I've searched the web quite a bit tonight trying to ID this plant, and
many roads lead to rec.gardens as a good source. I've also looked for
a FAQ here, and unable to find one specific to this group, I'm going
to go ahead and describe the plant I'm wondering about, and see where
this leads me.
I'm in Northeast Ohio, and this plant is growing in a sparsely wooded
area, near some sunlight. It's about a foot tall, and the stem is
thick, maybe 3/8", and green. At the top of the stem there's a
cluster of medium green ... they're not berries, I don't think,
because they don't look separate from one another ... pods of some
type (or a multi-part pod?)? There are 15 large 'lobes' and about
10-15 smaller ones all stuck together, like a cluster of grapes
defying gravity. (total size approx. 4") They look solid. There's
one 'branch' coming out of the stem, a couple of inches below the
cluster, and it has three large green leaves on it, about 6-7" long,
and 3-4" wide.
My daughter and I found this plant while outside playing, and at first
I thought it was a mutant tree of some kind, because I've had many
baby trees growing in this area, and it still may be a mutant, but I
did find another exactly like it soon after this 'discovery'.
I'm mainly concerned to find out whether it's dangerous for the kids
to be playing around it/them, and/or if there's something going on in
this patch of woods that I have to control (a parasite or something).
I did notice several small brown pod/seed-type growths on Oak leaves
nearby, similar in size to the 'pods' on the plant, but I don't know
if it's related at all.
I do have pictures, but wasn't sure how to post them on
alt.binaries.pictures.gardens (If that is in fact the group to which
binary-related questions are best posted), and if this post doesn't
generate any information, I can try to do that again [Should I post
there then post a pointer? Post the question there with the picture? I
didn't find a FAQ there either].
I am grateful for any help you can give me!