The Q&A Archives: Plant Identification

Question: Recently while working on a newly constructed home in R.I., there were plants growing in the ground around the house. The leaves look like oak leaves but larger, it also has trumpet flowers that close in the heat of the day and open in the late afternoon. Plants started growing when farm land was disturbed. I was wondering if you had any ideas of what kind of plant this is?

Answer: Based on the description of the flower, I'd say the weed is a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae).There are 1700 subspecies in the genus and include such common garden plants as Nicotiana, Sweet Potato Vine, Blue Potato Bush and Jerusalem Cherry. For positive identification take a specimen (including roots, stems, leaves and flowers) to your local Extension office. Contact University of Rhode Island, Plant Sciences, Kingston, RI 02881. Phone (401) 874-2957.

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