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Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells

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Can anybody identify this plant, which has sprung up beside an astrantia seedling that I bought earlier this year. The stems have narrow leaves topped with spires of tiny beige bells; the bottom flowers are open while the top are still in bud.

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Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells (17/10/2011)

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  • Views: 1265
  • Replies: 8
  • Posted: Mon. 17th October 2011 17:57

Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells

Reply from Vera Porter

Penstemon?

  • Posted: Tue. 18th October 2011 10:40

Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells

Reply from hillwards

The leaves have similar form to penstemon, but the flowers are tiny: 1-2mm across. It may simply be a weed that came in the pot with my plant, I just can't identify it.

  • Posted: Tue. 18th October 2011 11:29

Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells

Reply from hillwards

Some more images, I'm still stumped...

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Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells (26/10/2011)Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells (26/10/2011)Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells (26/10/2011)

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  • Posted: Wed. 26th October 2011 09:08

Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells

Reply from Rosy Cole

Looks like Marsh Willowherb, or at least that family. Had lots of it wild in the garden this year http://tinyurl.com/6aac522

  • Posted: Wed. 26th October 2011 11:26

Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells

Reply from James Bennett

It looks similar to Purple Toadflax (Linaria purpurea) that has gone to seed, but you would have noticed that when in flower! Perhaps related?

  • Posted: Wed. 26th October 2011 12:29

Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells

Reply from Ann Dukes

Could it be a white form of Linaria purpurea. I have a purple one that spreads around the garden.

Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells (26/10/2011)

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  • Posted: Wed. 26th October 2011 12:36

Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells

Reply from hillwards

Thank you for those suggestions.
Using the power of online search engines, I haven't so far been able to match it up to either an epilobium or linaria; I'm wondering whether it is some kind of milkwort (polygala)...

  • Posted: Wed. 26th October 2011 12:58

Re: Narrow leaves, spires of tiny beige bells

Reply from hillwards

This year, it grew much sturdier with tall straight stems, and is now producing lots of spires of small snapdragon-like pink flowers - I've identified it as Linaria purpurea 'Canon Went'. Thanks, Ann & James you were both on the ball.

It must have flowered unnoticed last year, it was rather buried under vigorous Antirrhinums at the time, and was still a very small plant then.

  • Posted: Tue. 12th June 2012 15:56