Ghostly plant in my rock garden

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vanachterberg
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-10-06
Ghostly plant in my rock garden

I went to weed my original rather weedy and hot sunny rock garden and found this mystery plant which seems to be all white. What do I have here?

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Mark McDonough Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5 antennaria at aol.com  

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Very interesting, Mark - I'd love to have that show up (if only if were possible here).

Barbara, it's hard to resolve if the plant has flowers or not.  Could you take another photo when the sun is not directly on it, and add it please?

Edit:  Also, what part of the US(?) do you live in?  Apparently, the orchid is a plant of the western US and Canada, which might be useful to know.

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

vanachterberg
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-10-06
Lori wrote:

Very interesting, Mark - I'd love to have that show up (if only if were possible here).

Barbara, it's hard to resolve if the plant has flowers or not.  Could you take another photo when the sun is not directly on it, and add it please?

Edit:  Also, what part of the US(?) do you live in?  Apparently, the orchid is a plant of the western US and Canada, which might be useful to know.

I live in Connecticut. I will try to take another picture tomorrow morning. Wish I had a better camera.

vanachterberg
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-10-06

Here's another picture--no flowers. Barbara

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

So, I guess that would confirm that it's not Cephalanthera austinae, which is leafless.  This plant appears to have opposite leaves. Occasionally, a plant will throw a  shoot or seedling with different, or lacking, colouration.  Is there any other plant in the bed that it resembles in structure, though not in colour?

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

vanachterberg
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-10-06

Yes, Lori, there are two similar plants, taller and also with no flowers, that are variegated.  As I said, this rock garden needs a lot of attention and has quite a few volunteers, especially wild strawberries and virginia creeper. There are also numerous healthy butterfly weeds (Asclepias tuberosa) which have leaves similar in texture to this plant, but differently arranged.

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

So what are the similar plants in the same bed, Barbara?  I was wondering if your ghostly plant might possibly be a couple of white sprigs of a variegated Arabis procurrens... the leaves are opposite and usually closely packed on the stem, but in less-than-optimal light, the stems might get lanky... ?

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Or maybe Arabis ferdinandi-coburgi ‘Variegata’?  I find that sections of this can be pure white.

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

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