Can anyone identify this plant that I found growing in my backyard?

It has a thin stem, long thin leaves that are paired on the stem, with a prominent central rib on the leaves.

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  • Knowing where you live would help in identification. Are those three spiky ball-shaped objects part of the same plant? – Niall C. Jul 12 '12 at 23:23
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    I'm in Santa Clara, California. And yes, they're part of the same plant. – RTG Jul 12 '12 at 23:27
  • Some variety of Lychee (litchi) maybe? – Lorem Ipsum Jul 13 '12 at 0:10
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    These plants grow wild and weedy here in South Africa. Despite looking quite intimidating, the spikes on the balls are soft. – RichieACC Sep 12 '16 at 14:22

It is balloon plant aka...um...'hairy balls' (Gomphocarpus physocarpus aka Asclepias physocarpa), a milkweed native to southeastern Africa.

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