Saturday, September 18, 2021


Oh you weed!


Yesterday I was trying to identify some weeds in my yard (it turns out they are Spiny Sowthistle, pictured above). In so doing, I found a listing of Minnesota's Most Dangerous Weeds, and the names are just terrifying:

Dalmation Toadflax
Giant Hogweed
Poison Hemlock
Leafy Spurge
Narrowleaf Bittercress
Purple Loosestrife 
Black Locust
Crown Vetch
Winged Burning Bush

I suppose these are the villains of the plant world, so they deserve names like "Spurge" and "Loosestrife" and "Toadflax," but "Winged Burning Bush?" Does if fly around after you, engulfed in flames?

In fairness, I should note that some of the most noxious weeds have deceptively sweet names:

Wild Carrot
Asian Bush Honeysuckle
Common Tansy
Tree of Heaven

So... what is your favorite weed? (I'm pretty sure Christine, for one, has an answer for this one, and Desiree, if she is around).

Oh giant ragweed,
Runny nose, itchy eyes, I
am a total mess.
Now I need to do a bit of research. I know loosestrife and it is invasive everywhere along waterways, creeks, ditches, canals... it is very pretty when it blooms so people like it and then it takes over and chokes the waterway. We have some in our pond but it is potted and keep it controlled.

I'll return later with more insights.
I think I've read several of these names in Shakespeare plays. Or if they aren't there, they could be!

Yes, I’m around! And my favorite weed is milkweed, of course. The monarchs love it, and who doesn’t love monarchs?
Is milkweed the same as ragweed?
No, ragweed makes you sneeze and isn’t as big or showy as milkweed. Milkweed looks kind of rubbery with fluffy seed pods. And it has monarch eggs on it :)
In fairness I looked up all of them.

Wild Carrot aka Queen Anne's Lace. Pretty, great pollinator plant. Spreads like crazy. I grow this and do my best to thin it out during the winter and clip the flowers before they seed.

Giant Hogweed and Poison Hemlock are related to QAL but talled, sturdier stemmed and each toxic to humans and animals.

Leafy Spurge is a Euphorbia. Great in a shade garden but spreads with runners. I grow this as I love the alien looking flowers. I also pull a lot of it out to keep it in check.

Winged Burning Bush is a Euonymus. Really pretty shrub in NC with the most beautiful fall color. It is deer candy in our yard.

Dalmation Toadflax - is very pretty

Narrowleaf Bittercress is an edible herb. The key is to not let the plant go to seed.

Phragmites like Loosestrife is an aggressive wetlands reed. Choking waterways and damaging the ecosystem.

Tree of Heaven- invasive, smelly and is attractive the spotted lantern fly (a very invasive moth).

Black Locust is a fast growing tree. Does well in managed environments. A favorite wood of early settlers.

Common Tansy - can be invasive if you have multiple plants. I planted a single plant 4 years ago and still have a single plant

Crownvetch - just pull this weed.

Honeysuckle. Pull the Asian variety and plant a non-invasive variety in your yard. The hummingbirds love it. The asian variety is usually seen growing wild along roadside fences.
Wow-- Desiree and Christine to the rescue!
I suspect most wildflowers are technically weeds, but weeds to which we have assigned value. (I'm looking at you, bluebonnet.)
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