Plant ID forum: Trying to idenitify a strange plant that grew at my old house.

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corythomas42
Jun 3, 2016 10:30 AM CST
Hi there, I have a question about a plant that used to pop up in my backyard every year in northern California. Its a tall stalk, that can easily grow 10-15 feet in the spring and summer and it has very large broad leaves like a pumpkin plant. The stalk typically has a hollow middle but as it grows tall enough it fills out and becomes very solid, but very light. Almost reminiscent of bamboo, it just doesn't have such a shiny finish.

Any ideas what this plant might be? We always referred to it as "the pumpkin tree." I am eager to know, thanks for your time.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Jun 3, 2016 10:32 AM CST
Welcome! @corythomas42. I don't have a clue what plant that would have been but hopefully someone will chime in with an answer.
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Name: Sue
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sooby
Jun 3, 2016 10:41 AM CST
Welcome!

It's difficult without a picture but I'll take a stab at this with Macleaya cordata. If this isn't it, can you tell us how it differs as that may help narrow it down.

Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jun 3, 2016 11:02 AM CST
Could it be a Castor Bean plant?
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jun 3, 2016 11:02 AM CST
Sounds like Giant Ragweed to me.
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Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
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Pistil
Jun 3, 2016 11:09 AM CST
I think it sounds like Japanese Knotweed. Google it and look at photos, see what you think. Here is a link for ID:

http://japaneseknotweed.com/japanese-knotweed-identification...
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
Jun 3, 2016 11:12 AM CST
porkpal said:Sounds like Giant Ragweed to me.


That's what I was thinking porkpal. Ambrosia trifida.
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Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Jun 3, 2016 11:24 AM CST
For comparison giant ragweed Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida)
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 3, 2016 12:02 PM CST
I wonder how the stuff ever got the name "ambrosia"!
Porkpal
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Jun 3, 2016 12:07 PM CST
https://thecontraryfarmer.wordpress.com/2008/09/09/the-irony...
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 3, 2016 1:24 PM CST
Thanks, Jean! Now I can't wait for our Giant Rag Weed to go to seed so I can sample some - NOT.
Porkpal
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Jun 3, 2016 1:44 PM CST
You are most welcome. I may look into Giant Ragweed as an alternative food source for my ever-hungry grown grandsons. Big Grin
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Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 3, 2016 2:29 PM CST
Hi & welcome!

It sounds like Paulownia to me:
Empress Tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
Jun 3, 2016 2:37 PM CST
Hi corythomas42, and welcome to ATP / NGA! Your screen name caught my eye since I'm Richard Thomas Corey.

Your question sure fired up our curiosity!

If none of these suggestions were close matches, is there a practical way for you to take a digital photo and copy it to your PC? After that, it's quite easy to add that photo to your post. While typing the message, click "Upload an image", browse to the location where you saved it on your PC, and wait a few seconds.

My guess is that would get a firm ID very quickly.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jun 3, 2016 5:35 PM CST
Someone is going to get it right. And without a picture no less! You guys are goooooood! I tip my hat to you.
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