Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mystery Solved - Velvetleaf

About a month ago, I was babying a plant that I thought was a Hale's Best Jumbo cantaloupe plant.  Not only that, I thought it was a bush-variety of this cantaloupe.  Now I know that I was totally and utterly wrong.  I blame everything on my first-year gardener's ignorance and inexperience.

Then this plant started flowering and setting seed pods and my more experienced readers confirmed that not only was this not a cantaloupe plant, it was most likely a weed of some sort.  Lou Murray, Mr. H. and Anonymous commented here and here that it looked like something in the Indian Mallow family.

Well, I let the plant live out its life and I'm now positive that what I accidentally grew was Velvetleaf in the Mallow family.  I found a few websites that provided lots of information about Velvetleaf.

The scariest piece of information that I learned about Velvetleaf, which is actually a pretty seriously invasive weed, is that its seeds can remain viable in soil for more than 50 years.  FIFTY YEARS!

And I grew it in a five-gallon bucket. With a stake for support.


kitsapFG said...

LOL! And so you nurtured that invasive weed to full seed production! I think I would be carefully removing it and burning it before the seeds were released. :D

I have to admit that I have grown a weed for a long while before I realized it was not the plant I thought I had growing and that it was indeed just a weed.

thyme2garden said...

kitsapFG - I sure did. I wish I could have burned it, but we don't really have a proper setup for burning anything on our property. I just removed it carefully and put it in a large plastic bag to go out with the trash. I hope this is my first and last time inadvertently growing a weed!

meemsnyc said...

Oh no, fifty years!! LOL

Annie's Granny said...

HA! Ranks right up there with my carrying a pizza around with a burning pot holder.

I'm sure I've nurtured more than a few weeds in my lifetime. In fact, just this summer I almost built a trellis for a lovely vine that was growing at the corner of my house. Then I looked it up, and found out it was a very noxious and invasive weed.

Dan Owen said...

This plant is also known as Indian Mallow and is the bane of any farmer unfortunate enough to have it get into his fields. Wonder if you have more of these plants growing nearby?

upinak said...

Okay.. who HASN'T nutured the invasive at one time? I am not just talking weeds either. ;)

Thyme, poop happens. LOL, but here is a bit of advice. If you know someone who has a nice FLAME THROWER... I would say Fire Bomb it! Or portable welding tools work well too!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Ha!! That's funny! And here I thought my stupid Canadian Thistle was evil with a 20 year span for evil spawn!

thyme2garden said...

meemsnyc - I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw "fifty"!

* * * * *
Granny - I guess these weeds often confuse newbie and experienced gardeners alike!

* * * * *
Dan Owen - I admit that I haven't looked THAT carefully, but I haven't seen anything growing like this anywhere in our development. I would be much more worried if I was actually a farmer, though!

* * * * *
upinak - that would be a No to both the flame thrower and the portable welding tool. But thanks for the ideas!

* * * * *
The Apple Pie Gal - 20 years, 50 years, they are all evil! Too bad our vegetable seeds don't last that long!

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Your not alone making those kind of mistakes :o)..What about the treasures you had and didn't realize it until they were gone or given away :o(

Cori said...

Velvetleaf - Friend, not foe! I had this in my garden last year. Obviously, I knew it was a weed but when I paid close attention I realized that the Japanese beetles Loooove this plant! They will eat the leaves of it without touching your veggies. Next year try and get some seeds to plant where you want them go and you will be happy to have this "horrible, invasive, garden-killer" in your garden!

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