help identify this mystery plant!
June 13, 2011 11:21 AM   Subscribe

there is a mystery plant in our vegetable garden- please help us identify it!

hiya. this plant is growing in my vegetable garden between the kale and spinach rows. we have no idea where it came from (random seed?) and think it might be a weed, but are optimistic it might be a bit more edible. do you have any ideas?
posted by ali.perelman to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Looks like squash or zucchini.

Did you grow any squash or zucchini last year?

(I've got plenty of Alabama Red Okra popping up in my garden, didn't plant any this year. I did last year.)
posted by cinemafiend at 11:29 AM on June 13, 2011

I'll take jimson weed for $100, Alex, but only if it has a distinctive...smell...about it. Hard to describe, but it reminds me of a perfume covering up a nasty scent.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:41 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, my brain instantly said "cockle burr" when I saw it, but I'm not sure the pictures of the leaves exactly match up. I'm really really going to say it doesn't look like squash or zucchini to me, and okra leaves are generally shorter, more rounded at that stage. If it looks like any cultivated plant at all, I would say maybe eggplant, which is a member of the nightshade family, for what that's worth--it isn't deadly nightshade; I've been yanking that out of my garden all spring, so am very familiar with it, but it might be a cousin . . . maybe datura? Hey! Try Jimson weed.
posted by miss patrish at 11:42 AM on June 13, 2011

Well poop! MonkeyToes beat me to it.
posted by miss patrish at 11:43 AM on June 13, 2011

Don't, um, eat it, 'kay?
posted by miss patrish at 11:43 AM on June 13, 2011

Listen to miss patrish. If it is, indeed, jimson weed (wiki), get rid of it: "All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of poison and may be fatal if ingested by humans or other animals, including livestock and pets." It's prolific, too. I've been fighting to keep it out of my root vegetable garden, and the best thing I can say is that there's less of it than there was last year.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:48 AM on June 13, 2011

posted by jim in austin at 2:00 PM on June 13, 2011

If it is indeed jimsonweed, may I recommend wearing gloves while you dig up/remove that stuff. And don't put it in your compost pile, either, just in case the toxins seep into the compost, which gets absorbed by your veggie garden... If there's some sort of safe way you can BURN that shit that you can avoid inhaling the smoke, I'd do that too. Maybe a bit paranoid, but when it comes to poison I'd rather be too careful.

I will say with some certainty that does not look like zucchini. The leaves are too elongated, and there's no real stems. Zucchini tends to branch out more, rather than having a central stalk like yours does, and at that size would possibly have flowers start forming.

... Thank you for reminding me I need to go transplant my zucchini as soon as it stops raining.
posted by Heretical at 5:23 PM on June 13, 2011

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