PLANT I.D.

We have lots of self sowing volunteers in the garden this year – sunflowers, pumpkins, melons, greens and this graceful beauty.

One plant in the front that was a traffic stopper — even our patroling police got out of his car to take a look!

We first thought it either broom corn, sorghum or pompas grass – bonk, bonk and bonk.  Upon further inspection and some online research we found out that it’s actually sudan grass which happens to be great livestock feed. 

Yeah goaties. 

Of course the weird thing about this plant, Justin informs me, under certain conditions, the plant may be dangerously poisonous and should never be fed in a wilted or stunted condition to livestock.  Good to know, a Jekyll and Hyde of the plant world. 

What plant surprises to you have growing in your garden?  Don’t you like when your garden is full of surprise, you never know what you’ll find next?

Comments(24)

  1. Ginny says:

    Greetings!

    I have been so busy, I have just been reading your posts in Bloglines. But, I had to tell you about my tomato plant that is growing in our gravel driveway. It is a roma and it is making tomatoes. I have been protecting it and watering it. I didn’t even grow romas this year, it must be a seed from last year. LOL!

    The sudan grass looks very pretty and healthy.

    In Christ,

    Ginny
    http://randvfarmstead.blogspot.com

  2. Ginny says:

    Greetings!

    I have been so busy, I have just been reading your posts in Bloglines. But, I had to tell you about my tomato plant that is growing in our gravel driveway. It is a roma and it is making tomatoes. I have been protecting it and watering it. I didn’t even grow romas this year, it must be a seed from last year. LOL!

    The sudan grass looks very pretty and healthy.

    In Christ,

    Ginny
    http://randvfarmstead.blogspot.com

  3. Kathi says:

    In Oklahoma we call that Johnson grass.

  4. Kathi says:

    In Oklahoma we call that Johnson grass.

  5. Janice K says:

    I have a mystery plant! According to the websites it’s either a Black Nightshade or a Garden Huckleberry… it’s hard to tell. It pretty much looks like this:

    http://www.oisat.org/pests/weeds/broad_leaf_weeds/black_nightshade.html

    with white, tomato-shaped, small blossoms. Should I just dig it back into the soil, or are these berries edible???

  6. Janice K says:

    I have a mystery plant! According to the websites it’s either a Black Nightshade or a Garden Huckleberry… it’s hard to tell. It pretty much looks like this:

    http://www.oisat.org/pests/weeds/broad_leaf_weeds/black_nightshade.html

    with white, tomato-shaped, small blossoms. Should I just dig it back into the soil, or are these berries edible???

  7. Sandra says:

    We planted some bamboo plants about two weeks ago and apparently we got a bonus of sunflower seeds because know we have about 10 sunflower plants coming up in front of the bamboo.

  8. Sandra says:

    We planted some bamboo plants about two weeks ago and apparently we got a bonus of sunflower seeds because know we have about 10 sunflower plants coming up in front of the bamboo.

  9. Brandi says:

    I was quite surprised when we moved to this house in Ohio a few years ago and we had Prickly Pear cactus growing by the side of the house! I thought it must have been a pot escapee and would die over the winter, but upon further research (and several years of witnessing it with my own eyes), I found that prickly pear is quite happy here in Ohio. Not only does it survive the winter, it THRIVES.

    I’ve yet to brave the spines to eat it though…

  10. Brandi says:

    I was quite surprised when we moved to this house in Ohio a few years ago and we had Prickly Pear cactus growing by the side of the house! I thought it must have been a pot escapee and would die over the winter, but upon further research (and several years of witnessing it with my own eyes), I found that prickly pear is quite happy here in Ohio. Not only does it survive the winter, it THRIVES.

    I’ve yet to brave the spines to eat it though…

  11. Lea says:

    … we live on a 100year old plus farmstead that had been overgrown to mostly woods and scrub by the time we took it over.. the lady who lived here was the daughter of a slave who was an herbalist… ( her brother was a moonshiner).. we have evidence of both on the property! I wish I had some one to walk the property with me and tell me what I have volunteering…or at least living here on purpose after all these years… we cleared about a 1/4 acre this year for a fall garden and tea roses are now growing and blooming… I suppose that is the most interesting so far this season!

    I love your site by the way

  12. Lea says:

    … we live on a 100year old plus farmstead that had been overgrown to mostly woods and scrub by the time we took it over.. the lady who lived here was the daughter of a slave who was an herbalist… ( her brother was a moonshiner).. we have evidence of both on the property! I wish I had some one to walk the property with me and tell me what I have volunteering…or at least living here on purpose after all these years… we cleared about a 1/4 acre this year for a fall garden and tea roses are now growing and blooming… I suppose that is the most interesting so far this season!

    I love your site by the way

  13. Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings says:

    our compost pile usually results in a few plants each year. We seem to always end up with tomato plants but never what kind they are (cherry or whatever) until the first one appears. lol One year we had jug gourd plants come up in the compost…resulted in 14 jug gourds that we sold to a local farm stand for $1.75 each. They sell them for drinking jugs once dried out as well as birdhouses. There have been pumpkins come up in there as well as many cherry tomatoes, potato plants, and more.

    Always a surprise.

  14. Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings says:

    our compost pile usually results in a few plants each year. We seem to always end up with tomato plants but never what kind they are (cherry or whatever) until the first one appears. lol One year we had jug gourd plants come up in the compost…resulted in 14 jug gourds that we sold to a local farm stand for $1.75 each. They sell them for drinking jugs once dried out as well as birdhouses. There have been pumpkins come up in there as well as many cherry tomatoes, potato plants, and more.

    Always a surprise.

  15. Nick says:

    I’ve had cherry tomatoes and potatoes volunteer in the compost pile, and got some food out of each. I also get squirrel-planted oak trees and gravity-planted palms every year, and one oak I let grow to about 20′ but kind of wish I hadn’t now. I’ve also let 4 of the palms grow and wish I hadn’t done that either because one is pushing a block wall over.

  16. Nick says:

    I’ve had cherry tomatoes and potatoes volunteer in the compost pile, and got some food out of each. I also get squirrel-planted oak trees and gravity-planted palms every year, and one oak I let grow to about 20′ but kind of wish I hadn’t now. I’ve also let 4 of the palms grow and wish I hadn’t done that either because one is pushing a block wall over.

  17. Sarah says:

    This has been a big year for volunteer plants popping up all over my garden. I’ve got at least 10 mystery tomato plants, 15 eggplants (which is slightly ironic since I had so much trouble starting them from seeds in the greenhouse), melon, cilantro, basil, Bells of Ireland, zinnias and peppers. I just keep digging them up and moving them to new locations. I’m in suspense waiting to see what kind of tomatoes I’m going to get. I had 20 different kinds planted last year so there is no telling what they are going to be. I also have these funky cherry/plum trees which produce a sweet tart fruit. This is the first year I am putting them to good use by canning them. My first attempt at jam turned into a sweet and sour cherry sauce instead. It tastes wonderful. Thank you for inspiring me to be creative and use what I have. You guys set a great example for others to follow and I hope you know that it is very appreciated.

  18. Sarah says:

    This has been a big year for volunteer plants popping up all over my garden. I’ve got at least 10 mystery tomato plants, 15 eggplants (which is slightly ironic since I had so much trouble starting them from seeds in the greenhouse), melon, cilantro, basil, Bells of Ireland, zinnias and peppers. I just keep digging them up and moving them to new locations. I’m in suspense waiting to see what kind of tomatoes I’m going to get. I had 20 different kinds planted last year so there is no telling what they are going to be. I also have these funky cherry/plum trees which produce a sweet tart fruit. This is the first year I am putting them to good use by canning them. My first attempt at jam turned into a sweet and sour cherry sauce instead. It tastes wonderful. Thank you for inspiring me to be creative and use what I have. You guys set a great example for others to follow and I hope you know that it is very appreciated.

  19. Kim says:

    I planted a tomato and a pepper in two large pots, worm compost in the soil, and I’ve got huge vines coming out of them, which I suspect are some kind of squash. There are hand-sized gorgeous peach colored blooms on it right now…can’t wait to see what they are!

  20. Kim says:

    I planted a tomato and a pepper in two large pots, worm compost in the soil, and I’ve got huge vines coming out of them, which I suspect are some kind of squash. There are hand-sized gorgeous peach colored blooms on it right now…can’t wait to see what they are!

  21. nee says:

    Loads of butterfly weed (Monarch magnet/caterpillar food), miniature zinnas, marigolds, Thai basil, a lone melon of some sort, and black oil sunflower have set up camp! Also, one or two sweet basil plants have popped up and thrived between flagstones…even tho’ it was 106 here yesterday, the basil just gets more robust!

  22. nee says:

    Loads of butterfly weed (Monarch magnet/caterpillar food), miniature zinnas, marigolds, Thai basil, a lone melon of some sort, and black oil sunflower have set up camp! Also, one or two sweet basil plants have popped up and thrived between flagstones…even tho’ it was 106 here yesterday, the basil just gets more robust!

  23. bill says:

    That does look like Johnson Grass. If it is, be very careful of the seeds as they will spread easily and come up everywhere. It is in almost all coastal hay baled here in north east Texas. In lawns and gardens it is considered a weed and a very hardy one at that.
    Kids all over pull the long stems that hold the seed heads and chew on them!

  24. bill says:

    That does look like Johnson Grass. If it is, be very careful of the seeds as they will spread easily and come up everywhere. It is in almost all coastal hay baled here in north east Texas. In lawns and gardens it is considered a weed and a very hardy one at that.
    Kids all over pull the long stems that hold the seed heads and chew on them!

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