Answer: I dont' think you're going crazy... what you're seeing is new growth. The stem is different looking because it is new growth and as it matures it will look like the rest of the plant. Abelia's have a mounding habit with arching branches. Once the roots are established they really put out new growth - often 2' higher than the rest of the growth. If you want you can cut the new growth off, but I'd let it grow and then reduce the size by one-third later this summer. It will respond by sending out lateral branches wherever you cut it. Enjoy your garden!
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