Looking for writing-related posts? Check out my new writing blog, www.larrykollar.com!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Positive (Plant) ID

Thanks to the wonderful collection of wisdom that is the Internet, I now know what a couple of our mystery plants are.

Call it “Carolina Kudzu.”
Like most of the rest of the introduced landscaping, this is an aggressively invasive piece of work. I thought it might be a wisteria, and rejected the thought of it being a honeysuckle. But thanks to my buddy Powell (and you need to blog more, Powell!), I now know it’s a Yellow Jessamine, aka Carolina Jasmine.

Powell tells me it’s the South Carolina state flower, and it’s illegal (in SC) to transplant from the wild. I don’t know why; it’s not like you can kill this thing without a thermonuclear strike. I cut the whole thing down last year, and it came right back. The wife is talking about chemical warfare (Roundup). Me, I’m thinking more along the lines of wrapping a stout rope around it and pulling it out with a tractor. Either way, it has got to go. It is busily trying to strangle every other plant within reach, and its reach gets a little longer each day. I thought butterfly bushes were obnoxious… at least they just get taller.

The wife called them “Japanese Holly.” I called them “some weird-ass holly variety I’ve never seen outside FAR Manor.” But they have a real name, and the name is… Oregon Grape. I posted a pic on Twitter, and Vandamir (an Oregon resident, which makes sense) was there with the ID.

The leaves are very holly-like, although its growth pattern is unlike any true holly—they get about three feet high, and put out an umbrella-like set of leaves at the top. And it’s classified as (are you seeing a pattern here?) a “noxious weed” outside Oregon. I only noticed it starting to spread from the four or five planted plants we had, when we first moved to FAR Manor, in the last couple years. I dug up five of them and put them in pots, and they’re all surviving quite well. Before I knew what they were, I’d planned to sell them in a yard sale, but that would be like selling a butterfly bush—laughable, but people (or nurseries, rather) do it. There might be laws about distributing invasive plants; it certainly isn’t horribly moral in any case. I wonder if the non-nutty sister in law kept the two I gave her, though…

Unlike a true holly, Oregon Grape is supposed to be edible. But “edible” doesn’t exactly mean “tasty.” They are very pretty, nice and green through the winter. They put out yellow fruits that turn purple in spring.

And I learned that the wild violets in our yard are also edible, like just about all the other weeds around here. It makes me wonder why we bother going to the grocery store.


  1. The yard next door to us is chock-full of noxious, invasive weeds: pokeweed, Canada thistle, bamboo, etc. Nobody is ever there, since the house belongs to an older lady who lives elsewhere, but doesn't want to sell the place. It's a pain in the ass having to deal with all the crap that comes over from her yard every year.

  2. You might like to check this guy out.


    He's specializes in Texas wild edibles but I would suspect that he can identify almost anything you have there too.

  3. "Oregon Grape" sounds so much more dignified than they look. Wonky monster bush...

  4. Tony, pokeweed is a recurring problem around here, too. The only way to get rid of it is to dig out that root tuber. I've seen a couple the size of a very large carrot.

    Thanks, Wooly - I'll check that out for sure!

    John, it's certainly a lot more dignified than "weird-ass holly"! ;-)

  5. Hiya doing Larry.

    I've never been good at identifying plants. The only thing I have been consistently able to ID is Kudzu. I look at that as you have to be good at at least one thing.

    Well although it has just started, it's over the hump day. Hope you have a good one.


  6. Kudzu is edible. I don't have the time, but people swear you can see it growing.


Comments are welcome, and they don't have to be complimentary. I delete spam on sight, but that's pretty much it for moderation. Long off-topic rants or unconstructive flamage are also candidates for deletion but I haven’t seen any of that so far.

I have comment moderation on for posts over a week old, but that’s so I’ll see them.

Include your Twitter handle if you want a shout-out.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...