Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Is This Mystery Plant?

This plant sprouted up in our sunny butterfly/bird garden and, even though it might be a weed, I left it because I thought the foliage was interesting. Now it's got slim spikes of purple flowers. Do you know what it is? I have no idea but I'd like to know. I trimmed a branch and brought it to the master gardeners at our county fair but none of them knew either. So if you can identify it you'll have outsmarted several master gardeners! The best information offered was that the plant name might start with an "e" and might be the Japanese version of whatever plant it is. Another person suggested it might be an herb because when you rub the leaves it has a pleasant smell.

This is a zoomed in photo of a similar plant at the U.S. National Arboretum. Unfortunately, it wasn't labeled. My plant has purple and bronze in its leaves but is similarly shaped.

 Here's an intermediate range shot of the same plant.

And here's a really zoomed out version. The plant is on the right front corner of the brick lined garden towards the front of the photo. I think it was taken in the Asian section of the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum.