Enchanter's nightshade woodland 'weed'

nwhorthappy(z8 WA)May 31, 2009

I have big patches of Enchanter's nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) in the moist garden areas and woodland borders of our place in a woody part of Skagit County, which we've had for just 3 years. The weed(?) has been spreading more each year.

Is it something to try to control? (It pulls up easily with few roots left behind, I HOPE).

Or do I consider it innocuous, like the piggyback/youth-on-age Tellima and the native bleeding heart,,,of the woodland native type that won't get invasive, and I so I let it grow.

My hands are already full with Japanese knotweed, Himalayan blackberry, reed canary grass and (from previous owner:) Bishop's weed and creeping Jenny.

Is the E. nightshade (not a real nightshade, I gather) OK to leave on its own (maybe snap off seedheads). Or am I looking at a bigger problem down the road?

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Too small to interfere with normal-sized plants. Can't see much reason to bother with it, unless you don't like the way it looks.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 9:38PM
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plantknitter(8)

It is really spreading for me too, the last few years.

It is interfering with some of my groundcovers because it is taller than they are. So far I haven't done much except pull back the edges of the patches. It seems to leave tiny bulb like roots behind, though.

I was hoping to find out if it is beneficial for any of our native fauna.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:44PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If we think about it the plant won't, of course be operating in a vacuum - for starters it will surely have native pollinators that benefit from the food source. Maybe somebody has something up on the web or in print that talks about the plant's ecology.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 1:00PM
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nwhorthappy(z8 WA)

Thanks, bboy and plantknitter. I'm taking the strategy of removing it only where it does encroach on something else I might like better. It's a good green addition to my compost heap, at least (I don't put the roots in the pile, to play it safe).

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 3:38PM
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toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)

At first I thought you were talking about our native Enchanter's Nightshade, but that's Circaea alpina. (photo below) So you've got the broadleaf one? I wonder what would happen if you planted the native in with it.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:37PM
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nwhorthappy(z8 WA)

The photo from toad_ca seems to be what I have. So....my only question is: Is this OK to leave mostly where it grows? Or is it another Bishop's weed (Aegopodium?/ ) with rootlets that spread forever?

Thank you all, NW gardenweb folk, for your huge advice.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 1:20AM
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plantknitter(8)

I have the C. alpina that I have been noticing the last few years... I didn't notice the species on the original post.
And a garden I was working in today nearby had tons of it and they were complaining that it has really been spreading lately despite trying to contain it, and they are starting to hate it. And these are people tolerant of native false lily of the valley Maianthemum dilatatum.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 2:03AM
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toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)

Personally, I love it, but right now it's mostly in our forest. I guess anything that spreads where you don't want it to is a weed for you, even a native plant. It likes cool damp woods, but this source does say it can become "weedy in gardens."

Here is a link that might be useful: info on Enchanter's Nightshade

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 11:58AM
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CathyJ(USDA-8 West WA)

I used to be *fanatic* about keeping a separation between all my plants, much like a young child doesn't want one food item on his/her plate to touch another. Then, I got behind in my *segregation* duties and found I quite liked the effect of many of the plants which had strayed from their boundaries into their neighbors'. Now, I am not talking about bullies and brutes like Lamiastrum (Yellow Archangel), Creeping Jenny, Bishop's Weed, etc. But plants like Lily of the Valley (Convallaria), it doesn't hurt anything, as well as false Lily of the Valley (Maianthemum), Saxifragas, and other groundcover-type plants.

In addition to initially battling Enchanter's Nightshade, I also waged war on the poor little Starflower (Trientalis borealis); it kept coming up in my pea gravel paths. And I now kick myself because it is such a charming little woodland wildflower. So I've learned to really like and appreciate these two "gifts" that have strayed in from the forest. However, both are easy to pull up if they really do stray into areas where they are seriously unwanted.

Cathy
Olympia

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 9:45PM
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plantknitter(8)

CathyJ
Good to see you here!
you should come see how many of your plants are spreading in, around, and through my garden!
FYI We're having a trade here June 27
PNWJudy

Here is a link that might be useful: PNW plant exchange June 27

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 1:11AM
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CathyJ(USDA-8 West WA)

Hi Judy!

Yes, I saw your post regarding the exchange and am seriously thinking about attending, it has been so long since I have been to one and I have really missed seeing all my gardening friends. And now, since the nursery where I work is closing its door to retail as of June 21, I finally have the time.

Thanks for the invite!

Cathy

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 10:17PM
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plantknitter(8)

Sorry to hear about Steamboat, hope she is still selling specialty sales and wholesale.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:13AM
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