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Old November 21, 2017   #1
maxjohnson
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Default Alien parasitic tuber.

This is the craziest (or scariest) thing I've ever seen. I went to this nursery more than a year ago and the owner gave me a ginger plant. It has small tubers hanging from it from a root string, which was peculiar to me. I tasted a bit and it tasted bad. He is from Uganda so I thought it's something different.

I put it in my garden, now I went to dig up my ginger and turmeric. First off, I realized it was a galangal, not ginger. There are stringed tubers attaching itself to both the galangal and my turmeric rhizomes and spreading itself toward other turmeric plants 2-3 feet away. It seems to be acting as a parasite and leeching the nutrients off the rhizomes of other plants and proliferating itself. It do not have any above ground growth, surviving solely by attaching itself to the turmeric/ginger underground.

I got a bit alarmed and dig up the soil in that area and removed them as much as I can.

I broke the tuber in half, it's white starchy inside with not much of a smell. Tried to look it up, the closest thing I find is the 'apios' genus, and similar looking to hopniss, but I'm sure it isn't. I doubt it is edible, but fortunately I didn't got sick from it when I first tasted it.

Please don't ask me what was on my mind, I had other plants from the nursery so I thought this one was okay.

Notice in the photos the hairy tubers are attached by a string onto the turmeric rhizome. The big tumeric lump was from a 6ft tall plant, it was supposed to be a much bigger rhizome, but the parasite tubers seems to be taking nutrients away from it.
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Last edited by maxjohnson; November 21, 2017 at 03:29 PM.
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Old November 21, 2017   #2
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Wow, that's really something. I will be watching to see if anyone knows just what it is.
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Old November 22, 2017   #3
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Creepy.
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Old November 22, 2017   #4
Nattybo!
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oh wow.

Good news! You do have something different!

Bad news...what is it?

Ok. Lets start with what we know. The tuber looks a lot like a potato. It has smooth skin, a large connecting root like structure (stolon) but is has these weird secondary fine root hairs coming off of them close to the stolon. It has a white inner flesh and a taste that was unimpressive.

Do you remember anything about the top part of the plant? Did it have square stems? did it smell minty? (Mints are notorious for their bad behavior).
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Old November 22, 2017   #5
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One of the turmeric varieties I grew this year had similar-looking tubers on some of the roots, though in my short, zone 4 season they did not look nearly as developed or mature. The other variety I had did not have them.


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Old November 22, 2017   #6
maxjohnson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nattybo! View Post
Do you remember anything about the top part of the plant? Did it have square stems? did it smell minty? (Mints are notorious for their bad behavior).
The only smell is from the turmeric and galangal plant, these doesn't seem to give off any distinct smell. It doesn't have any above surface growth, it only exist underground.
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Old November 22, 2017   #7
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Hmm, almost like a huge alien mycorrihizae. I would contact your State University Agriculture Dept. and forward your photos to them. Perhaps they can identify this alien mystery rhizome.
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Old November 22, 2017   #8
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If govt agents start showing up in moon suits, watch out!
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Old November 23, 2017   #9
Lasairfion
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wow, that is weird. It reminds me of the sort of tubers you get on Yacon.
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Old November 23, 2017   #10
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Thanks to this thread I ticked away part of my life clock looking to see what it was to no avail.
At some point this thing just has to put up some sort of sprout or flower out of the ground.
The conditions may not be right or some other thing.
At least that is what I think.
That or it came from outer space.
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Old November 24, 2017   #11
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I don’t think it’s anything sinister. I think it is some form of wild yam.
Or possibly a species of ground nut?
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Old November 24, 2017   #12
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I still think, from both your pictures and your description, that they are just turmeric, as they look and behave just like one variety of turmeric I grew this year.
These plants were only 12”-18” tall, so much younger than yours, but the similarity is clear.


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Old November 24, 2017   #13
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Shawn has it right. The other photos just older plants looks like
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Old November 24, 2017   #14
maxjohnson
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They aren't because my turmeric rhizome is orange, and as my photo shown they are white. They give out no turmeric smell and tastes bitter and bad. Also they originally were attached to the galangal plant, then migrated to the turmeric later on in the same raised bed.

They certainly are not white skin or hairless. I grew turmeric in many other places in my garden, only this one specific section has them.

Whatever they are, I will trash them.

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Old November 26, 2017   #15
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There is a white turmeric called zedoary: http://theepicentre.com/spice/white-turmeric-zedoary/
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