What sort of plant is this?

Asked June 4, 2016, 9:09 AM EDT

This plant started to grow last summer, stayed green over winter and now seems to be flowering green, leaf-like flowers with tiny red / yellow centres. It looks to be leaving a small , round, 3 part seed. The plants are now about 4 foot tall. Any ideas what it is?

Outside United States landscape plants plant identification botany flowers: annuals and herbaceous perennials

6 Responses

I do not know, but I am more than willing to do some research to find out or I can pass it on to someone else that may already know the answer. It is a very unique plant.
What zone are you in and what part of the world? Andy

Hi Andy,
Thanks for taking a look at the plant. We are in the UK and about as centrally located as you can get on this island. I have tried several websites and passed pictures on to any friends or family who are more avid gardeners than I and they have this far drawn a blank too.

These plants popped up in a border that had been covered in a very old and overgrown hedge for a very long time probably in the region of 100 years according to some local resident's. We know that a former owner of the house who lived here for most of 20th centuary an avid gardener and possibly collected plants from all over the world so there is no garuntee that this is a UK native.
I have added two more pictures taken in November / December time to show how they looked over the winter. The individual plant shown is the same one as the first photo I attached in the original question.

This is what some call "mole plant" or "gopher purge". The scientific name is Euphorbia lathyris and it is a species of spurge. Euphorbia sap causes a rash so wash well and don't get it on your face or in your eyes. It doesn't really repel the rodents. Here is an information page from my area, Washington State University Extension Clark County: http://www.pnwplants.wsu.edu/PlantDisplay.aspx?PlantID=349

Hi Jacki, thanks for the reply, the"mole plant" certainly seems to be the closest anyone has got to something that looks like the plant we have, but the pictures in the link are not quite the same as our plant. Are there any other variations on the same plant group? Ours are now 5 foot plus tall and seem to be continuing to produce two flowers from the centre of the previous one. Flowers are also a different shape - photo attached. Also Is the mole plant a native of the UK do you know?

Hi Jacki, thanks for the reply, the"mole plant" certainly seems to be the closest anyone has got to something that looks like the plant we have, but the pictures in the link are not quite the same as our plant. Are there any other variations on the same plant group? Ours are now 5 foot plus tall and seem to be continuing to produce two flowers from the centre of the previous one. Flowers are also a different shape - photo attached. Also Is the mole plant a native of the UK do you know?

There is some variation with plants that are from seed. I encourage you to do an internet image search of Euphorbia lathyris to see the images of the plants, the flowers, and the seed heads. Here is one that reminds me of your plants: http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxonimage/id160437/?taxonid=39389
This page, "plants for a future" includes links to related plants, you may want to check those out. http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Euphorbia+lathyris