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Is it zombie-Thyme?
October 26, 2012 4:08 PM   Subscribe

What is the mystery plant growing in what used to be my (indoor, potted) thyme? (Pics inside)

Earlier this year I bought a little thyme plant to keep inside on my windowsill. The thyme did terribly, and almost all of it died pretty quickly and just sat there as a bunch of dried-out stalks. A few bits of it were still alive, though, so I kept watering - likely long after even those holdouts gave up the ghost.

Imagine my surprise when we found a bunch of tiny plants sprouting under the dead thyme plant! The little plants sprouted and grew quite quickly, and started to climb the dead thyme, which I finally pulled out of the pot a few days ago as there was starting to be a big tangle in the pot. We've put some little wooden "stakes" in the pot and the mystery plant doesn't seem to be climbing them all by itself, though.

So far I don't see any sign of flowers or blossoms, and the leaves don't smell like anything when I rub them between my fingers. So what is this mystery plant?

Pictures
posted by Rallon to Science & Nature (10 answers total)
 
I can't tell scale, but have you pinched off a leaf and tasted it? If that's the same scale as the original plant (ie: tiny leaves), it could be thyme! I've thought I've killed thyme plants before and been wrong...
posted by straw at 4:20 PM on October 26, 2012


It's still growing larger, but it's already way, way bigger than the thyme. The largest leaves are probably an inch or so long and 1/2" to 3/4" wide.
posted by Rallon at 4:23 PM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are the stalks of the mystery plant a little fuzzy and a bit spiky, by any chance?

If so, my vote it weed, kill it with fire. I have such a thing growing wild and it tries to smother any plants around it. I have been told (by a completely unreliable source) that it's a nasty weed.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:39 PM on October 26, 2012


If it smells like thyme, it is thyme. But that doesn't look very much like thyme to me, because thyme often has stems that are more woody with smaller leaves. I think your plant looks a little like chickweed.
posted by fancyoats at 4:57 PM on October 26, 2012


Uh, I think it's chickweed.
posted by purpleclover at 4:59 PM on October 26, 2012


Chickweed looks right - thanks MeFi!
posted by Rallon at 5:13 PM on October 26, 2012


Sorry, but that ain't chickweed. A weed, yes, but chickweed has a much more dense arrangement of leaves, arranged in diametrically opposed pairs at right angles to each other. It also has an ovoid-shaped leaf, rather than a cardioid-shape as in your pictures.

I can't ID it for you, but I can rule out chickweed.


And thyme. Definitely not thyme, either.
posted by pla at 7:06 PM on October 26, 2012


Are you in the US? If so, look closely at the stems. If they have a strip of white hairs running down one side of 'em, it's chickweed. And chickweed is a tasty, nutrient-rich salad green.
posted by Kibby at 8:55 PM on October 26, 2012


Sorry, but that ain't chickweed. A weed, yes, but chickweed has a much more dense arrangement of leaves, arranged in diametrically opposed pairs at right angles to each other. It also has an ovoid-shaped leaf, rather than a cardioid-shape as in your pictures.

There's a few different weeds called "chickweed". You might be thinking of Cerastium vulgatum or Cerastium arvense. The plant I know as "chickweed" is Stellaria media, which is what this plant looks like to me.

Just don't eat plants that look like this if they have milky sap, because then it's Euphorbia ssp., which is poisonous.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:55 AM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, I learn something new every day! Thanks, oneirodynia!
posted by pla at 3:19 PM on October 27, 2012


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