Plant identification

Potato_king

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
88
Location (City and/or State)
Oman
Good evening
The other day, I saw my tortoise eating from this plant, any idea what it is?
7DBD6711-EBCA-4766-9882-A83918C6ACAE.jpeg
Is it safe for tortoises?
Also, there is a big palm tree in the garden, and one of my tortoises like eating the falling dates underneath the tree. Is that safe?
My tortoises are Greek BTW.
 
Last edited:

TisMary

New Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2021
Messages
16
Location (City and/or State)
New York
I did a Google Image search using your picture and it thinks this is a member of the urticaceae or nettle family (which species? Who knows - there are over 2,500!) Hard to tell without the plant in my hand, but it kinda looks right. Check out these urticaceae images - see what you think. If you want to learn how to identify plants, there are several good guides available that walk you through how to do it. Borrow from your local library first to find one you like!
 

RosemaryDW

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Feb 17, 2016
Messages
3,822
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA
Goodness, are you truly in Oman? If so I’m afraid we won’t have the best feedback for you. Happy to try! Just not very experienced with what grows there.

To be clear I know nothing about the plants there but it does put me in mind of something of the plant order rosales. Nettles fall into this order, as do roses and berries—it’s the serrated leaf edge that makes me think it might belong there. These plants tend to be safe but until we see flowers or seed heads I really couldn’t say.

A few dates in season won’t hurt a Greek but only a few over the season and not close together. Greeks aren’t built to digest sugar and dates have one of the highest sugar levels out there, hence date sugar. I’m sure he loves them but they’ll mess up his digestive system. I’m not sure how long date season is, you may need a way to keep those off the ground; I’ve got to do something similar with a fruit plant at my house; fortunately it has an extremely short season.
 

Potato_king

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
88
Location (City and/or State)
Oman
I did a Google Image search using your picture and it thinks this is a member of the urticaceae or nettle family (which species? Who knows - there are over 2,500!) Hard to tell without the plant in my hand, but it kinda looks right. Check out these urticaceae images - see what you think. If you want to learn how to identify plants, there are several good guides available that walk you through how to do it. Borrow from your local library first to find one you like!
Thank you very much for the feedback. I think its from the nettle family too. it looks exactly like the pictures you attached.
So I guess it’s safe for the tortoises. I was worried because some of the nettled plants are poisonous for tortoises, and i do have more than one species in the garden.
 

Potato_king

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
88
Location (City and/or State)
Oman
Goodness, are you truly in Oman? If so I’m afraid we won’t have the best feedback for you. Happy to try! Just not very experienced with what grows there.

To be clear I know nothing about the plants there but it does put me in mind of something of the plant order rosales. Nettles fall into this order, as do roses and berries—it’s the serrated leaf edge that makes me think it might belong there. These plants tend to be safe but until we see flowers or seed heads I really couldn’t say.

A few dates in season won’t hurt a Greek but only a few over the season and not close together. Greeks aren’t built to digest sugar and dates have one of the highest sugar levels out there, hence date sugar. I’m sure he loves them but they’ll mess up his digestive system. I’m not sure how long date season is, you may need a way to keep those off the ground; I’ve got to do something similar with a fruit plant at my house; fortunately it has an extremely short season.
Thank you very much for the feedback,
Yes, I’m from Oman. We don’t have tortoises in Oman, we only have sea turtles. That’s why almost all the plants in the garden are either toxic or harmful to tortoise in way or another. I was keeping my tortoises away from the nettles, but now i will let them eat some. Also thank you for warning me about the dates, i will not let them go near the palm tree again.
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
12,148
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
If you lived in Maryland....I would say that plant looks like a hardy Hibiscus or Rose of Sharon. Since you & the plant are in Oman 🤷‍♂️ It still might be Hibiscus.....
 

RosemaryDW

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Feb 17, 2016
Messages
3,822
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA
Thank you very much for the feedback,
Yes, I’m from Oman. We don’t have tortoises in Oman, we only have sea turtles. That’s why almost all the plants in the garden are either toxic or harmful to tortoise in way or another. I was keeping my tortoises away from the nettles, but now i will let them eat some. Also thank you for warning me about the dates, i will not let them go near the palm tree again.
I don’t know about that; I was looking at some pictures of Oman native plants yesterday and the scrubby ones didn’t look far off from something my tortoise (who comes from a very dry place) could eat. Your Greek has probably eaten a few that are similar. But from the looks of your garden perhaps you are not from the driest area?
 

Potato_king

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
88
Location (City and/or State)
Oman
I don’t know about that; I was looking at some pictures of Oman native plants yesterday and the scrubby ones didn’t look far off from something my tortoise (who comes from a very dry place) could eat. Your Greek has probably eaten a few that are similar. But from the looks of your garden perhaps you are not from the driest area?
No, im not from the driest area in Oman, but the temperature is still very high. I got sun burns just by watching my tortoises eat in the garden for 15 minutes or so 😂
 

Potato_king

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
88
Location (City and/or State)
Oman
If you lived in Maryland....I would say that plant looks like a hardy Hibiscus or Rose of Sharon. Since you & the plant are in Oman 🤷‍♂️ It still might be Hibiscus.....
Thank you for the feedback, i have been watching this plant but I don’t think its a Hibiscus. But they do look very similar
 

Potato_king

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
88
Location (City and/or State)
Oman
Unfortunately, i have two species of nightshades in the garden, they are all over the place. I also have rosebay, winka flowers and other dangerous stuff. I already caught one of my tortoises eating a leaf from the winka and a small tomato from the nightshade plant. Im trying to get rid of them but they are everywhere. i also have euphorbia hirta plant, but i read that they are not good for tortoise. There is also paper mint and basil. My tortoises hate those very much, once they eat some by mistake, they spit it and they hate me (even more than they already do) for almost two days
 
Last edited:

RosemaryDW

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Feb 17, 2016
Messages
3,822
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA
Unfortunately, i have two species of nightshades in the garden, they are all over the place. I also have rosebay, winka flowers and other dangerous stuff. I already caught one of my tortoises eating a leaf from the winka and a small tomato from the nightshade plant. Im trying to get rid of them but they are everywhere. i also have euphorbia hirta plant, but i read that they are not good for tortoise. There is also paper mint and basil. My tortoises hate those very much, once they eat some by mistake, they spit it and they hate me (even more than they already do) for almost two days
Oh I see. I wouldn’t feed any euphorbia that wasn‘t native to my tortoises natural habitat either and I’ll feed my Russian just about anything!

I don’t know if we have any actual cases of vinca harming a tortoise; it can be harmful to mammals and often we interpret that to mean harmful to reptiles when we don’t actually have any data on it. But I would avoid it as well.

Tomatoes are actually a fruit so if it was ripe your tortoise was was just getting himself a treat. Not good for him because of the sugars but not toxic. But yeah, I’d remove those as well.

By rosebay do you mean willow herb, which looks like this? It’s okay in moderation, although I’d be surprised if they ate much.

78493F70-DC8F-4A26-9B7A-7FE15E8A7DDE.jpeg

As for the other herbs they probably won’t try them again but they definitely aren’t harmful.

You’ll get there, it just takes time.
 

Potato_king

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
88
Location (City and/or State)
Oman
Oh I see. I wouldn’t feed any euphorbia that wasn‘t native to my tortoises natural habitat either and I’ll feed my Russian just about anything!

I don’t know if we have any actual cases of vinca harming a tortoise; it can be harmful to mammals and often we interpret that to mean harmful to reptiles when we don’t actually have any data on it. But I would avoid it as well.

Tomatoes are actually a fruit so if it was ripe your tortoise was was just getting himself a treat. Not good for him because of the sugars but not toxic. But yeah, I’d remove those as well.

By rosebay do you mean willow herb, which looks like this? It’s okay in moderation, although I’d be surprised if they ate much.

View attachment 324058

As for the other herbs they probably won’t try them again but they definitely aren’t harmful.

You’ll get there, it just takes time.

It seems like Russian tortoises are not as picky as Greeks when it comes to food.
The rosebay looks slightly similar to the one that I have
C3446FB9-D005-4833-9DE3-774A449869F1.jpeg
I have the Oleander rosebay, it's probably more dangerous than any rosebay species.
Also thank you very much for your help, it's much appreciated 😀
 
Last edited:

RosemaryDW

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Feb 17, 2016
Messages
3,822
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA
It seems like Russian tortoises are not as picky as Greeks when it comes to food.
The rosebay looks slightly similar to the one that I have

I have the Oleander rosebay, it's probably more dangerous than any rosebay species.
Also thank you very much for your help, it's much appreciated 😀
Ah, yes it’s oleander and one my short list of things I absolutely wouldn’t want my tortoise around. I wouldn’t want anything near it, actually. We grew up with it on a fence just behind one of our house walls and I could never understand why my parents didn’t pull it. In a dry area like mine it isn’t even pretty.

It’s true, Russians are not very picky relative to the other tortoises in this genus, like your Greeks. They have less access to food in the wild and really have to work for it. Even so, my Russian is a particularly good eater. You might be the first owner I’ve met who really does have a yard full of plants I wouldn’t want around. :eek:
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
12,148
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Ps - welcome to the Forum. I lived in Riyadh for a year or so and we took a few trips down there to enjoy your sights & water/beaches. Spent some time in Salalah and Muscat of course.
 

Potato_king

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
88
Location (City and/or State)
Oman
Ah, yes it’s oleander and one my short list of things I absolutely wouldn’t want my tortoise around. I wouldn’t want anything near it, actually. We grew up with it on a fence just behind one of our house walls and I could never understand why my parents didn’t pull it. In a dry area like mine it isn’t even pretty.

It’s true, Russians are not very picky relative to the other tortoises in this genus, like your Greeks. They have less access to food in the wild and really have to work for it. Even so, my Russian is a particularly good eater. You might be the first owner I’ve met who really does have a yard full of plants I wouldn’t want around. :eek:
Few years ago, Oleander flowers killed few camels here, it's just very sad. They grow up in dry places randomly.
Now I wish I got a Russian tort instead😂 My garden is a hazard for both humans and tortoises, there are still many plants I didn't mention and considered very dangerous for tortoises 🥲
 
Last edited:

Potato_king

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
88
Location (City and/or State)
Oman
Ps - welcome to the Forum. I lived in Riyadh for a year or so and we took a few trips down there to enjoy your sights & water/beaches. Spent some time in Salalah and Muscat of course.
Thank you😁
The beaches here are very beautiful and Salalah is definitely my favorite. I hope you had a good time here!
 

RosemaryDW

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Feb 17, 2016
Messages
3,822
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA
Few years ago, Oleander flowers killed few camels here, it's just very sad. They grow up in dry places randomly.
Now I wish I got a Russian tort instead😂 My garden is a hazard for both humans and tortoises, there are still many plants I didn't mention and considered very dangerous for tortoises 🥲
We found our Russian on the street (they are amazing escape artists) and while we enjoy her very much, watching her destroy our yard gets a little sadder each year as she grows. Greeks are beautiful, less agressive and less destructive. They’re pretty tough as well. We won’t be getting another tortoise but if we did I’d be looking at a Greek for sure.
 

Potato_king

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
88
Location (City and/or State)
Oman
We found our Russian on the street (they are amazing escape artists) and while we enjoy her very much, watching her destroy our yard gets a little sadder each year as she grows. Greeks are beautiful, less agressive and less destructive. They’re pretty tough as well. We won’t be getting another tortoise but if we did I’d be looking at a Greek for sure.
ohh you must be very lucky. The tortoise is very lucky too for being rescued from the street. Indeed it’s very sad seeing your tortoise growing up, i got my tortoises few months ago and I already love them so much (Although i know they hate me ). Im thinking about getting another tortoise, and I think it will be a Russian. At least Russians will probably won't be hissing at my face for almost 5 times a day
 
Last edited:

RosemaryDW

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Feb 17, 2016
Messages
3,822
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA
ohh you must be very lucky. The tortoise is very lucky too for being rescued from the street. Indeed it’s very sad seeing your tortoise growing up, i got my tortoises few months ago and I already love them so much (Although i know they hate me ). Im thinking about getting another tortoise, and I think it will be a Russian. At least Russians will probably won't be hissing at my face for almost 5 times a day
Russians are the biggest bully there is. There is very little food where they are from and the weather is extreme so they have to get all their eating and baby making done in a very short time; they don’t spend much time outside of the burrow. This makes them more aggressive than most. All tortoises will bully each other; in the wild they only see each other long enough to mate, or fight for a mate, but Russians are extreme. Tortoises are not social animals. My Russian isn’t fearful around me anymore but she sure doesn’t care about me one way or the other.

You wouldn’t want two types anyway unless you have plenty of space to house them apart.

Tortoises don’t hiss but they do make a hissing sound when they are startled and pull their head and legs in very fast to protect themselves. At your size you are a predator to them. If that’s the kind of hissing that’s happening they aren’t mad at you; they are trying to stay alive. It’s not you personally.
 
Top