Trying to ID invasive plant: mint or fireweed?

SundryMay 20, 2013

Hi folks -- I've got a plant that's absolutely everywhere in my yard right now (in Eugene, OR) and I'm trying to figure out what it is. It has no odor, so although it looks mint-ish I'm thinking it's something else? Someone suggested fireweed, and the leaves do look similar but photos of the shoots don't match what I'm seeing. Any ideas?

Here's another look at it:

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

It is certainly one of the Epilobiums, but I don't think it's Fireweed ie Chamerion angustifolium previously known as Epilobium angustifolium. I don't know N American Epilobiums but someone on the Name That Plant Forum might be able to help id it more specifically. Anyway - it is a weed.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 4:22PM
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Careful with that "weed" pronouncement. I'm no Oregon expert but there are a great many native Epilobiums, and that includes fireweed, which I agree, this isn't.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 10:11AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I was approaching the question from a gardening point of view and the statement that it was 'absolutely everywhere in my yard' and the heading which refers to it as invasive. Obviously many 'weeds' are native species but if they are growing, for example in your vegetable garden, they reproduce fast and there are more there than you want, I would class them as weeds. But I am quite happy to withdraw the word and call it 'a wild flower in a place you don't want it', or similar.

This post was edited by flora_uk on Sun, Jun 2, 13 at 9:55

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 9:53AM
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That's funny--trying to decide what is weed or wildflr. Michael Dirr once said:
"A weed is a plant having trouble with a human."

It favors Diodia "Poor Joe".
Hello from Brenda in GA. I'm new and thrilled to be here!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 12:56PM
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Perhaps often viewed as a purely semantic issue, weeds are never those plants native to a given area. Weeds are plants which hitched a ride on the back of agriculture as it spread to new parts of the world. Hence the term "ag weeds". Then again, I know a golf course superintendant who refers to trees as "hard weeds"! Much depends on reference point.

But I and quite a few others don't think a plant which is native to the area in question should ever be classified as a weed. It's more than just a plant growing somewhere that someone doesn't want it.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 2:41PM
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That is a good quote from M. Dirr.

I know someone who states that Jack in the Pulpit and New England Aster are weeds. Dislikes Rudbeckia.

However, this same person had a trench dug and lined with heavy duty landscaping barrier in order to plant running bamboo. huh???


    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:31PM
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Tina, it goes to show how gardening is definitely not an exact science and how different us gardeners can be. My true love is spring ephemerals; espec. trilliums. Thanx 4 the kind words.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:42PM
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Often called/mistaken for fireweed (and closely related) but most likely Epilobium ciliatum or northern willowherb. Probably one of the most prolific weeds of both gardens and containers in the PNW. Appears almost overnight and grows with the speed of light.

"weeds are never those plants native to a given area"

Not precisely true :-) Botanically speaking, a 'weed' is any plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth, especially one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants. Many native plants are considered weeds in more highly cultivated gardens or in areas of commercial agriculture. 'Noxious weeds' are a bit different.....they do tend to be hitchhikers or imported exotics and are true invasives. Typically they are listed as of economic concern, either in the cost of their eradication or their impact on agriculture.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 6:41PM
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