look!) If this came up near compost, I would think it was a squash or gourd of some sort for sure. Loofah?
#3 is some sort of wild lettuce, I think. There are 50+ species of Lactuca, so figuring out which one it might be could be tricky. (My first thought was Lactuca biennsis, the blue lettuce, but that is only a guess.) They pretty much all have those deeply serrated leaves that clasp the main stem (though a few are more rounded). A lot of them -- like prickly lettuce -- have sharp, tiny spines on the undersides of the main rib on the leaves. If you tear through a leaf, you will see a milky sap (thus the name lactuca). Most are edible, but really not very palatable even with several water changes. Very astringent/bitter like poke and dandelions!
#3 Maybe I just have solanum on the brain, but my initial response on number three was that it looks vaguely like horse nettle(s. Carolinense) except a more purple smooth stem like s. Nigrum. Some of those smaller leaves do look like chenopodium album but the spikey larger leaves do not, so i would think it is not pigweed.
It does resemble some wild lettuce structures but it is not any species I have identified in my area, I have not ever seen lactuca biennis though.
#1: I too think it's a mustard family plant, but the color seems wrong to be garlic mustard.
#2: Yeah, it looks like a squash of some kind to me.
#3: That one looked like datura to me, but I only really knew it from a weed in my mother's garden, and now looking at them side by side, the leaf's wrong. I'd also disagree with Chenopodium album, which I never knew as anything but lamb's quarters, and definitely not the equally yummy but very different pigweed (Portulaca oleracea), also known as purslane, which is also different from the third pigsweed, which I know as amaranth. Yes, common names are definitely tricky sometimes. It's a little too purple, the leaf's wrong again, and it's too shiny (lamb's quarters has that strange dust on the growing end, and the bottom leaves are dullish). Plus the growth pattern is different than lamb's quarters, which is usually much stouter and bushier than this. I'd say some kind of lactuca is a pretty good theory, but I can't promise it's not some weird mustard family or solanaceae that I'm not aware of.
Mitch, send us some more pictures of them in flower if you can. They look like they're all getting close to it. We'll do a lot better on the ID with flowers to work with. Also, your general location (which you can change from the my profile tab up top) always helps narrow things down.