Plant ID forum: Unknown Plant in Northern Virginia Garden

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Name: Mark and Kate
Annandale, Virginia (Zone 7a)
markmartins60
Jun 29, 2014 3:57 PM CST
Hello, Dear Sages:

My wife and I recently rose to the top of the waiting list in the local community garden and gained the opportunity to rent a plot.

As we planted a few tomato, basil, cucumber, squash, and pepper plants in our newly rented patch, we noticed eighteen (18) plants that had been previously planted or grown from seed in neat rows along one side of the plot. The former owner is not available to ask what she planted there, and we do not see this type of plant anywhere else in the community garden. As of today, 29 June 2014, each plant is about 9 inches in diameter (when we got the plot, on the 20th of June, they were about half the size). Separation between plants is about a foot.

I am attaching a couple of images taken today of the mystery plant.

Can you please help us identify it?

Thank you.

Mark and Kate
Thumb of 2014-06-29/markmartins60/9b3d38


Thumb of 2014-06-29/markmartins60/74e6f0

[Last edited by markmartins60 - Jun 29, 2014 5:18 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #648372 (1)
Name: Mark and Kate
Annandale, Virginia (Zone 7a)
markmartins60
Jun 29, 2014 5:17 PM CST
Okay. We're offering a try at a reply to our own question: it may be a form of edible hibiscus. The link at

http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2014/06/dish_up_summer_be...

includes descriptions and pictures that provide the closest match to anything we've found on the internet. Alternatively, it may be a form of okra.

Thanks for any ideas or experiences you sages have.

Mark and Kate
Name: Mark and Kate
Annandale, Virginia (Zone 7a)
markmartins60
Jun 29, 2014 5:31 PM CST
Now we are thinking it may be red okra http://www.sherckseeds.com/pages/seeds/miscelaneous-vegetabl...
Name: Mark and Kate
Annandale, Virginia (Zone 7a)
markmartins60
Jun 29, 2014 6:24 PM CST
Apparently, another member, Greene, has reported having Red Burgundy Okra: Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus 'Red Burgundy')
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
Jun 29, 2014 6:52 PM CST
Wow, I almost hate to interrupt your thought processes.

Welcome! Thanks for the question and the Tree-mail; I'll just answer here if that's okay.

Leaves of okra are very variable and it's difficult to be sure.
Leaves of the Hibiscus sabdariffa/Roselle are also variable.
With the red stems and veins it could be a burgundy okra or might even be a Hibiscus sabdariffa.

There are a few other things it could be, but the person who gardened in that spot last year must have thought it was worth growing.
If you have time and can spare the garden space why not let it grow until the mystery solves itself.

Keep posting photos as it grows! Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Mark and Kate
Annandale, Virginia (Zone 7a)
markmartins60
Jun 29, 2014 6:59 PM CST
Thank you very much, Greene. We will certainly do that, and we tip our hat to you. You are clearly as much an expert as we are amateurs. I tip my hat to you. Thank You! Thumbs up
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
Jun 29, 2014 7:11 PM CST
Ha, ha. I am an expert at 'finding' plants along the roadside and in dumpsters (with permission, of course) and bringing home NOID strays from local swaps. Sometimes it takes me 3 years to make an identification of a plant. Some examples: Musk Okra (Abelmoschus moschatus); Tung Tree (Aleurites fordii); Cinnamon Ginger (Alpinia nutans); Cashmere Bouquet (Clerodendrum bungei).

And just when I get it figured out someone changes the accepted botanical name; who can keep up?
Example: Aleurites fordii is now Vernicia fordii, or at least that's what Google tells me. Whistling

You are ahead of the game as your plant was growing in an established garden and is most likely, but not guaranteed to be, a food plant.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"

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