is this salvia or a weed?

michoumonster(SF Bay area, CA)April 20, 2008

Hi, can you help, me identify this plant? I grew some blue salvia in my bed last year. This year, this plant popped up in huge numbers in this area, so I thought it might be salvia from seeds or something. However, the plants are budding now and the flowers don't look like the old salvia did. the flowers on this mystery plant are kind of pinkish colored. please help me ID this! thanks!!

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michoumonster(SF Bay area, CA)

here are pictures of the mystery plant. is it wishful thinking that it is salvia? it is very healthy, so i suspect it is a weed...

these are the plants

here are closups of the flower buds

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 10:27PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

I'm pretty sure it is not a Salvia. Can't tell until the flowers show. Something off the top of my head says fireweed.

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtales
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Epilobium
Species: E. angustifolium

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 10:48PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I think Richard is pretty close, but I bet it isn't going to turn out to be Epilobium angustifolium, which has showy flowers and might be something you'd enjoy in the garden. Instead I think it will probably turn out to be one of the other Epilobium species that are widespread in CA. Most don't have showy flowers, and I see them growing in the wild along the edges of wetlands. I think Willowherb is a common name used for all of them. I don't think they'll turn out to be much of a problem weed, but they may not turn out to be real great looking either. They may attract butterflies or other pollinators.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 10:23AM
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michoumonster(SF Bay area, CA)

thanks Richard and ladyslppr! I googled epilobium and it does look like my plants. my plants look a lot like the epilobium ciliatum, which don't look very attractive at all.. So I guess I will be pulling them up today before they start taking seed.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 2:25PM
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