Dear Mr Smarty Pants.I hope you can help to save my sanity! I am a true believer in using native plantings, having a yard that is 99% native. I hope that fact provides me a little extra credit toward getting this probably non-native id question answered.for a neighbor who has asked me to help. She has a patch of about 13 of these plants growing in moist soil next to her foundation. We live in Birmingham, AL. Each plant is about 3-5 foot tall with a single stem arising from the ground. The leaves are huge (about 10 inches long and 8 inches wide)heart-shaped and toothed. Each has a solitary, umbrel shaped, deep purple flower on top. I picked a leaf to bring it in for closer inspection and it smells awful, like skunk cabbage. The leaves are hairy with the most obvious (pointy) hairs on the underside veins. The leaves are opposite one another along the main stem of the plant. The stem is greenish-purple. There are 2 small buds just opposite to where each leaf emerges from the main stem. The purple coloring runs into the leaf stems. Each leaf stem being about 4 inches long. The purple color also runs up into into the first 30% or so of the veins on the top of each leaf. Three main veins come out of the leaf stem into the leaf proper. The center vein goes all the way to the pointed tip of the heart-shaped leaf. The other 2 veins goes off to each side but do not terminate on the edge. There are additional veins running off the central middle vein. Any plant come to mind?
Mr. Smarty Plants applauds your dedication to native plants and your kindness towards your neighbor; but, unfortunately, that still doesn't make us experts in identifying non-native plants. Our expertise is in plants native to North American and your description, although very detailed, doesn't bring any plant to mind. I suggest that you take photographs of the plant in question and submit them to the UBC Botanical Garden's Plant Identification Forum. They do an excellent job with non-native plants.
More Plant Identification Questions
Fog fruit? June 29, 2009 - In your native plant database listing for Phyla nodiflora one of the common names seems to be misspelled (fog instead of frog). FYI, if wrong, please let me know. view the full question and answer
Plant Identification September 24, 2008 - I have a single stem red vine with purple berries growing on it. It is in a cluster of bushes and gets mostly morning and early afternoon sun. The berries also have small bumps at the stem. I have ... view the full question and answer
Plant Identification August 13, 2008 - I have a plant that shoots seeds out of pods in late summer and grows like crazy. The stem looks like a rhubarb plant. It has multiple leaves, and beautiful flowers that look like orchids. I was wo... view the full question and answer
Plant identification September 23, 2010 - There is a vine that grows at my child's daycare that has been taunting me day and night, because I have no idea what it is and I typically have no problems identifying plants. Description: Vine- L... view the full question and answer
Identification of shrub with pink catalpa-like flowers July 31, 2013 - Ironically, this plant is growing on a hill behind a nursery. We are all curious what it could be..I've done internet searches for 2 days. My best guess is that it's in the catalpa family, but it's... view the full question and answer