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A wrap up for the week and the mystery plants

October 17, 2014

It has been a busy and productive week. Julie and I tried to wrap up as much as we could since we leave Monday morning for Baton Rouge and the Southern Region MG Conference. The extended forecast shows great weather,so I hope that holds true.

I did forget to give the answers to last weeks mystery plant challenge and offer a new one, so here goes:

Mystery plant A – mystery plant a oct8.2 is a native deciduous shrub called winged sumac – Rhus copallina (roos kop-al-EYE-nuh). It can get 15 feet tall or more and has compound leaves with that extra wing or tissue along the midrib of the leaves. It has outstanding fall color, but can be a bit agressive in the home landscape. The plants set large, showy red fruits in the center which have many culinary uses.
Native Americans and early colonists used this native plant to create a refreshing, pink lemonade hundreds of years ago–which Tamara Walkingstick, our extension forester often makes for workshops. The berries have a sour flavor and can replace lemon in many recipes. In the middle east sumac is used to flavor many dishes, and the Middle Eastern spice blend zaatar (zatar) has sumac as the main ingredient. As a spice it is generally used ground. If the berries are whole, they should be steeped in hot water for about 30 minutes; then strained through a cheesecloth and squeezed to extract an aromatic liquid for use in cooking waters or marinades.

Mystery plant B – mystery plant sept bgo.2mexican coral vine is an interesting one. I thought I was using the Mexican Coral Vine picture I took (the second shot) when in reality I got the shot of Oriental knotweed – Persicaria orientalis (per-sih-KAR-ee-u) which is growing in a mixed planting with a grape vine on an arbor at the BGO. Knotweed or Kiss me over the garden gate (a common name) is not a vine, but an annual plant that can grow 4 – 8 feet or more in height and can be trained almost as a vine. Ann Wood is the only one who caught the error–everyone else guessed coral vine -Antigonon leptopus ( an-TIG-oh-non LEP-toh-puss) which is in the same family Polygonaceae, but a much more vigorous vine, however not very hardy in NW Arkansas.

Mystery plant C – mystery plant c.oct82

mystery plant c.oct81 is the evergreen shrub Fatsia japonica (FAT see uh). It is not too hardy further north than central Arkansas unless it is in a protected spot. The mottled leaf is one that shed from the plant. It loves the shade and can give a tropical look to a landscape.

Here are your choices for this week:

Mystery plant A – mystery plants oct14.14.3 is a tree

Mystery plant B – mystery plants oct14.14.1

mystery plants oct14.14.2 is a deciduous shrub/native plant–quite showy now.

Mystery plant C – is a wildflower –mystery plant oct 15.14 sent in from a reader today in Prairie Grove.

Good Luck!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. neldaseever permalink
    October 18, 2014 12:16 pm

    Chinese Tallow, Groundsel or saltbush, and Green Antelopehorn Milkweed. From your Florida fan. nelda

  2. Dianne permalink
    October 19, 2014 4:56 pm

    suddenly my photos will not come up from the blog…got any ideas to fix??? Dianne Percefull

  3. DiannePercefull permalink
    October 22, 2014 5:38 pm

    Mystery Plants October 17, 2014
    A. Chinese Tallow Tree: Saprium /sebrferum
    B. Jointweed Pollygonella americanan
    C. Green Milkweed Asclepia verdis

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