Neighbour's Unknown Plants

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by ashphaltandshade, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. ashphaltandshade

    ashphaltandshade Active Member

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    Hi! My neighbour asked me to plant-sit for her, but she doesn't know what she got herself into! Some of her plants were in a sorry state, and I have been busy repotting, de-bugging and moving plants into better lighting conditions. Some of her plants, I don't know what they are, so I can't interfere with them. Unknown Plant #1 was sitting in a slimy bowl full of stagnant water with most of its roots rotted. I removed the rotten roots, cleaned the bowl and filled it with fresh water, but I'm assuming it is not a water plant and needs to get potted into some soil. Unknown Plant #2 was mostly dead from root rot from over-watering, and after removing all the dead bits this is all that is left. Unknown Plant #3 is fine, I'm just wondering what it is. And finally, Unknown Plant #4 is desperately in need of potting up; I'm guessing it is still in the pot it was bought in. Would someone please identify these plants for me? Thank you!
     

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  2. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Well...#2 looks to be a citrus of some sort; the top is dead, and it's hard to tell from the photo (the leaves are impeding the view) whether or not the shoot is above or below the graft (assuming there is one). If it's below, than the live part is rootstock. I'm sure you'll get ID on the others in short order...
     
  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    #2 might be Castanospermum australe, Moreton Bay Chestnut.
     
  4. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    1 looks like a spider plant, Chlorophytum.
    2...how about yet another guess---Ficus benjamina? Trying its best, whatever its name.
    3...could it be a young Sansevieria?
    4: I have NO idea, but it sure is curly.
     
  5. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    #1 is a spider-plant, Chlorophytum. They can be grown in water, but are much happier in soil with good drainage. Needless to say, you can't put it back in that bowl - it would just get overwatered again because there are no drainage holes.
    #2 has thorns, Togata, which would rule out Ficus. I'd be with SS - Moreton Bay Chestnut, since it's not screaming "citrus" at me based on its stems.
    #3 might also be a really young bromeliad, but what's coming directly to mind is Sanseveria or maybe Agave.
    If we posit that #4 is not supposed to be curly, it looks very much like French Tarragon.... I had one do that once when it was rootbound. Do the leaves have any perceptible odour when rubbed?
     
  6. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    2 has thorns...?
     
  7. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Yup, just above and below where the petiole attaches to the green branch.
     
  8. ashphaltandshade

    ashphaltandshade Active Member

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    Sorry, I was busy the past few days, and have not been able to reply until now. Wow, look at all these responses!
    #1: How could I not recognize it's a Chlorophytum? I figure a friend gave her a "spider" and she put it in water to "root" it, or it was sent home with her that way so it wouldn't dry out, and then she forgot about it. Though, as the "spiders" already have fully developed roots, my experience has been that you just have to plant them in soil, water them from the top a couple of times, and away they go. I used my recipe for Chlorophytum soil (equal parts topsoil, sand and coconut fibre), and of course I didn't pot it in that bowl - that baby got the deluxe $2.22 green plastic pot and saucer.
    #2: Where the hell would she get a Moreton Bay Chestnut? They're native to Australia and the Pacific islands. I will take another photo later today and post it, as I didn't notice any thorns, and there is no graft. The upper part of the plant was dead, so I cut it off, and that is the only branch/stem that was still alive.
    #3: Sansevieria? What species? It doesn't look to me like any one that I could find a picture of. The pattern and colouring on the leaves are the same, but without the outer margin, and the leaves curve out and down instead of being erect. The leaves are firm, not wilting, so they seem to be happily and naturally doing this. I'm leaning toward bromeliad, but what kind? I guess I could wait and see if it flowers!
    #4 : I rubbed the leaves, and they were indeed fragrant, but with a smell unfamiliar to me - vaguely anise-like. I went over to my spice rack, and opened the, I believe, never-used bottle of tarragon. Though the contents are probably a decade old (I'm not much into French food), they seemed to me to smell the same. So, I think it's safe to say that this plant is, indeed, tarragon, especially as my neighbour also has parsley, basil, and rosemary plants, that were also still in their original pots, that I have since repotted. All the websites that I visited were unanimous in saying tarragon needs soil that has sand and compost added, and is dry, well-drained and alkaline, so I will take the specific advice of this site http://guides.wikinut.com/Container-Gardening%3A-Growing-Tarragon/117i61i1/ , and use equal parts of compost, topsoil, coconut fibre and sand, with a little lime added, in a clay pot.
    Thank you all for your help! So, just #2 and #3 still need to be positively ID'd.
     
  9. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    I have a Sansevieria---a large, 25-year-old plant that blooms for me every summer---that is colored similarly to #2: i.e., no yellow edges on leaves.
     
  10. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Could #3 be Sansevieria trifasciata 'Hahnii'?
    "Short and stubby leaves, growing in a formal rosette shape, characterized this low-growing variety of the more familiar tall-leaved mother-in-law's tongue." barb
     
  11. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    #2 - Moreton Bay Chestnuts are often sold, with that oh-so-wonderful "Tropical Foliage" label, in big-box stores, particularly Lowes and Wal-Mart. So it's entirely possible that she did find one, then nearly killed it with kindness. One way to know whether it's MBC or a citrus of some sort is to lightly bruise a leaf and sniff. Citrus has a distinct citrus smell, while MBC does not.

    I think Barb might have it for #3.
     
  12. tsugajunkie

    tsugajunkie Active Member

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    "...I'm not much into French food..."

    Use tarragon with anything chicken or turkey. Soups, roasted, added to BBQ sauce or even a pinch in scrambled eggs.

    Sorry, can't help with the IDs.

    tj
     
  13. ashphaltandshade

    ashphaltandshade Active Member

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    #3 does indeed look like a Sansevieria trifasciata 'Hahnii'. Wow, I have never seen a Sansevieria that curves down like that. Very different from other Sansevierias, which is why I was disbelieving of that ID.
    #4 did look like a Moreton Bay Chestnut, from the photos I could find, but I'm afraid that has become a moot point - it has died. I knew it must have been suffering from root rot, because there were two other "saplings" that were dead and they pulled right out of the pot when I tugged on them, and the soil was soaked. Two days ago, I took the survivor out of the large pot it was in and it still had roots, though of a beige colour. I cleared off the excess soil and put it in a smaller pot so it would dry out faster, but, with the added trauma of repotting, I guess it was too far gone. Please people! If your plant looks sickly, so you water it, and it still looks sickly, don't keep watering it! More plants are killed from over-watering than under-watering. I realize the majority of houseplants are from exotic tropical locales, but it just seemed odd to me that she would have a tree, that gets to be 130 ft tall, and that I have never even heard of.
    Thank you all so much for ID'ing these plants for me.
     

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