Weed identification help—rutabaga!?

I found this very large leafy root vegetable type thing growing in my pasture. I think it might be a rutabaga!? Not sure how it would have gotten there but… can anyone ID it?

Do you have deer in the area, and are they able to visit your pastures?

Rutabaga is among the things seeded in deer food plots and deer can spread viable seeds in their manure.

We occasionally see wild radish on the west coast, toxic but most won’t eat it. I’d contact your extension agent with photos.

It does look like a rutabaga / turnip thing. I may be Southern but I don’t eat that stuff so I can’t say for sure.

Not rutabaga, they are orange inside.
Possibly sugar beet, they get Wintersown some places as a cover crop.

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I am going to say NOT rutabaga, though sugar beet is possible. Mangels are a possibility, they have a big woody root animals eat.

Rutabaga are like late turnips, purple on top, white on the bottom, often bigger than softballs. Meat is white when freshly peeled and cut up. They turn a bit golden during cooking and adding butter during mashing. We have them as holiday food. Fixed by my husband, they are quite delicious. Other folks recipes are not as good, lIke when his sisters fixed them!

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This is not my experience. Though I admit I only deal with them twice a year (Thanksgiving and Christmas) for a family tradition food thing. Maybe the rutabaga that Wegmans sells is different?

The pictures I googled are a range of light off white to a slightly darker beige.

One of the photos on the wiki page (I know, I know) looks very similar to the root the OP has.

That is all I can offer. Not a clue on what it is or is not.

Agreed. My brother plants crops of mangels and turnip varieties on his farm for deer; if you’re going to hunt for food, you want to eat deer that are not starving.

Quite likely that this is a variety of turnip designed for livestock or deer crop. And seed could have blown or been dropped by a bird.

Okay, not bright orange, like a pumpkin.
But when cooked, they do go orange-ish


& they kind of reek when boiled :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: - cabbagey.
But soooo tasty roasted, mashed…
2Dogs is goin’ rutabaga shopping!

See, that is not what they look like when we make them into mashed.
They end up almost the same color as the mashed potatoes. I mean seriously, the kids end up with rutabaga on their plate when they wanted the mashed potatoes.
How does one get them that orange? So weird that mine are never that color.

Edit to add random internet photo of mashed rutabaga:

Yeah I agree that rutabaga is never that orange. That photos is from a recipe that incudes carrots.

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Which probably makes it taste a lot better. :slight_smile: I hate rutabaga.

When I roast or mash my rutabagas they are a deeper orange than when raw.
I’ll try to find a better example…
Roasted, no carrots :wink:

Google lens search on OP’s first pic says sugar beet. I agree deer poop (or maybe birds picking up seeds?) is more likely for its presence, but if you feed beet pulp, I wonder if that would be a long shot possibility as well?

That would be nearly impossible (or entirely impossible). They would need to ingest a live seed and still poop it out intact.

Most likely a deer plot seed:


I was going to say sugar beet too. We used to find them on the side of the road from falling out of trucks during harvest. Not sure how one could end up growing where you didn’t expect it unless you live in an area that plants for deer (crazy talk for my area). Water can disperse them (flooding etc). Since deer are basically goats, I could see them spreading the seeds though the odds are in the favor of the four stomachs. It can happen though. Birds could spread too.

My father grew up eating them and hated them too. He called them “poor man’s turnip”. He was poor growing up so I guess they were on the menu a lot. They were never cooked in our house when I was a kid because he never wanted to eat them again.

There is a trick to cooking rutabagas, which is changing the boiling water midway thru cooking. Water change helps get rid of the bitter flavor. Then husband adds real butter when mashing them, which adds flavor too. Not bitter at all!

Yep there is a smell when cooking them, not horrible but different than other boiled foods.

@2DogsFarm Not sure how those mashed rutabagas got so orange! I have never seen any that color after cooking! Ours are a bit yellowish and are easily confused with mashed potatoes. Tradition in husband’s family and they argue over leftovers to take home! Ha ha

They grow tons of sugar beets north of us, so i have seen them on trucks or on the side of the road where they fell off. The sugar beets “look” very solid, hard, not split when hitting the ground. BIG like stump knots of small trees, a couple feet long at times.

Yeah, I can’t figure why they plant plots either, unless no one wants to walk out much to a blind. The wretched deer come regardless of attractive plantings, to run across roads and yards, eat crops in fields. No skinny deer by us! Well rounded and tasty! Wish we had more hunters to harvest them. This summer I put up hot deer fence to protect my front yard gardens, so I will see how successful that is this winter.

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The leaf profile doesn’t match Rutabaga, though I am another with no earthly idea of what it is. I don’t have any experience with sugar beet but the leaves match better!

Please let us know when you find out!

Thank you for this information. I am going to try this.

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