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Identifying Unknown Plants/unknown purchased plant


unknown plant
unknown plant  
QUESTION: 5-6 years ago, I purchased a beautiful small plant from a AHS plant sale. I would have purchased it for shade but never knew name or misplaced name. It continues to come up every year but grows very little, does not have flowers, deer do it it (if they manage to get in my garden, each stem seems to produce differnent number of leaflets. I'm assuming it has not grown due to lack of sun, etc.? It is among hostas, hellebores, impatiens, ferns, etc. I have pictures to send.

ANSWER: Hi Millie,

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to answer.  Do you have other pictures of it?
It appears to be woody, like a deciduous shrub - just behind a hellebore? I can't tell if that's a pinnate leaf or a branch with opposite leaves.  What I'm seeing is 1 branch, and a new one just protruding in front of it in the midst of another plant.  Is this correct?  If deer have grazed it in the past, it's quite possible that it's leaf shape has changed to look more like the toxic plants around it - it's called plant mimicry.

I would suggest you take a sample to a local plant expert, but there doesn't seem to be much of it.  Maybe when your daytime temp is 72F or below, you might transplant it into a little brighter and roomier area.  Those Hosta's are beautiful, and I can tell from the plants you named that your garden is lovely.  I will try another tack, and if I stumble upon it - I'll let you know.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

unknown plant
unknown plant  
QUESTION: The unknown plant is in the center of picture with hostas & fern tip.  Those leaves are the branch may have 5,6,7 or 8 leaflets...I'm not kidding <G>  They are all various sizes since some are new growth.   
 Here is another picture. I have checked with nurseries & hort answers.

Hi Millie,

Just wanted to let you know I'm still looking.  I have a few questions.  Are the shoots coming from one trunk or crown or are they independent ?  The new growth appears prickly or fuzzy on the stem - that could be a vital clue.  Is this fuzz soft or stiff and prickly?  How about the underside of the leaves?  Any fuzz, or are they smooth?  Crush a leaf - does it smell spicy, or pleasant or acrid, or just "green"?  What part of the US do you live in?  I'm not being nosy - all this info will narrow down the suspects.  Tell me anything you can think of - height, width, I think you said the deer eat it - but that line was messed up in the original message - just said deer it.  If deer favor it, that is also a clue.  Rabbits would be eating that Hosta, lol.  It's naggy, because it seems like something I should know right off - it seems both unusual and familiar.  If you tell me what state you're in, maybe I can send a picture to some local expert.

Identifying Unknown Plants

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Susan Tabor


I can identify most weeds, ornamentals,and wild plants by description or photo. If it is completely unknown to me, I can usually type info into a botanical search engine and find it. I am familiar with unusual plants from all over the world.


Thirty-five years of research and experience in horticulture.

You already have that information. I'm just listing myself in a new catagory.

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