Any idea what this might be?

drippy(7bAL)August 22, 2013

I didn't plant it, it is showing up in random places. The smell is dill, very much so, but it doesn't flower, and it comes back from the roots annually. It is tall, about 4 1/2 feet. I am tempted to eat it, but would like to know what it is first, lol.

Thanks in advance,


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How close up is that photo? If it's close up, it bears a resemblance to summer cedar aka dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium). That has a strong smell, right height, perennial, and yes, it's edible. But your photo doesn't 100% convince me.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Nicole, I think you might have it - I did some searching around Google Images, and it looks right. Apparently it blooms in fall, though I can't recall ever seeing it bloom - I will watch for it this year. Posting another photo - these were as close as I could get.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 7:20PM
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I don't think I've ever seen it bloom, but it must sometime.

If you eat some, don't go overboard. It tastes pretty good (nothing like dill; its sweet) but has some chemicals that tax the liver a bit. Spice or occasional nibble, not a regular green. The taste is strong enough you are not likely to want more anyway.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:52PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Probably more palatable to butterfly caterpillars, but can't remember which offhand.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:09AM
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Research seems to indicate to be very careful of it as an edible - but many sites say the taste is unpalatable, which I find hard to believe, since when I crush it, it smells pretty good to me. But then, one site I looked at says it can cause contact dermatitis, too - so far so good on that one for me! (and I do get poison ivy & short-term itchies from juniper) One of the sites I looked at said it is repellent to rodents - which would be a good thing around my vegetable garden area - although it can be invasive.

I will probably try a little, just to see what it tastes like. I am fascinated, as this is one of the plants I do not ever recall seeing in MA.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL) mentions this plant in this article. There is no 'regular' article about eating it, like all of the other edibles discussed there.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:23AM
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Full disclosure: I've eaten it myself several times.

Another option is to taste it and then spit it out. But if it's going to be scary or uncomfortable to you, just skip it. It's not so great that you are going to be missing anything. Enjoy the smell instead.

Do be very sure of the ID first before nibbling..

For those curious about the potential toxicity, links below.
"Reports of acute poisoning in the United States among humans are relatively rare. Most result from the use of medicinal preparations as home remedies. ... Home remedies and consumption of herbal teas in large quantities can be a risk factor and are the most likely causes of alkaloid poisonings in the United States."

Toxic dosage info on pyrrolizidine and case history here; no cases reported from this particular plant. Not all pyrrolizidine alkaloids are toxic to humans; this is not a plant which is *known* to be toxic, but several closely related plants are so it's probably best to be conservative.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:59PM
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I ate a bit - still around, LOL. It was pretty tasty, but I didn't think it tasted sweet - rather like it smelled, dill/parsley flavor. Maybe not dog fennel? But if not, I have no idea what else it would be - definitely looks like dog fennel to me.

Of course, the plant I tasted has been growing in a bed near parsley and bronze fennel - it's definitely not either of those - but could that have affected the flavor?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 3:25PM
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The flowers are very small and greenish - most people would not even realize it was flowering. But it makes tiny seeds and is an important source of food for songbirds.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 10:53PM
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Eupatorium capillifolium, Dog Fennel. It is a common pasture weed. I wouldn't recommend eating it .

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 1:29PM
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I can't say I've ever looked at a weedy type thing growing outside and had the urge to eat it. haha Guess I've bought too many of my spices in jars......have no idea what the real deal looks like. :-)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 2:53AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

In bloom.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 9:04AM
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