The Encyclopedia Hydroponica

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Mystery Plant Revisited 22 June, 2008

Filed under: Blog — E.H. @ 10:59 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Okay, I know that I’d dubbed the Mystery Plant a turnip, but I’m starting to question that.  Again.

Turnips are supposed to grow below ground and this plant doesn’t seem interested in doing so.  Instead, it seems to producing most (if not all) of its veggie part above ground.  Which, as I understand, is typical of rutabagas.  In fact, that seems to be one of the primary distinctions between the two.  As you can see below, it has gotten significantly larger since my last photographs.

I’ve also had some damage done to the leaves by some green garden looper caterpillars that are trying to eat pretty much everything in sight.  They’ve chomped holes in several different leaves on several different plants, and many of them have ended up squished on the pavement to feed the local ants.

As I said, the Mystery Plant has gotten much bigger.  I haven’t really dug around it, but as near as I can tell by feeling around the base it isn’t bulging out underground.  There’s no indication that there’s a lot more to it under the surface, but I can’t be sure.  What is visible is, as you can see, substantial.  The black fill spout to the lower right is (if you’re not familiar with the commercial Earth Box) large enough to easily admit a standard garden hose inside.  The Mystery Plant “stalk” is at least three inches across now.

Not shown here, since this picture is from yesterday, the bottom third of the “stalk” seems to be bulging slightly.

The leaves are visually identical to several photos I’ve seen of Rutabaga leaves, and distinctly different than turnip leaves in that the edges are much smoother.  It also lacks the distinctive red coloring found in radishes.  I would expect a radish to develop underground, and the leaf stalks and veins should transition from a deep red to green as you get away from the root.

Thus I’m currently vetoing my ruling of “turnip” and proposing “rutabaga” as the identity of this plant.

Any thoughts?

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One Response to “Mystery Plant Revisited”

  1. ann parks Says:

    Perhaps it is a wild radish (Raphanus sativus), a common naturalized weed in some areas. Wild radish has a tough, woody taproot that is unpalatable.


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