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With zero knowledge of botany, but curious enough to do some research of what I observe, I would like to know the reason for this young sprout in the lower part of a 2 m long Hoya carnosa. I did not find this phenomenon after looking for it on the Internet.

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It exhibits a different kind (shape, color, thickness, consistency...) of leaves, thinner and clearer stem, suction cups ... I've read about foliar heterophilia, sports, ... but these phenomena don't seem to explain what I observe. I've also thought about parasitic plants. Could you provide some insight into this?

EDITED (after digging a bit): The roots are quite tangled, so it is difficult to identify if the wooden stem the sprout comes from is connected to the Hoya stems. If not, the creeper has managed to keep idle for ~5 years with no visible green parts.

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    It's unclear what the third photo is showing - is it meant to show that the mystery leaves are sprouting directly from the same stem as the hoya leaves?
    – Jurp
    Oct 30, 2021 at 14:07
  • @Jurp That's it. It comes from the wood, which should be Hoya wood. And there seems to be no direct connection to the soil at that point, besides two thin "threads" that just fall on it. I added a 4th photo.
    – Andrestand
    Nov 1, 2021 at 20:10

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To me, it looks like the unknown plant is coming from its own root, not the same root as the hoya. So - are you reusing soil that previously had a different plant in it? I ask because the middle photo shows what appears to be a grape ivy (Cissus rhombifolia), or something similar to it, not a hoya. These plants like to grow in well-drained soil, in low light, and are very tolerant of dry conditions inside a house, so it would not be a surprise for one to be happy growing with a hoya. But if it is a grape ivy, and you're not reusing soil, then how did it get there? Do you own a grape ivy? Is the location where the hoya is located open to the sky so that a bird dropping could've (semi-miraculously) been the means of conveying a seed? If hese don't apply, then it's a real puzzle because the hoya species does not look like this, so this isn't a "reversion" of a cultivar to the species.

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  • The sprout is inserted in the wood, which I assumed to be Hoya wood, as the pot came from a plants shop and there are just 3 wooden stems coming from the soil. I will have to dig a bit to check if this stem is not connected to the other two (shown in the pics), which are Hoya for sure (part of one of them looked to me similar to the one with the creeper). I guess this is the most probable explanation. However, no green parts of the creeper have been shown for at least 5 years, and the pot has been inside the home for this period, so no possibility of interaction with birds.
    – Andrestand
    Nov 4, 2021 at 16:31
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    Please comment again when you've dug around a bit - this is an intriguing question because if the plant came from a plant store 5 years ago, it's unlikely (impossible?) that the sprout is not a hoya, yet the characteristics of that sprout are also definitely not a hoya. No chance of the plant having been repotted recently with reused soil, is there?
    – Jurp
    Nov 4, 2021 at 16:40
  • I'll do, for sure. About resoiling... Not in these years. Maybe a little refilling. But the sprouts come from a thick, old stem. I'll come back with more details.
    – Andrestand
    Nov 5, 2021 at 15:02
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    At best, the results of digging are inconclusive. About the only way to know for sure is by repotting the hoya and trying to separate the mystery plant from it. Since the mystery plant has no hoya leaves sharing a stem with it, I would have to conclude that it is not a hoya but is something else (grape ivy?) that managed to sprout from seed years after the seed was included with the soil when the hoya was first potted up at the nursery (?) you purchased it from. A delay of years for some seed to sprout is not unheard of - weed seeds collected in the US in the 1880s still sprout today.
    – Jurp
    Nov 12, 2021 at 13:33
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    I agree that it's a conundrum, and that the two stems look pretty much identical. I'm not particularly comfortable with my theory, either, but if you look at the stems in your first photo after the edit, you'll see that they're not the same color as they get farther from the soil, which to my mind indicates two different plants. Unless we can get someone here who's a botanist to weigh in on your question, I'm thinking that this is the best we can do. What would be very interesting is if the ivy were to flower - if it flowers like a hoya, then it's a hoya with weird leaves. A new variety maybe?
    – Jurp
    Nov 13, 2021 at 12:22

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