Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quite possibly the ugliest plant I've ever seen...



I mentioned a few posts back that weeds aren't a particular problem when you balcony garden, but that things do sometimes float in on the wind and seed themselves in the containers. And sometimes they can be quite interesting plants - so when I saw this one sprouting at the beginning of the summer, I popped it into a pot to see what would develop.

What is it? No idea - some sort of succulent it seems. I was sure I'd never seen it before - it's not something I've noticed growing wild, but nor is it anything I've ever seen in a garden.

Well - not till a few days ago that is, when I was walking through the garden at the front of the house and found this, crawling its way up a lamp post ....

Quite possibly the ugliest plant I've ever seen.

How did it get there? That's not a plant that's been deliberated over in a condominium assembly for at least three hours and until blood has been spilled (mandatory for any decisions regarding the condominium). Someone has had the thing growing on their balcony and, in desperation, crept into the garden at dead of night and stuck it up the lamp post. Look how awkward it looks - that, I'm sure, is no natural climber.

To me, it looks as if it should be snaking its way insidiously across the ground. Did someone actually go out and buy it (worthy of a post on Great Gardening Mistakes of the Century) and thus infect my balcony, or did it float in on the wind to them too? I can imagine hundreds of the things spreading through the garden, choking the shrubs and the trees, and then reaching unstoppably for the buildings. We'll all wake up one morning murdered in our beds, tendrils sliding through the shutters and wound mercilessly around our throats.

Because I'm sure it's conscious and I don't think it's from this planet. Who said that intelligent life must be animal? This is something out of The Day of the Triffids or The War of the Worlds. It's here to take over, to wipe us out ...

And I'm growing one. No question that it's the same. Compare the close-up below with the photo of my little one in its pot. Should I kill mine now, bringing upon myself the certain wrath of its kin, or should I go on nurturing it, in the hope that when the time comes I'll be spared and kept on as some sort of servant? They'll need someone to bring the fertiliser, for heaven's sake.

The monster in the garden is already starting to evolve. Did the person who planted it there think he was rendering it harmless by tying it to a stake? He's only increased its rage, and sooner or later we're all going to pay. Look at those little bubble things on the tips of the "teeth" on the leaves. Spores which spread silently on the wind ...

Alert your Neighbourhood Watch. Write to your Congressperson. Notify NASA. But don't ever say I didn't warn you...




18 comments:

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

I wonder what plant this is, I have never seen anything like it(I am happy to say).

Sujata said...

Sure is creepy looking.

jwlw said...

HI Sue:
I see you have Garden Fairies. We have them too. Funny and strange things can happen in gardens that have Fairies.

Have a good day,
John

bjordan said...

I know this plant and it is not a beautiful pant by any means. I have to respect its tenacity though-I have quite a few in my greenhouse. It's a succulent that is not really in fashion anymore called the Maternity Plant. Each leaf will eventually form little rosettes all along the edges-if you look at them closely, tiny roots hang from each rosette. These will fall off and each one will form a new plant. They can gets really tall in the right conditions, they like lots of sun, little water and require almost no dirt. They will grow on cement, wood, whatever...the roots just figure out some way to hold on. They are not at all cold hardy though-so if it gets cold in your area during the winter you won't have to worry about this plant outdoors or on an open balcony-they will die off. These guys are spread through succulent nurseries-if a nursery carries this plant, then any plant nearby will likely have a hitchiker or two.

mr_subjunctive said...

I have a guess! I think it is probably a Kalanchoe of some kind, perhaps K. daigremontiana, K. serrata, or a hybrid. If I am right, the "bubble things" on the leaf edges are actually baby plants, which will fall off at some point, take root in the soil, and grow up to produce their own baby plants, and so on and so forth. The common name for K. daigremontiana is, variously, "mother of thousands" or "mother of millions," and that ain't no lie. They are considered invasive in some areas.

On the other hand, they're incredibly easy houseplants (basically only need bright light; they're not particularly fussy about anything else). So you might want to keep it. I mean, since you have it already and all. The flowers are supposed to be pretty, but I've never seen them in person and I don't know how old a plant has to be before they'll flower.

Dirt Princess said...

It is really ugly. I have seen something like it. But I am not sure the name of it either. It reminds me of an alligator....don't ask why! I know thats an odd thing to think!

Rosey Pollen said...

At first I thought it was a mother of thousands, but now I don't think so. IT is strange, to say the least!
Rosey

James Missier said...

I wish I could agree with you. The ugliness is the leggy part. I often enjoy those little babies sprouts like a tear droplets on the small pot.
Regardless, they are so hardy that they can even survive on rooftiles.

Do check on my blog on Mother of Thousand "label". Im sure I can show you the otherside of this plant.

Jan said...

It's definitely not a natural climber, but I think you're being a little rude in calling it the ugliest plant you've ever seen! Haven't a clue what it is, but if it's a succulent send it to me!

Nell Jean said...

When I was a child, we called this plant 'Gossip' because it spreads just like....

Michelle said...

Interesting plant! We have plants suddenly appear in our yard as well- our garden 'nightmare' is called 'morning glory' - it is a vine that wraps itself around everything and will take over a garden bed if left unattended. You could keep this plant of yours clipped back so that it does not take over!! Thank you for your comment on my blog "Mich's West Coast Journal", very kind of you. Michelle

Barbee' said...

Now that you have brought this plant to our attention, I am noticing it in pictures, such as those in old magazines.

Jean Bradbury said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog. This plant looks like "Mexican Hat Plant" which is the kalanchoe mentioned in another comment. As a kid, I couldn't bear to let any of the "babies" die so would rescue them and put them in dozens of tiny pots of their own. Not ugly but cute. (-:

Kimberly said...

Ah, I have one of those too, although I bought it intentionally. Despite the large number of 'babies' it produced in Southern California, it didn't act particularly invasive. I even had trouble keeping the little rosettes alive without sufficient water.
Maybe where you are it is a bit more aggressive. I've never seen one trying to climb a lamppost!

janie said...

It IS a kalanchoe, but I don't know the botanical on it. We know it as 'Mother of a Thousand', 'Alligator plant', 'Mexican Hat plant', 'piggyback plant' and several other names. It is a horrible thing, and I have refused to purchase plants from a nursery who was offering it for sale. EVery little spot around that leaf will be a new plant, and you can't kill it for anything. I would put it in a brown paper bag and throw it away, and do the same thing with each new plant that appears.

This plant does have a pretty bloom, when it does finally bloom. It is just evil, I would do everything I could to rid myself of it!

Can you tell I hate this thing! LOL

Canarybird said...

Yes it is a kalanchoe and we have them sprouting up all the time in our cactus garden. They do produce pretty little coral coloured hanging bells though and a group of them can be quite attractive so I just leave them there.
Thank you for dropping by my blog and for your comment. I'll be having another look at yours.

Sue Swift said...

Yes, you're absolutely right. I've checked and this is definitely Mother of Thousands and those bubbles are the baby plants. So my prediction about it taking over was right. Erm, nobody thought to mention whether it was carnivorous ...

Christine said...

The lightpost planting is awkward, but I think it's got a lovely architectural look to it. Not for cottage gardens, but it would look great with dwarf purple phormiums. Of course, if it's invasive there's no question that you should rid yourself before it's too late!

Related Posts with Thumbnails