Monday, September 06, 2021

Mystery Plant

As long-time sufferers of this blog know, I indulge in a failed Dixie experiment every year. Two years ago, I ruined some tobacco. Last year, I floundered around with cotton. This year, I've been killing watermelon plants. I started with well over 50 and slaughtered my way down to a single Nancy which, despite my best efforts, seems to be thriving in one of our raised beds. 

Or is it just one?

We've got a strange volunteer coming up where the last Stone Mountain allegedly died. I turned the water on to it and it's growing, but it's leaves don't match those of the Nancy. Dig this.

My Nancy. Note the deeply lobed leaves.

What in the world is this guy?

I found an article suggesting that some watermelons have lobed leaves and some not-quite-so-lobed leaves.

Phenotypes of leaf shapes in watermelon. (a) Lobed and non-lobed leaf watermelon seedlings. (b) Two different leaf shapes in watermelon. Small symmetrical marginal protrusions are marked with red arrows. (c) Comparison of the first ten true leaves from lobed and non-lobed phenotype seedlings.

Previously, the bed had been used to grow tomatoes and herbs. The Mystery Plant is not a tomato and it's not any of our herbs.

What could it be? Might I have gotten lucky and the Stone Mountain survived?


tim eisele said...

The common plant that we regularly get in our garden, and that looks a lot like yours, is Common Lambsquarters, Chenopodium album. They have small seeds that can lay dormant in the soil for some time. If that's what it is, then if you let it go it will likely get about 6 feet tall. I've never eaten them, but supposedly they make a nice salad green if picked young.

Since you are a long way from here, what you have is most likely not the same species, but it would not surprise me if it were a relative.

If it is actually a watermelon (which is still possible, given the range of leaf morphologies you show), then I'd expect it to lie down and get vinelike pretty soon. So it might be worthwhile to give it a week or so to see how it grows.

We actually got a single watermelon off of our vine this year. The seed company advertised it as a "60 day watermelon", and by golly, it made it in 60 days. Tasted pretty good, too. We definitely need to plant more of that variety next year.

K T Cat said...

Wife kitteh reminded me that we also had flowers in that bed in addition to the maters. I'm guessing it's a volunteer flower.

That would make it a Tennessee and not a Georgia varietal, then wouldn't it?