Plant ID forum: Strange plant

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Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
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rattlebox
Jun 3, 2014 8:00 PM CST
These are growing in my yard. They grow from small, white, juicy-looking tubers. The plants are about 4-5" tall. Those in the first two pics are in bud, with the plant in the third pic in bloom.

Thumb of 2014-06-04/rattlebox/e3efdd Thumb of 2014-06-04/rattlebox/001245

I apologize for the fuzziness of the photos. If necessary, I'll try to get better ones.
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Jun 4, 2014 8:53 AM CST
Do these photos help any?


Thumb of 2014-06-04/rattlebox/65f901 Thumb of 2014-06-04/rattlebox/79e0c0

I first discovered the plant by finding three small tubers (~1¼ x 3/8") while harvesting from a pile of old mulch. I planted them in a pot to see what came from them. It took a while but this is what eventually sprouted. I was soon surprised to discover a few other plants right off my back patio. Because of their color, they were very easy to miss.

They lived for a while, maybe a month or so (I don't remember) then died down. I thought I had killed them by overwatering or something, but the ones by the patio had also disappeared. The group in these last photos is the same as last year. The plants among the rocks in the previous post are new to me. The ones in the pot are lagging behind for whatever reason, and are only about 3/4: tall right now.

Any ideas? I don't even know where to begin looking for info on these.

[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Jun 4, 2014 9:05 AM CST
I've had those too. Never did find out what they were.
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moonhowl
Jun 4, 2014 2:28 PM CST
They remind me of tuberose bulbs when they start sprouting...maybe something from Polianthes or Manfreda? Some are native to the southeast US.

http://pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/Manfreda

http://pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/Polianthes
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Jun 4, 2014 7:41 PM CST
These do look like sprouts of something. Last year I kept waiting for them to get on with it and do what they were going to do. Turns out, what you see in these photos is pretty much all they do. From what I saw last year, this is pretty much as good as it gets. They don't get much larger, and then they die down,

I thought I might be onto something when I found pics of Corallorhiza orchids.
Corallorhiza maculata: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7133/14007176685_815d4365bf.jp...
Corallorhiza wisteriana: http://www.flwildflowers.com/gallery/robincoralroot.jpg

But with all the Corallorhiza species I could find, the flowers actually open up, and the underground structures are all wrong.

Still researching!
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
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
Jun 5, 2014 7:07 AM CST
My first thought was also Corallorhiza of some sort; I think Orchid (Corallorhiza wisteriana) is a Fla. native, and then I thought possibly the native Soldier Orchid - Zuexine strateumatica:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8908148@N08/12655933255

Soldier Orchid (Zeuxine strateumatica)

I'll be curious to hear what it is.

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 5, 2014 8:43 AM CST
@rattlebox, did you/could you take any photos of the tubers?
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Jun 5, 2014 7:20 PM CST
I didn't photograph the tubers, but I can/will, in the interest of "science"! But it may take a day or two. 12½ hr shifts have their advantage, but they do kick the crap out of a day!

I unfortunately missed a perfect opportunity. The other day, I found one of the tubers I had placed in the pot last year lying on the surface of the soil, sprouting there, What did I do? Of course I just dug a hole and planted it. Never thought to photograph it until a few days later.

In the meantime, if you need a visual, here is a good representation: http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s271/coolsalamandra/Easte...

I know they're snake eggs, but when I first dug up the tubers in the compost, that's exactly what I thought they were. Too small for black racer, but I figured maybe Ring-neck snakes.

Anyway, I'll get back to you!
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
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
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greene
Jun 5, 2014 7:57 PM CST
@Rattlebox,
You are an interesting person. Whistling

So the tubers are smaller than a breadbox, larger than a dime, near to the size of the Ring Neck snake eggs. Got it.
That was quite helpful actually. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Jun 5, 2014 8:17 PM CST
Thanks, Greene! *Blush*

The tubers were about the same size as the snake eggs, but also similar in shape and color. The biggest difference was the tubers had a somewhat watery-white, translucent look to them rather than flat, opaque white.

That, and of course, no snake-baby inside Hilarious!
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Jun 7, 2014 10:24 PM CST
I may have to revisit the whole Corallorhiza approach. Aside from the open flowers, the stalks and buds have a lot of similarities. And there is this (I dug some up and took photos):



Two things struck me immediately. 1) the tubers are much more complex than the initial ones I had found, and 2) there are no roots.

The one from last year in the pot which I had recently found exposed on the surface of the soil, was sending a stalk up into the air, and roots down into the soil, both from the same end of the tuber. It looked perfectly normal and understandable. What I realize now was those were obviously not typical roots, but root-like extensions being sent down into the soil to establish the tubers at the proper depth.

So, if these are orchids, does that mean the tubers are actually modified roots, and not tubers?

As I had mentioned previously, the original tubers I found were in a pile of old mulch (from oak and pine trees we had taken out several years ago). This mulch pile was in full shade. In contrast, the plants I dug for the photos above were growing in a sandy patch in full sun near the corner of the patio. This is right at the access to the open yard from the lanai, so I'm surprised the plants haven't been trampled..

Here's a photo of that area for perspective. If you look close, you can see there are still some of these plants growing there.

Thumb of 2014-06-08/rattlebox/3ad4f6

I potted up the plants and tuber pieces and will keep an eye on them. Also on the ones left undisturbed among some rocks on the other side of the lanai doorway. Maybe the flowers do open up more, and I have just missed it before. I don't know how I could have missed it before, as I watched them pretty closely last year, anxious to see what this strange plant turned out to be.
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
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
Jun 8, 2014 9:15 AM CST
Something about it reminds me of some plant I've seen before, could it possibly be a variety of Spiranthes? There are a couple found here in Florida.

http://garden.org/plants/browse/plants/genus/Spiranthes/
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
[Last edited by plantladylin - Jun 8, 2014 9:16 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #633867 (12)
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Jun 8, 2014 10:52 AM CST
I think I found it!
Triphora gentianoides
Gentian Noddingcaps

https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottzona/3610163259/
http://plants.usda.gov/java/county?state_name=Florida&statef...
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=2...

The description seems to fit exactly, from tubers, to color of stems, to flowers facing stems instead of outward, and only opening slightly, to habitat from full sun to shade of pine woods.

Apparently the flowers do open a bit more than I've seen.

http://www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/database/plants/Pla...

I'll keep a close eye on the ones I have in pots and try to catch them in the act of being in bloom!

Thanks for everyone's input.
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
[Last edited by rattlebox - Jun 12, 2014 4:21 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #633921 (13)
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
Jun 8, 2014 11:18 AM CST
Hurray! That certainly does look like a match! Now you can add your photo's to the database. Green Grin! There are currently no pictures or information: Gentian Noddingcaps (Triphora gentianoides)
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Leslieray Hurlburt
Sacramento California (Zone 9b)
The WITWIT Badge Region: California Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Xeriscape Native Plants and Wildflowers Salvias
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HamiltonSquare
Jun 8, 2014 11:25 AM CST
Wow. Well done to ID this one. Hurray!
Hamilton Square Garden, Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento California.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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greene
Jun 8, 2014 12:01 PM CST
This may have been the 'funnest' plant ID yet. Thank You!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Jun 8, 2014 12:16 PM CST
I agree, this has been really interesting! Good job, Ron! Smiling
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Jun 8, 2014 12:50 PM CST
I have been watching , this is an interesting plant , so glad it has been identified

Thumbs up Bob
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: Ron
Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Region: Florida Hummingbirder Butterflies Bromeliad Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plant and/or Seed Trader Xeriscape Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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rattlebox
Jun 8, 2014 12:59 PM CST
Thanks, all!

I've marked this as identified, but somehow that seems inadequate.

I think there should be a way to attach "Hooray, FINALLY!" to the "Identified"! Hilarious! Hilarious!

I'll keep an eye on them and try to get some clearer photos for the database.
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
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
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greene
Jun 8, 2014 2:55 PM CST
Do you think it may bloom at night?
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"

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