Mystery plants!

Asked June 29, 2020, 11:19 PM EDT

These very "ambitious" plants have piqued my curiosity. What can you tell me about them? Thank you. Stay Safe! Linda

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

Hello and thank you for contacting Oregon State University Extension Service,

While this question is probably better answered by someone in home horticulture Extension, like a Master Gardener, your photos piqued my curiosity so I did some searching and found the following:

I used the iNaturalist app on my phone, which allows you to take a photo and let the software identify the species. Here's what I found about the first photo:

It told me it is likely a Spotted Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata) https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/51808-Lysimachia-punctata. This is a preliminary identification, of course, as the photo is limiting in detail, but it helped me narrow down the choices. I discovered that there is another species called Garden Loosestrife (Lysimachia verticillaris), which is listed on the Oregon Noxious Weed List (see https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/shared/Documents/Publications/Weeds/GardenLoosestrifeProfile.pdf). It is listed as an "A" listed species, meaning that it's under watch as a plant with limited presence in the state, but present in local areas and adjacent states (it's on Washington's noxious weed list). The key difference between these two species of Lysimachia is that the one on the noxious weed list has an orange area on the base of yellow petals. You can see that clearly in the PDF link above. If you find that this is the noxious weed and not the Spotted version, you might consider removing it (if it's in your yard) and replacing with something else that isn't on the weed list, but has similar characteristics.

iNaturalist has narrowed the other plant down to the Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias), which I have seen in flower gardens (see https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/181594-Euphorbia-characias). It is a relative of the poinsettia, and has a white, milky sap if you break open its leaves and stem. This one does not appear on the Oregon Noxious Weed List.

You might give the iNaturalist app a try. It's fun to go around to different plants (and other kinds of life, like insects) and see if it can identify it.

I hope this response has help. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Thank you again for contacting OSU Extension Service!