We are going to play a game called Name that Plant. I am not sure what type of plant this is in the above picture. So, I need some help from my readers. Here is the history behind the mysterious plant.
The Story of How the Plant Came to Be
For all of you gardeners, stop screaming at me. I know. Who plants mesculum in the beginning of June? It can’t take the heat. (Another lesson learned.)
A couple weeks after I planted my seeds, my “lettuce” popped up from the soil. As I looked at it, I noticed that it had jagged leaves and a purple stem. This had to be my lettuce, I thought with a big grin on my face. All those naysayers were wrong, I figured. Lettuce CAN grow in July heat! (So, I thought.)
How can Mother Earth be wrong. This was lettuce. Odd looking, but lettuce. Who knows with heirloom seeds? Right? See, my garden has grown despite all of my goof ups and I believe Mother Nature is just stronger than us.
Weeks go by, and this lettuce is growing and growing. I kept thinking this is odd. Isn’t it supposed to be kind of bunched up?
There are numerous pictures of mesculum on the web and none of them look like my plant. I sent the picture over to my county extension and asked the master gardener to help me identify the plant. I overheard another one of the gardeners think it was a mesculum (also known as a mesclun) but I was not convinced. If it was, how come I could not find a picture of it on the internet? Plus, it loved the heat, which is not characteristic of a salad green.
Is it a Lettuce, Weed, or an Alien?
Then she questioned me. “Do you think it is a weed?” I then quickly added, “it can’t be. It is too beautiful.” Her reply was so matter of factish, “weeds are plants that people think aren’t beautiful.”
Wow that statement just kind of hit me. Was she channeling Mother Earth, telling me all of her plant creatures are beautiful, weed or flower? Or was it a deeper message that I need to stop taking myself so seriously? Who knows? But it just was a really cool statement that I wanted to pass along.
Okay, back to the plant and away from the philosophical “stuff.” I knew she was wrong and this beauty was some very interesting (and might I add, a very cool plant.) I goggled the words, “purple stem” and weed, then the words, “purple stem.”
I did not get any results that looked like my plant. I finally tried the words, “purple veins.” I found nothing that resembled my plant. I was getting frustrated because I wanted to eat it, but what happens if it was poisonous? I have four children. Would my epitaphs say, ” here lies a gardener who was dumb enough to eat a poisonous plant and left four children behind?”
Finally, I sent this picture to the vegetable specialist at the college cooperative extension. I did not hear back from him that night and for some strange reason, perhaps being guided by divine plant forces, I goggled an unnamed word with purple and found my plant. (I can’t tell you because it is a game). Dumb luck? Who knows? Mother Earth guiding my hand? Perhaps? (Maybe, Mother Google?)
The next day, I did receive an email from the vegetable specialist identifying the plant as mesculum. He said in this email, “this handsome plant is a mesculum” and urged me to save the seeds. See, he called it a “handsome” plant!!! Ye of little faith, who could possibly think it is a weed …. I emailed him back that day and told him of my discovery of a plant that resembles my plant.
Take the Plant Challenge, and Name that Plant!
We are in disagreement as to what kind of plant I have. So are you going to take the challenge and name that plant that I found AND do you agree with vegetable specialist or me ….. Earn a bit of fame on Green Talk. (Oh, just put me out of my misery so I can eat the plant.)