Identify this Plant
June 5, 2016 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone identify this plant? It seemed to shoot up overnight and its huge! pic 1, pic 2, pic 3

It has large leaves, a very thick stalk and clusters of small yellow flowers. We didn't plant it but its in a new planter full of soil we bought in and all sorts of things have been growing in it that we didn't plant.
This is in the Nottingham, UK - although I don't know the source of the soil.

Dad thinks rapeseed but it seems to wide and bushy to me rather than tall and thin like the pictures and Mum thinks its potato although it doesn't match any of the pictures of potato plants I found online ( I also thought potato too , although I don't know why)
posted by missmagenta to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
The blooms are certainly Brassicaceae-ish (mustard/cabbage/rape family), but I can't tell whether the leaves have the distinctive fleshy, basically hairless texture. Could be some sort of rapeseed/field mustard, but definitely not potato.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:58 AM on June 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yes, it might be field mustard. The flowers certainly look it.
posted by zennie at 9:22 AM on June 5, 2016

I'm no expert on Brassicas, but from pics on the web, it looks a lot like Black Mustard (Brassica nigra) to me.
posted by conic at 9:39 AM on June 5, 2016

My flower guide mentions the flowers being ‘overtopped by the buds’ (as they are on your plant) as being a feature of oilseed rape. Don’t know if it’s completely diagnostic, but makes sense to me that a great big robust fast growing plant might be a cultivated variety of some sort, and rape must be by far the commonest yellow mustard/cabbage crop in the UK. I always think the flowers of rape smell absolutely foul, if that helps.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 10:15 AM on June 5, 2016

The leaves do look kind of wrong though. Swede?
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 10:25 AM on June 5, 2016

It's not rape as the leaves are too big. If the leaves were this big on oilseed rape they could never be grown so tightly packed in fields. When rape browns and the leaves die off they're practically non-existent.
posted by Emma May Smith at 11:10 AM on June 5, 2016

Wild Turnip seems to be the best match so far (although I think Black mustard is what the other unidentified plant we found this morning is - when I say "found", I assumed it was something Dad planted last year but he says not)
I took another picture to give a sense of the scale here

(also, just went out to it again and there are about a dozen tiny beetles on it giving each other piggy back rides....)
posted by missmagenta at 11:15 AM on June 5, 2016

>there are about a dozen tiny beetles on it giving each other piggy back rides
That is almost certainly not what they're doing. We were going to wait til you're older to tell you about this, but sometimes, when a mommy and a daddy beetle really love each other, they give each other a special kind of piggyback ride, and then, 4-19 days later, you and your 56 siblings are hatched!

posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:23 AM on June 5, 2016 [19 favorites]

I know what they were doing ;)
posted by missmagenta at 11:26 AM on June 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

Wild mustard! Although differentiating between the various mustard family weeds can be challenging!
Most definitely not rapeseed: rapeseed leaves are waxier, rounder and the flowers are on taller stems.
posted by bluebelle at 7:07 PM on June 5, 2016

« Older Should I give my baby a middle name?   |   Can I still plug a mouse into a laptop with broken... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.