Plant ID forum: weirdness

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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Nov 30, 2014 2:17 PM CST
Thumb of 2014-11-30/dirtdorphins/84b449

I have a bunch of these odd, branching stems, no leaves. They range from 6 to 12 inches tall and have been growing rather happily without leaves like this for about 10 months.

They came from the seeds of this plant
Thumb of 2014-11-30/dirtdorphins/427423
which, in the past, have produced plants true to the seed parent.
Obviously, something really wacky is going on with these seedlings. Interestingly, they are all the same.
I have never seen anything like it--

How about any of you? Any ideas what these mutant-franken-plants are?

Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Nov 30, 2014 3:01 PM CST
That sure looks to me like Moa (Psilotum nudum) I first found this plant growing in one of my container plants about ten years ago and was told it's one of the oldest plants on earth. You can read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psilotum_nudum

I dug some out of a pot a few years ago and took pictures of the roots:
Thumb of 2014-11-30/plantladylin/bbee19

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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Nov 30, 2014 3:03 PM CST
It makes me think of some of the rhipsalis. Are you sure it was Asparagus Fern seed? Could it have been mislabeled?
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Nov 30, 2014 3:06 PM CST
We cross posted Lin.
Cool plant, and it does look similar to dirtdorphins plant.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Nov 30, 2014 3:19 PM CST
I still on occasion find it sprouting in with other plants ... it's something I've never planted but it's a Florida native and found in many places in the state so I'm assuming the spores are already in the soil.
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Nov 30, 2014 3:22 PM CST
Very interesting Lin.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Nov 30, 2014 4:28 PM CST
Oh wow--it really does kinda look like that!

Now, the big question is --is it even possible to get something like skeleton fork fern from asparagus fern???
How related are they? There was also a generic Asparagus setaceus type in another container about three feet away from the foxtail fern on the porch during the summer of seed-making...

Yes--I am certain that it was the asparagus fern seed --no mislabeling--because I personally took the dried seeds off of my asparagus fern plant and 'sowed' them among the roots of a ficus tree in the pot where these are growing. I didn't put any other seeds in there and I didn't have any other seeds to confuse them with. The potting soil is/was oldish--didn't add any at the time or since. The ficus I have had for about 15 yrs--last repotted the ficus three years ago, along with several other plants, none of which have sprouted this weird fern thing--except for the ficus pot where I put the asparagus fern seeds.
And I have no possible way to account for 'Floridian spores' or greenhouse weeds making their way to my potted ficus...but if these are Psilotum nudum, and they come from spores not seeds, then something strange has happened I suppose and it is just a bizarre coincidence that these are growing where I put asparagus fern seeds Blinking
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Nov 30, 2014 4:34 PM CST
Here are some really interesting photos of Psilotum nudum.
https://www.google.com/search?q=Psilotum+nudum+photos&biw=16...
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Nov 30, 2014 4:44 PM CST
I don't really know if it could be Psilotum ... that's just what it reminded me of. :)
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Nov 30, 2014 4:54 PM CST
This is really quite fascinating...it does have triangular stems...no little yellow spore packet nodules--yet...and I am trying to resist the urge to extract one to see if it has roots...
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Nov 30, 2014 5:10 PM CST
I found some additional information on P. nudum: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/plants/pterophyta/psilotales.ht...

I don't know where you live but this map shows the distribution of P. nudum in the U.S.: http://www.efloras.org/object_page.aspx?object_id=5092&flora... There are many wholesale nurseries in Florida that ship plants to garden centers and nurseries all over the country so I suppose the spores could have traveled in that manner and took up residence in the container with your Asparagus. Smiling
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Nov 30, 2014 8:01 PM CST
This would be so much easier to wrap my head around if I had not 'planted' the dang asparagus fern seeds in there Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Lin, I think you are right on the ID! Thumbs up

I am in Northern Utah, so my volunteers came from somewhere besides my local environment.
The ficus itself could have likely come from a tropical area long ago, along with some spores...
This plant has an interesting, alternating life-cycle--the above ground sporophytic phase and the underground gametophytic phase. I don't know how long "eventually" is, (as in "Eventually, the gametophyte reaches sexual maturity, producing both egg and sperm cells. The multiflagellate sperm swim to the egg cells, where they unite to begin the sporophyte generation.") but I suppose that it is quite possible that it could have taken quite a while for spores to germinate and for gametes to get together. Maybe when I repotted the ficus, I stirred up some resting spores and improved their conditions somehow (such that the sperm could swim? or that necessary mycorrhizal fungi developed?).
There is also an aloe and a purple tradescantia that have been growing along with this ficus, too. I don't know where they originated from but I got them from cutting propagations done in MN many years ago and the asparagus fern also from the greenhouse where I used to work in MN. We did not have this cool fern as a greenhouse weed there! And I have a ton of other houseplants that came from somewhere originally, right? Who knows where? Most of them are quite old, though, so it's hard to make a case for any sort of "new spore contamination''. And of the few newer plants that I have, it's hard to figure how any of them--not sporting any sporophytes-- could transfer a bunch of spores to only to the potted ficus that they have no proximity to and not any of the other plants that they are more associated with.
I was in Florida a couple of winters ago for a convention. I will confess that I spent a lot more time indulging myself with all of the plants around me than going to the sessions...maybe I brought some spores home and gave them to the ficus Rolling my eyes.

Anyway, this little bonus weed is cool. I am going to let it grow and hope that it makes some spores and then see what happens!
I may regret that later, like so many of the other stupid things I do Whistling but I am so very curious Hilarious!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Nov 30, 2014 8:33 PM CST
I find it a very interesting adventure. Thumbs up
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Dec 1, 2014 8:53 AM CST
dirtdorphins said:I was in Florida a couple of winters ago for a convention.

LOL, maybe the spores were wafting about in the Florida breeze and attached themselves to your clothes for a trip back north. nodding

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 1, 2014 9:43 AM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
I think Lin has solved the mystery. Whistling Green Grin!
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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dirtdorphins
Dec 1, 2014 11:04 AM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing :rofl:
Quite possibly the most parsimonious explanation
dirtdorphins said: I will confess that I spent a lot more time indulging myself with all of the plants around me than going to the sessions...maybe I brought some spores home and gave them to the ficus Rolling my eyes.


Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Dec 1, 2014 12:01 PM CST
Sounds like a good explanation to me. Green Grin!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Dave Paul
Puna, HI (Zone 10b)
Live in a rainforest, get wet feet.
Plant Identifier
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Metrosideros
Dec 2, 2014 4:28 AM CST
Psilotum nudum is one of the most ancient and widespread of Fern Allies. It can be found in most any warm habitat. It's spores constantly rain on the Earth.

In the Pacific Islands a tonic tea is made by drying and making a decoction from the whole plant.

http://faculty.ucc.edu/biology-ombrello/POW/Psilotum.htm

http://janelle.commcourt.com/Psilotum/LifeCycle.html

http://www.nativeplants.hawaii.edu/plant/view/Psilotum_nudum

http://www.somemagneticislandplants.com.au/index.php/common-...
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
Dances with Dirt
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gardengus
Dec 2, 2014 10:50 AM CST
Interesting thread
I learn so much here Smiling
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 7, 2014 6:06 AM CST
Wow.
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