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Help identifying this plant please:

 
Jorge Fonseca
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All I can say is that it is growing in a tropical climate and it is most likely an edible plant...

I say that because I'm pretty sure I am the one who planted it in that corner along with some groundcherry seeds and eggplants and other seeds for experimentation, but in the middle of so many experiments, this must have been one of those that I thought had died but didn't... the problem is that now I don't know what it is... if it is a big tree I must transplant it right away.

I also searched by my own means but to no avail, so please can someone help identifying it? It might be something useful... I don't want to commit the mistake of cutting it today and regretting it because of needing it tomorrow. Thanks in advance.
plant.jpg
[Thumbnail for plant.jpg]
 
Ben Johansen
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Jorge- Pretty positive that's a grapevine. Are there any other grapevines in the neighborhood? It could also be Boston ivy. Either way, could probably climb nicely up that fence behind it...
 
Jorge Fonseca
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Ben Johansen wrote:Are there any other grapevines in the neighborhood? It could also be Boston ivy.


Thanks for the suggestion Ben, and yes, I had the same thought last year and in fact have some grapevines cuttings growing in that same fence right next to it... let me just go outside grab a few leaves for comparison...



They do have some resemblances but there are three things I notice immediately:

1) The stem of both young and adult grapevine leaves is pinkish
2) The buds on a grapevine have much more spacing between them
3) There are no tendrils... even very young grapevines have tiny winy tendrils and this plant does not...

actually most vines do have something that they use to grab themselves to things in order to climb and this plant is approximately two months old and shows no tendrils of any kind which leads me to think that is not any kind of vine, and I've always had ivy (not boston ivy, though) and I don't think it is ivy because most vines the first thing they do when they are young is to climb and reach as high as possible and then start spreading... but this plant I've been watching it and instead of growing upwards it's growing in thickness... so, I am a bit reluctant to consider it a vine... my experience tells me it is a bush or a tree...

any thoughts?
 
Ben Johansen
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Location: Door County, WI
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Hey- reload that pic. And gimme some CLOSEUPS, Mr. Deville! Closeups! I'm still leaning towards grapes, maybe a start from seed- when grape roots are established, climbing tendrils come standard with the underground runner vines. When a grape plant starts from seed, it's a different story. Your leaf shape will vary greatly with seed-started grapes (even within the same generation of seeds from the same mother,) as well as some pigmentation changes- I've seen grape leaves that I'd swear got taken off a hops plant and cosmic crazy glued on a grapevine by Pan himself. If you weren't in the tropics, I'd say maybe some sort of poplar, but otherwise it could be something tropical that I'm totally unfamiliar with. I'm a northlander, my blood is too thick for the equator. Eric Toensmeier's Perennial Vegetables is giving me a few thoughts: could it be hibiscus? Or a member of the gourd family?
Still looks like a grape to me...
 
leila hamaya
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i had similar thoughts as ben...first quick thought was it looked like grape, but when i looked closer at it --it looks like a hibiscus.

specifically it most reminds me of the cotton rose hibiscus, hibiscus mutabilis

photo of h.mutabilis --->>
 
leila hamaya
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anyway, if it a hibiscus, they too have hugely variable leaves, and a very confusing way of easily hybridizing amongst themselves.
no one has even sorted out the whole family tree of the tropicals in particular, they have been mixed from so many different species, one generation may be completely different from the last, because its showing it's grandmother tendencies, or further back.

but h. mutabilis is one of the original species types, and so will come true to type. although h. mutabilis, is named mutable for a reason, theres a lot of variation in leaf shape, flower color and other things, so it is mutable.

also its enormous. not all hibiscus are, but if it's h. mutabilis, it would eventually get to be 10 + feet or more. after like a decade or whatever...

well i'm not 100% sure i am right here, but theres some info anyway. the cotton rose is one of my favorite of the hibiscus family, i'm currently growing two types.

 
Jorge Fonseca
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Ben Johansen wrote:Hey- reload that pic. And gimme some CLOSEUPS


Sure thing... it's kinda rainy outside but I'll get you some more pictures in detail, both of that plant and of the grapevine side by side for comparison:


View picture in full size


View picture in full size

And yes, you're quite right about the point you're making regarding grapes from seed and I've also seen those deformities, which is why I only propagate them through cuttings. The grapevine is only one year old, has not fruited yet, so it's improbable that this plant might come from a lost grape seed.

but continuing...

poplar... naaaahhhh.

gourd... could be...

Hibiscus?

...

...

........

..........

Holy smokes, Ben you got it!

But an ornamental flower in my garden? That's odd...

Ahhhhhhh, I remember... it must have been when I was planting perennial flowers and drought tolerant flowers and such just to make the neighbours happy so they wouldn't say my garden was ugly... yes, that was it... but that was over a year ago... they only sprouted now? Odd.

leila hamaya wrote:reminds me of the cotton rose hibiscus, hibiscus mutabilis


Yes Leila, that's it... I recognize the seeds of Hibiscus alright...



Mutabilis or not that is the big question now... not even I can tell since the seeds came from a pack of mixed perennial flower seeds... I guess I'll just have to wait a few months or so for it to surprise me with its mutability... lol.

leila hamaya wrote:if it's h. mutabilis, it would eventually get to be 10 + feet or more


That sounds a bit tall, how much is that in meters? If you also don't mind me asking, those two varieties you're growing they flower after how many months from seedlings? Just so I have an idea about mine also. First time I have this plant, you know.

If I remember the seed pack correctly, I'd say it's a small tipe, maybe a bush type... but even if it's big I'll just prune it a little bit or improvise something... better let it stay where it is and not disturb the roots.

...

Well that's it... mystery solved.

I couldn't have done it without both of your help... Big thanks Ben and Big thanks Leila.

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leila hamaya
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hibiscus takes quite a while to develop, usually taking a year and a half, or even longer to flower. if everything goes completely right, it is possible to get them to flower the first year, but thats feeding them ferts (which i dont do and it doesnt seem to need it) and the luck of the draw or whatever...some people get them to flower the first year.

i've had my cotton rose hibiscus growing for two and half years, and i am just about to see my first flowers. i did keep them in small pots through the first year + so they just went into the ground this spring. the other ones i am growing are under a year and still tiny, because they are in pots still. the two and half year old one is already 4 feet tall approx.i actually took a picture of it a bit ago ...not the most exciting best picture but you can check it out --->attached to this post...


anywho the seeds you pictured are of hibiscus rosa- sinensis, although as i said above its a really mixed species, but they imprecisely fall under the large umbrella of hibiscus rosa-sinensis - aka "tropical hibiscus". theres like 8 or more different original species that got mixed with the original rosa-sinensis (a classic red tropical hibiscus), and now their offspring get labelled rosa-sinensis too, generally.

it may be that you have h. rosa sinensis type, the leaves are shiny, like the rosa-sinensis. but the leaf shape is much different, more like the cotton rose (h. mutabilis). but again theres that huge variation in leaves. it may be that you have a cross of rosa-sinensis and something with different leaves, thats most of whats available - hybrids.

i also happen to have a picture of the cotton rose hibiscus seeds, i took this a long time ago to show someone what they looked like...
cotton rose hibiscus.jpg
[Thumbnail for cotton rose hibiscus.jpg]
cotton rose hibiscus - hibiscus mutabilis
cottonrose hibiscus seed.jpg
[Thumbnail for cottonrose hibiscus seed.jpg]
cotton rose hibiscus seed
 
leila hamaya
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and apparently - over ten feet is 3+ meters, i asked google.
also according to google, cotton rose hibiscus get up to 15 feet or 5 meters. most tropical hibiscus are more in the 4-8 feet range ( or 1 and 1/2 - 3 meters ish!)
 
Ben Johansen
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Niiiiice. I feel like the Dr. Watson to Leila's Sherlock Holmes. Jorge, if you ever do get that puppy to flower... would you send me some seeds? I've overwintered hibiscus in the house before, it's a pretty.
 
Jorge Fonseca
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Ben Johansen wrote:would you send me some seeds?

Of course... and while at it check what else you like because an envelope has space for quite a few more seeds...

Right now I got these:

⦁ Amaranth (goes well in soups and omelets like spinach)
⦁ Carob (smells and tastes like chocolate mixed with coffee, some people make flour, others chocolate, others use for animal fodder)
⦁ Castor bean (for castor oil)
⦁ Coriander (miss parsley so much so I use this to replace it)
⦁ Cotton (my top recommendation, I harvest and two months later it's full again, have ten years of cotton in a bag and had to stop planting)
⦁ Eggplant (not the long violet one, this is egg shaped and yellow when ripe)
⦁ Fig (indian variety and very small)
⦁ Foxtail Millet (birds love it)
⦁ Ginger (color yellow for ginger beer or mixed with kefir)
⦁ Holy basil (for tea, incense, pizza and Mediterranean dishes)
⦁ Marigold (to repel pests in the garden)
⦁ Mung bean
⦁ Peanut (sometimes can be hard to find them non-roasted)
⦁ Sorghum sugarcane (grains for the birds and flour, molasses and some people even ferment the seeds to make a mild beer)
⦁ Sword bean (just for the wow factor with pods the size of a forearm, young shoots edible but beans are poisonous and have to be cooked twice)
⦁ String bean
⦁ Sunflower (great snack roasted in the oven with salt)
⦁ Toothbrush tree (for teeth and gum inflammation)
Water spinach (for soup like spinach and also helps purify water in the fish pond)

I'll also include tropicals since I already saw people eating guavas grown in a permaculture garden in northern Europe... might only fruit once a year instead of continuously, though.

Right now I got these:

⦁ Avocado (mixed in smoothies with milk and honey is great)
⦁ Bitter melon (I don't like but people say it helps keep some diseases at bay)
⦁ Cocoa (for a hot cup of cocoa)
⦁ Dragon fruit (like papaya but paints hands and clothes pink)
⦁ Durian
⦁ Guava (not impressive taste but smells good beyond belief)
⦁ Soursop (very good sweet juicy taste and fleshy texture)
⦁ Henna (ink tree for dying the hair in different colors and temporary tattoos)
⦁ Jackfruit (kinda like durian and huge seeds that can be roasted like chestnuts)
⦁ Langsat (bland acidic fruit)
⦁ Loofah (great replacement for a sponge in the bath with a hard side for hard skin and a soft side for soft skin)
⦁ Mango (my favorite fruit of all)
⦁ Moringa oleifera (to increase breasts lactation )
⦁ Okra
⦁ Papaya
⦁ Pomelo (big bland orange)
⦁ Rambutan (bland fruit with some sweetness)
⦁ Rattan (vine for making baskets and fruit for acidic drinks)
⦁ Sandorica (very acidic with hard to eat jelly)
⦁ Shikakai (shampoo tree popular in India for strong lustrous hair and hairfall)
⦁ Sugar apple (low acidity with hard to eat jelly)
⦁ Sweet potato (potato with sugar)
 
Ben Johansen
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Jorge, I feel like a kid at Christmas looking at those seed lists. Makes me crave candy canes. Here we go!
⦁ Cotton (my top recommendation, I harvest and two months later it's full again, have ten years of cotton in a bag and had to stop planting)
⦁ Fig (indian variety and very small)
⦁ Ginger (color yellow for ginger beer or mixed with kefir)
⦁ Holy basil (for tea, incense, pizza and Mediterranean dishes)
⦁ Sorghum sugarcane (grains for the birds and flour, molasses and some people even ferment the seeds to make a mild beer)
⦁ Loofah (great replacement for a sponge in the bath with a hard side for hard skin and a soft side for soft skin)

That seems like a good list- just put about 300 red oak and 200 English oak acorns in the ground last week, I gotta make sure I keep my head on seed X-Mas (Seedsmas?)
Do you know which permutation the Holy basil is?
 
Jorge Fonseca
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Ben Johansen wrote:Do you know which permutation the Holy basil is?


I'm afraid it totally beats me... you're the expert... but since I have some growing outside, I suppose a picture would be appropriate to clarify that.

This one is a month old:



And this one is a year old, going into seed:

 
Ben Johansen
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Well, unless you got uber lucky and got sent seeds for Vana tulsi, it looks like Rama tulsi. Krishna tulsi has purple leaves, and less of a peppery taste. Beautiful specimens. Is that a banana tree in the background too?
 
Jorge Fonseca
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I apologize for the late reply, I've been kinda busy since it's my wife's birthday in a couple of weeks and my birthday the following day.

Ben Johansen wrote:it looks like Rama tulsi.


All I know is that I buy it in Thailand and this is the exact plant I am harvesting at the moment in order to send you a teaspoon of fresh seeds.

Ben Johansen wrote:Is that a banana tree in the background too?


yes, it's the tropics... bananas and coconuts everywhere... kinda like orange and apple trees in the northern hemisphere.

Now, one thing that I loved when I was in the northern hemisphere was sunflower but I forgot to bring when I moved to the tropics and I already had some big ones with edible seeds here, but the children vandalized everything, since they didn't knew what they were doing, and now I have an inferior low producing variety... you wouldn't happen to have some edible sunflowers would you? Or perhaps soybean? Even cucumber, which are some of the plants I'm trying to improve at the moment.

Regarding the hibiscus I hope you understand that I have to wait for it to give seed... but I can very well send you the others in the meantime since next month I will have to go to the post office to pick up some packages, it doesn't cost me much to send you an envelope.
 
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