Plant ID forum→Mystery Plant

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Santa Cruz, CA
nativegardener
Jun 22, 2018 5:17 PM CST
I have attached a photo of an unfamiliar plant for identification. The photo was sent to me by a reader of my garden column, so I don't have any additional information or even my own guess. If you could ID this plant, I will gladly credit the NGA!
Thumb of 2018-06-22/nativegardener/d9b5b6

[Last edited by nativegardener - Jun 22, 2018 5:19 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 22, 2018 7:14 PM CST
You could be looking at the reminds of a spent bloom stalk/seed pods. It looks very familiar but that was the only thing that came to mind. If you think about it, the plant is tip down - it has fallen off of something.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 23, 2018 12:24 PM CST
It kind of does look upside down, but blowing the picture up shows a wider flare at the base so maybe not. Could it be a Euphorbia of some kind - is it even alive?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 23, 2018 12:31 PM CST
Oh! I think I just figured it out. Its a dried up bloom stalk from a palm tree. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 23, 2018 1:15 PM CST
Is the stalk usually fatter at the base on palm tree bloom stalk?
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 23, 2018 3:31 PM CST
What ever it is, it appears to be hanging, rather than coming from the ground. It could be a palm bloom that has dried up.
[Last edited by ctcarol - Jun 23, 2018 5:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 23, 2018 3:49 PM CST
DaisyI said:Oh! I think I just figured it out. Its a dried up bloom stalk from a palm tree. Smiling


I think you are right, there are some that are weeping:

Name: Scott
Tampa FL (Westchase)
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ScotTi
Jun 23, 2018 4:16 PM CST
I agree on the dried flower stalk from a palm.
The photo is giving a illusion from the smaller flower stems hanging down from the stalk that it is wider at the bottom of the photo.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jun 23, 2018 8:11 PM CST
It looks much woodier than the pictured stalk. Do palms produce stouter flower stalks?
Porkpal
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 23, 2018 8:15 PM CST
Oh Yes! I would take pictures, but they just trimmed ours ...Thank the powers that be!
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 23, 2018 8:28 PM CST
Since the reader of your column may be waiting for an answer, perhaps you can request a location for this mystery plant. Also, maybe ask if there are any palm trees nearby. That would be helpful information.

Please remind your readers that NGA is free to join!
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islander
Jun 23, 2018 8:49 PM CST
Pseudopanax ferox from New Zealand. The juvenile plant grows this way.
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jun 23, 2018 9:27 PM CST
Wow! I googled that, and I believe you nailed it.
Porkpal
Salt Spring Island, BC (Zone 8b)
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islander
Jun 23, 2018 9:28 PM CST
It's an oddball. I used to have a plant until a winter toasted it. It was at a plant sale at a botanical garden and I think everyone thought it was dead. This write-up gives a bit more detail: http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_...
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 23, 2018 11:43 PM CST
That does look like it. Thank you islander! I thought this plant was located in Santa Cruz?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
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Henhouse
Jun 24, 2018 1:09 AM CST
Islander nailed it. It's a New Zealand plant that does well in Santa Cruz, and the Bay area. I had one at my last house.. Suncrest Nursery in Watsonville used to grow it (and may still). There were a couple of cultivars or hybrids around some years back. That sawtoothed leaf is the juvenile form. Mature leaves look like a normal leaf. I was delighted to see them growing when I visited New Zealand some years back.
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Jun 24, 2018 1:15 AM CST

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Santa Cruz, CA
nativegardener
Mar 24, 2020 12:42 PM CST
I might not have acknowledged the solution to my mystery plant. Sorry!
Islander identified it as Pseudopanax ferox from New Zealand, and that checked out. I was sent the photo by a gardener from somewhere in the Monterey Bay area. After I learned that this strange plant was real, I found it in the New Zealand garden of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Wow.

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