Is this a weed?
Hello. I'm a complete newbie with a question. I moved to a new house in NW Ohio in early July. The previous owner was a master gardener, but the house had been empty for three years. I know only a little about gardening, just enough to pull the obvious weeds. I don't want to pull any flowers, though. I figure that any flower that can survive untended for three years is just the kind of flower a beginner like me needs. :)
I've been able to research some plants on my own and figure out what they are. This one, though, has me stumped. Is it a weed?
-It's growing in a big patch in full sun, mixed in with some bee balm.
-The soil is heavy clay.
-The plants are about 4 feet tall, growing in individual spikes.
-I can't find any flowers or buds. Either this flowered before we moved in in July, or I'm missing something. (Without flowers, I've had no luck at all finding what it is online.)
-It grows in individual spikes that are about 4 feet tall.
-Leaves are alternate and toothed, long and slender.
-The stem is green, ribbed, and has a few sparse hairs.
-Broken bits of the plant smell kind of like pepper and sassafras, I guess.
-The roots are shallow and it's easy to pull up. I sacrificed one to get this picture
-The top of the plant is a feathery bunch of fuzzy green leaves. (Sepals? I'm new at this....)
Here are the pictures. Thank you for the help!