Strange Plants I’ve Seen Growing Wild Around St. Cloud
Fall is here and cold weather is fast approaching. I'm trying to get as many walks in with my dog before the snow flies, and in my adventures recently, I've come across a couple odd plants.
The first one I saw was on the Beaver Island Trail by SCSU. I vaguely remember seeing them at my parents house growing up, but it had been years since I last laid eyes on them, let alone a group as big as this one! Echinocystis lobata, or Minnesota Wild Cucumbers, can grow vines in very dense, large patches, seeming to smother everything it covers but rarely doing much actual damage. The fruit itself is pod-like container, covered with spines, and typically holds 4 seeds. Don't let the name fool you! It isn't known whether or not it is edible, so look, but don't bite.
The second odd plant I came across was a bit harder to find online. Thankfully the University of Minnesota has a helpful way of identifying weeds and plants by narrowing down characteristics! Stinging Nettle, or Urtica dioica, is what I identified growing in a ditch in Sauk Rapids. These weeds have long hairs on the leaves that sting the skin when touched. They aren't all bad though! These plants have a fibrous root system has underground stems with lots of rhizomes, which are needed to help new plants grow!
I feel like these are both pretty common plants, I just need to get out more. Got cool plant pictures? Send them too us on our new mobile app!