Thank you to the good folks who offered that yesterday’s mystery flower was not in fact a species of gentian but actually Turtlehead. I had paused at Turtlehead in my wildflower guide and considered it as a possibility, but finally dismissed it thinking the flowers didn’t look quite right. Of course, the photos in the guide are taken from the side, and mine is taken from the top, which makes direct comparison tricky.
Since I have such a marvelous crew of plant identification experts reading this blog, I was hoping I might call upon some of you for help with this flower. This plant is growing in my sister’s garden (and lawn, when unmown) in Peterborough, Ontario. She claims it to be one of the most tenacious and invasive plants in her garden, persisting in the lawn despite constant hacking with the mower, and spreading through the garden if it’s not kept under control by weeding/pruing. Despite its pretty and rather distinctive flowers, neither myself nor our mom were able to produce an identification for it. It’s been blooming for a couple of months, and is apparently down to just an odd bloom or two (these photos were taken a month ago).
Edit: Jackie of Saratoga Woods and Waterways has identified the plant as Common Comfrey, Symphytum officinale, apparently a medicinal plant that has many practical uses around the garden. Thanks for the help, Jackie!
Here’s a closer image of the flowers. The closest match I could find was bluebells, but the shape doesn’t seem quite right. We contemplated that it might be a domesticated plant, but normally garden species aren’t so invasive. Ideas?
Speaking of tenacious plants in my sister’s yard… She’s had a lot of trouble with Field Bindweed smothering her garden ornaments and other plants. Apparently this evening she opened the oven’s bottom drawer to get a pot and noticed a bit of plant stem. Thinking it must have fallen in at some point (the only reasonable explanation) she tried to pick it up, and it resisted.
She pulled the stove out and discovered that the plant had managed to squeeze its way through a tiny hole in the floor where a hose came in, and, despite the near absence of light under the stove, had grown a few feet already. Aside from its somewhat sickly colour, it seemed to not be doing too badly under there! They’re contemplating setting up a trellis against the wall for it to grow up…
(all photos provided by my sister)