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In the garden: What the heck is this plant?

Thisplant, with its very distinctive arrangement of leaves, is in my wildflower bed, but it's also popping up elsewhere.

I thought it was burdock, which is nasty and invasive -- or so the church ladies tell me -- but it's not.

Do I need to rip this up, whatever it is, wherever I find it?

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

It's something in the daisy family. Like burdock or sow's thistle or dandelions or coneflowers or Indian blanket. So it could be something you want to keep, or something you'll have to nuke the garden from orbit to get rid of. (Just kidding.) My suggestion would be to let it start flowering, ask the church ladies what it is (or post a picture here), and then decide whether it stays or goes. If it's a dreadful weed, be sure to get it pulled out before it sets seed. (That last should be in bold flashing all-caps.)

Submitted by lambert on

... that the seeds had blown "elsewhere" from my wildflower seeding.

Submitted by lambert on

At your link, I like "widely cosmopolitan" as a euphemism for "invasive weed."

I'm too lazy to go look at my seed packet to see if that's where it came from -- it appeared just this year, an argument in favor of that -- and I'm just going to rip them up. I don't like them.

I think the tiny little flower is a ridiculously small payoff for the massive leaf and stem structure. It's ugly.

* * *

Yikes. From Australia:

Sowthistle is a prolific seed producer. A single plant in a fallow can produce up to 25 000 seeds. Each seed possesses a pappus that aids in dispersal by wind. The majority of seeds fall within 2-3 metres of the parent plant, although a small number of seeds may be dispersed much greater distances. Seeds of sowthistle possess no innate dormancy meaning they are able to germinate straight after dispersal if the environment is suitable. Stopping plants from setting seed is an important component of managing this weed.

So I'd better go out and pull them up. Fortunately, they get really big before they flower.

blues's picture
Submitted by blues on

Yes, It's a "common" sowthistle. So what? It's only "invasive" if you go out of your way to allow it to be. It's super-easy to get rid of.

Its only real fault is that it is super ugly. We hate ugly, want pretty. A slight taint of selfishness in that?

Submitted by lambert on

I don't like the disproportion of it; the giant leaves and the tiny ineffectual flower.

So, away with it! Some enthusiastic spreaders I like and keep: Tansy, borage, Black Eyed Susans, bee balm, raspberries. But all of those have stacking functions, too.

blues's picture
Submitted by blues on

Absolutely! Build a great rock garden around these plants. Ugly is no better than beauty!

Set three of them within a lovely mini-rock garden. Inform the neighbors of what wondrous aphrodisiac powers they manifest!

(Something I would do in a heartbeat, but others would think twice about.)

Submitted by lambert on

Common Sowthistle is an aphrodisiac? I have plenty of invasives that I like. I can always transplant them.