Need help IDing (edible??) plantgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Ok, I am fairly well versed at identifying wild edible plants, and do a bit of foraging from ime to time. But there is one plant I keep running across that I have NO IDEA what it is- and its quite recogniseable. I have not, to date, witnessed the plant produce flowers- this is one of the reasons I am having such trouble IDing it- my books mostly deal with flowering plants. So, heres the description, could someone give me a clue as to what this plant is or might be (I will, of course do reasearch to double check- but with out a name to start with, its been impossible. Oh, and Ive been on this plant's "trail" for two years now! Ok: Description of leaves: Dark green above. One to two leaves per plant- very low growing. Leaves often (but not always) reddish/ purple on the underside. Sometimes greeninsh on underside- but paler than on top. Veined similarly to broad leafed plantain. Leaf is slightly heart shaped at base, pointed at tip, being oblong. Leaves often 2-3 inches across by 4-5 or so long. Sometimes leaves will bear- fungus like spotted bumps (reddish) on top and bottom. (that may indeed be just a fungus) Habitat: shaded wooded hillsides and bottom land. Often growing near each other, but not closely (spaced by 6 inches or more), in small patches of 2 to 20 plants. Size: low growing, never ever above 6 inches in height. Overall: no stem (other than leaf stem) or flower that I have witnessed- I have checked on this plant regularly for 2 years. Leaves do not wither in winter (evergreen). Roots: This plant bears small, roundish tubers or ground nuts. The roots themselves are viney, not deep, with no taproot. Small feeder roots protrude regularly form main viney root. Along the viney root are the ground nuts. They are approximently pea sized to shelled walnut in size, with 1 to 5 or more per plant, often 2 large nuts and several smaller ones. Nuts are whitish. When boiled (I experimented) they emit starch, similarly to potato. They also taste (really, it was a very small nibble, and was not swallowed!) similar to a potato. Range: I personally have witnessed this plant from the mountains of NC all the way to the coastal flats. I am almost certain that the range extends to other states, as it is so large in NC. Any Ideas????
-- Kevin in NC (Vantravlrs@aol.com), November 14, 2001
I think I have an idea but you'll want to follow up with research. There are woodland orchids that have just one or two evergreen leaves. They may not bloom but for a very short time or not at all if they don't have the right conditions. The ones I've seen have a almost a pinstripe look to them on the upper leaf surface with the stripes being lighter in color... Hope this helps point you in the right direction...
-- Susan (email@example.com), November 14, 2001.
You could take a specimen to your area extension service for their opinion as they should be familiar with the local flora and be able to give you more info for your research. You could also go to www.attra.org and possibly find info or submit a sample.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 15, 2001.
It does sound like a wood orchid from your description. We have some here and it took years before I actually saw one in bloom. Could tell it had flowered because it had a dried stalk in the fall.Flowers on a spikey stalk, individual flowers are small and a medium shade of marroon with light green spots.Not particularly atractive butinteresting.Don't know if its edible or not.
-- VickiP (email@example.com), November 15, 2001.
Have you looked at ginger?? The leaves may be a bit waxy lookin but very green
-- Cindy (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 15, 2001.
Does it ever have a square stem? The purpulishness isindicative of beefstake plant, Beingevergreen , cou;ld be mother of thyme or wld basil
-- Elizabeth Quintana (email@example.com), November 15, 2001.