No, not THAT kind of weed.
June 19, 2012 4:33 PM   Subscribe

Random plant in the garden: Weed or ...?

I have planted a variety of seeds in this little bit of earth over the last couple of years, and had little to no success in growing anything. Last year I used some planting mix to try to grow some carrots and flowers, and a single pretty flower shrub has successfully bloomed. (Yay!)

This spring, I had a new sprout, so I've been nurturing it, but I have NO IDEA what it is. It doesn't look like any of the other weeds in our yard. Its also worth noting that my father tends to recycle planting mix by dumping failed attempts at sprouting seeds back into the container, so who knows what this could be!
If it matters/helps, I live in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley (northern Los Angeles).

Close, from the side.
Top-down shot.
posted by ApathyGirl to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
Looks like a tree seedling, maybe walnut? Have a dig in the ground at the base and you might find a thick root leading to a nut.
posted by Listener at 4:43 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Here's two more photos, more detailed on the leaves and relative size (that's a quarter)

Closeup of leaves
Closeup 2

posted by ApathyGirl at 5:01 PM on June 19, 2012

The second post's links don't work, but it looks like a walnut sapling from the images in the OP.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 5:37 PM on June 19, 2012

To check whether it's a walnut, tear off a small part of a leaf and rub it between your fingers. Walnut has an acrid odor.
posted by Nomyte at 7:00 PM on June 19, 2012

If you don't get a definitive answer from AskMe, here's a good site to post these sorts of pix for identification: Name That Plant
posted by spilon at 7:33 PM on June 19, 2012

Whoops, sorry about the bad linkage, I'll try again:
Close up of leaves.

I took a leaf and rubbed it as suggested, it just smells... green and vaguely fruity.

The leaf formation is perfectly symmetrical, sprouting two branches on opposite sides at a time (like, NS, EW, NS, EW) with 5 leaves per branch in precisely the same placement on each branch.
I love math in nature.

On preview, I'll check that site out!
posted by ApathyGirl at 7:44 PM on June 19, 2012

Maybe a Nandina? I've only seen them in fully-grown shrubby stage, but its leaves look similar.
posted by retypepassword at 10:30 PM on June 19, 2012

It looks like some kind of ash (Fraxinus), but in your neck of the woods, I've got no idea which.
posted by Red Loop at 2:50 AM on June 20, 2012

Definitely a tree sapling. It doesn't matter what kind unless you're keen to keep/move it.
posted by evening at 5:45 AM on June 20, 2012

hickory seedling. Have those all over my yard.
posted by k5.user at 7:12 AM on June 20, 2012

avocado tree? Did your dad try to start an avocado pit?
posted by banshee at 10:53 AM on June 20, 2012

On second glance, its leaflets are toothed, so they're not like Nandina. I concur with everyone else: a tree of some sort.
posted by retypepassword at 5:45 PM on June 20, 2012

I'm sorry to say that I agree its a baby tree, probably an ash given your suggestions and the large number of ash trees in my neighborhood and that the most recent branches have 7 leaves instead of 5.

I wish it weren't a tree, there's no room in that tiny patch of dirt for it to grow.

Thanks everyone!
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:43 AM on June 27, 2012

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