What is This Thing?

by Daisy on 10/23/2009

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It’s very fancy.

A little bit of Carnivale in my backyard.

I have no idea what it is.  I think it came in a packet of Fedco mixed salad greens, but, of course, it could have been dropped from the heavens by a tropical bird.

Something like this:


Compared to the cabbages and the lettuces it looks like the guest who didn’t get the news the fancy dress requirement for the party had been canceled.  Bridget Jones at the garden party in a Bunny outfit. I can’t bear to pull it up. It will just have to stand there all gorgeous until frost and I’d love to know what it is.

Any help?

Identified!: Amaranthus tricolor, Early Splendor possibly

New pic:


{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth C October 23, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Is it a giant pink poinsettia? It looks a lot like a poinsettia–with the color and leaves–but it is just very big. No matter what it is, it’s beautiful!

thea October 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm

I think it’s some kind of amaranth.

Jaspenelle October 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm

My first thought was that it looks an awful lot like something my mother called pigweed, which looking it up is a kind of amaranth, which Thea sugguested, but that is as specific as my mind is getting right now. It does like a bird transformed into plant though! I would save the seeds from that beauty! Have you tried eating it since it was in a packet of mixed greens? What does it taste like?

Kat October 23, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Did you throw a poinsettia in the compost pile at some point?
Does it have a sticky white sap?

Portia McCracken October 23, 2009 at 6:58 pm

If it answers to the name Audrey, I’d keep my distance!

Lynn October 23, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Hahaha that was funny Portia!
Awwww…….if it makes seeds…..can I have some please! Thank-you!

Jean October 23, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I’d say amaranth also. Very pretty!

Lindsay October 23, 2009 at 7:19 pm

The middle leaves look like a Coleus, but the rest doesn’t. Let us know if you figure it out, it’s gorgeous!

Jen M. October 23, 2009 at 7:31 pm

It reminds me of a calladium, but I don’t know where you are located, so I don’t know if that would be right.

Some strange type of chard, maybe? “Mixed greens” implies edible…

Either way, she’s purty!

megan October 23, 2009 at 7:51 pm

If you send the photo to fedco, they will make their best guess – they’ve done it for me before.

Sky October 23, 2009 at 8:09 pm

If you can make it reproduce, you’ll make a fortune. Where do I get one???

ranch101 October 23, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Show photos and/or clippings of the plant to your local agricultural extention agent or favorite nursery. They’re often god at identifying things.

kelly October 23, 2009 at 8:18 pm

it’s a fancy poinsetta

Olivia October 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm

It is a variety of amaranthus. Check out the Burpee catalog to see more.

Marika October 23, 2009 at 10:41 pm

It’s Amaranth, which is a salad herb when young, spinach green when older and grain when mature. Bountiful Gardens has the: About Amaranth and Quinoa information sheet at: http://www.bountifulgardens.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BGE-1510
Really beautiful plant though, I must agree with all.
They are tasty too, stir fried, sauteed, steamed, saladed.

CJStewart October 23, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Hmm . . . that’s tough. I’m going to have to phone a friend.

Kathy October 24, 2009 at 12:33 am

My first thought was some type of poinsettia, but that is only a guess from the uneduated, but it is gorgeous!

Tanya Walton October 24, 2009 at 1:54 am

I have absolutey no idea what it is but I will keep coming back to see if you find out as it is beautiful and I would love to grow one!!!

JavaLady October 24, 2009 at 3:09 am

Its an Alien Life Pod !! Danger! Danger ! Will Robinson ! Danger ! Danger !

Karen October 24, 2009 at 5:38 am

It’s called a summer poinsettia. It’s very pretty!

gardenmama October 24, 2009 at 6:26 am

It looks like a poinsettia to me, how beautiful I have never grown one in the garden before!
Your post made me smile : ) A lovely surprise in the garden!

renee @ FIMBY October 24, 2009 at 6:42 am

Looks like a mutant coleus to me. Though I also agree with Thea and Jaspenelle, it does look like an amaranth of some sort also.

Christy October 24, 2009 at 7:40 am

I searched for “summer poinsettia” and found this site. It is an amaranth. I’ll be getting some of these seeds for next year!


Pammeyepoo October 24, 2009 at 8:06 am

A type of elephant ear, perhaps? If so, did the root/bulb after the frost kills back the top. Let dry before storing, then store in breathable container where “pests” won’t eat it. I would like to grow that amazing plant! Keep us posted as to what it really is!

Tomato Lady October 24, 2009 at 8:37 am

To Everyone—As usual, y’all are very helpful (and hilarious). Thanks to your know-how and detective work, I agree it’s an amaranth, very likely the Early Splendor variety or something close, also known as summer poinsettia. I’ll be watching for signs of going to seed and will save seeds from it if at all possible and hope to have some to share. Anyone know if it produces babies like the mama? Edible and so showy! I love it!
I have another photo I took of it on a sunny morning. It really shows off its colors. I’m adding it to the bottom of this post. It almost looks like you could warm your hands over it.

Corinne October 24, 2009 at 8:40 am

i love it! interesting how it looks like she’s trying to imitate a flower!

Viki October 24, 2009 at 10:58 am

How lovely!

Ginny October 25, 2009 at 7:23 am

Wow, this is pretty! That bird, however, …it knows something. It’s the expression. That’s a bird with a Dastardly Plan.

Jessie October 25, 2009 at 8:43 am

I love those colors. Beautiful surprises like that make me want to start a garden!

Viggies Veggie's October 25, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Was reading with serious interest when I came down to the bird picture. HAH! That just made my day.

Remy June 28, 2010 at 4:42 pm

It looks more like Amaranthus ‘Illumination’ than ‘Early Spendor’

Dee June 10, 2014 at 6:08 am

My grandmother grew summer poinsetta and it came back every year. i believe it was by self seeding as she did not eat any, but enjoyed the color in her vast flowerbeds.

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