General Discussion:

Mystery Plant

Messages posted to thread:

Karen22-Mar-01 08:04 PM EST   
Susan22-Mar-01 08:31 PM EST   
Karen22-Mar-01 09:23 PM EST   
Susan23-Mar-01 07:20 AM EST   
Karen23-Mar-01 06:56 PM EST   
Ann23-Mar-01 07:46 PM EST   
Susan23-Mar-01 09:07 PM EST   
Karen25-Mar-01 12:19 AM EST   
The Budding Poet25-Mar-01 03:44 AM EST   
Linda27-Mar-01 10:27 PM EST   

Subject: Mystery Plant
From: Karen
Date: 22-Mar-01 08:04 PM EST

I posted about this plant last June and still haven't figured out what it is! Of course, it might have been a good idea to take a clipping to my nursery. Such a good idea that it slipped my mind entirely!

So, I'll give you wonderful gardeners a crack at it!

When it pops up in the spring, the stem and first leaves are a deep maroon colour. My mother mistakenly identified it as peony. Well, it grew and it grew and it grew. By June this thing was 5 or 6 feet tall and taking over my yard! The branches remain reddish (green tinge) and get quite woody by the end of the growing season. The leaves turned grass green and were not-quite heart-shaped, about 3" long. If memory serves, there were 6 leaves to a stem, 3 adjacent sets. Not fernlike, though. In late summer it gets cream-coloured sprays of tiny flowers that look alot like goatsbeard, but they don't grow at the top of the plant - they're interspersed with the leaves. And it spreads and spreads and spreads through suckers. It's extremely invasive.

My husband and my neighbours hate it and want me to dig it out this spring. I have to admit it grows like a "weed". It's nice to have an easy cover for the fence, and it seems a shame to rip out such an established plant. When the neighbours bought their house, their yard was completely full of the stuff - a jungle.

Anyway, I've been all over the internet trying to find out what this thing is. I'd like to save a little and try to contain it to a shady corner if at all possible.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Subject: RE: Mystery Plant
From: Susan
Date: 22-Mar-01 08:31 PM EST

Some of the description (rampant growth, sprays of white flowers) sounds like Silverlace but the rest of the description doesn't match. If it was Silverlace, there would be a net of last year's woody vines - does it die back to ground level each year or sprout new leaves/growth from last year's wood? Does it have and fruit after the flowers? If so, what does it look like?

Subject: RE: Mystery Plant
From: Karen
Date: 22-Mar-01 09:23 PM EST

I've only been in the house for one summer, so I'm not sure. There was nothing there in the fall we moved in, then the following spring - boom! I cut it back last fall so I don't know if it dies back on it's own or not. I assume so since it sprouted so freely last year - suckers all over the place! No fruit.

I'll see if I can find a picture of Silverlace somewhere on the www.

Subject: RE: Mystery Plant
From: Susan
Date: 23-Mar-01 07:20 AM EST

Actually, I just realized I was assuming it was a vine but you never say so - could it be American Elder? - A fast growing, suckering weedy-looking shrub - mine grew 6 feet in a year too. It has sprays of white flowers in July/August but then the flowers produce berries that start out green and turn blue-black.

Subject: RE: Mystery Plant
From: Karen
Date: 23-Mar-01 06:56 PM EST

Elder as in "elderberries?" I wish! My dad has a great recipe for elderberry jam. No -- no berries.

I wouldn't say it is a vine. When I still thought it was a peony, I lovingly tied to the fence with old nylons because it was crowding out my newly laid flagstone path.

Incidentally, I was able to find a blurry picture of silverlace and it is similar in appearance, but as I said, it blooms in late summer, whereas silverlace blooms earlier. Oh, if only I had a picture of it!

Subject: RE: Mystery Plant
From: Ann
Date: 23-Mar-01 07:46 PM EST

Sounds very much like Japanese Knotweed to me, recently planted as a shrubby fence covering. In certain situations it is extremely invasive, not so much where the winters are sub-zero but most Maritimers and European gardeners hate it like the plague!!!! It spreads by underground runners.

Subject: RE: Mystery Plant
From: Susan
Date: 23-Mar-01 09:07 PM EST

Try this site for a picture of Silver Lace:

Silver Lace blooms from late July to the end of September or so...

For information on Japanese Knotweed, go to:

Subject: RE: Mystery Plant
From: Karen
Date: 25-Mar-01 12:19 AM EST


Japanese Knotweed it is! Thank you Ann and Susan for your help here.

Now...any suggestions on how best to get rid of it?

Subject: RE: Mystery Plant
From: The Budding Poet
Date: 25-Mar-01 03:44 AM EST


If you can't beat it it. Here are a couple of 'knotty' recipes. Japanese Knotweed Sherbet

This sour rhubarb relative, a member of the buckwheat family, lends its lemony flavor and thickening qualities to this sweet-tasting sherbet.

3 cups Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) stalks, peeled if desired, coarsely sliced 1-1/3 cups orange juice (freshly squeezed is best) 1-1/2 cups apple juice or other fruit juice 1/2 cup lemon juice 1/4 cup canola oil 1/4 cup vegetable glycerin, honey, barley malt, or rice syrup 1 tbs. freshly grated (or 1 tsp. dried) orange rind 2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tsp. lemon extract 1 tsp. liquid stevia (optional) 1/4 tsp. salt

1. Simmer the Japanese knotweed shoots in the orange juice, apple juice, and lemon juice 10 minutes or until soft.

2. Puree in a blender with the remaining ingredients.

3. Chill.

4. Pour into an ice cream machine and run it until done.

Makes 5 cups

Time: 20 + 60 minutes

Knot Soup

Is this soup or is it knot soup? Maybe it’s both. Either way, the tangy flavor of Japanese knotweed mellowed out by vegetable broth and tofu-cream cheese results in a winner you'll knot regret having made.

4 cups vegetable broth

3-1/2 cups young Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) shoots or rhubarb, sliced

1 cup tofu-cream cheese

1. Simmer the knotweed in the broth 5 minutes or until tender.

2. Stir in the tofu-cream cheese and serve.

Serves 6

Time: 20 minutes


Subject: RE: Mystery Plant
From: Linda
Date: 27-Mar-01 10:27 PM EST

To Budding Poet. I am almost tempted to plant some Japanese knotweed just to try that sherbet recipe. It sounds delicious! (But I do not want to chance an invasion like Karen had in her yard.)

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