spurged

daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)November 24, 2011

As my lawn was slowly dying in the summer heat, significant pieces of it were taken over by what appears to be spotted spurge. It is identified in various garden libraries as a weed pest and there appears to be a goodly industry devoted to killing it. I kept ripping it out, and it kept coming back. Incredibly drought tolerant! Not an unattractive plant, with little flowers. After a while, I decided that it wasn't a bad protector for the soil, in the absence of grass, so I left it there. While the grass will probably come back in those spots, I'm looking for other ways to use this fairly remarkable plant. Are there any good strategies? It hugs the ground, and probably won't like being walked on, but maybe in pots, draped over the perimeters?

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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I've thought the same thimg myself! Several years ago I noticed it growing in a front flower bed at the S. A. Botanical Gardens as if left deliberately for a ground cover around the flowers growing there. So in these trying times (garden wise) why not?

Good observation and question!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 12:29AM
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PKponder TX(7b)

I have a lot of that. Doesn't it make stickers?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 10:22AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Pam, I remember that sticker plant also. It looks a lot spurge.

This is spurge:

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/WEEDS/spotted_spurge.html

Not positive, but I think this may be the plant that makes those awful stickers. Scroll down to look at all the pictures. What do you think?

Here is a link that might be useful: Puncture vine

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 11:49AM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

As I said, I ended up pulling a lot of it out over the course of several months, and I always did it barehanded. No stickers that I ever saw or felt. Looks like the "mature plant" frame in the UC Davis website that was posted.

Left by itself it really develops into a more or less continuous carpet. The stems are somewhat thick and succulent. It's really easy to rip it out, because the stems radiate out from a root at the center. You just give a pull in the middle.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 1:26PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

That's the one that I have, Roselee! Thanks for clearing up my confusion.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 10:55AM
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bossjim1

That Puncture vine is what we used to call Goat-heads. It's kind of rough on bare feet.
Jim

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 12:29PM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I didn't like the spurge but did encourage wild portulaca. It has tiny yellow flowers. It's related to moss roses. It's edible and eaten in many countries. Don't accidentally eat spurge tho! It's toxic. It bred like crazy until the bigger, fuller flowers shaded it out. Other names are Purslane, Pigweed, Wild Portulaca, Little Hogweed, Pusley, Verdolaga (Portulaca oleracea

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 8:59PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

I see that spotted spurge is one of the most prevalent weeds at container nurseries. That would mean, I guess, that they grow really well in containers. Just don't let your sheep eat out of your pots!

Interestingly, they reproduce by seeds. Looking at them, you'd figure that they did so by expanding and anchoring themselves as they spread. But that's not the case. Kind of remarkable, because the bare spots on my lawn filled in with this stuff very rapidly. I guess it also means that they aren't good plants to use as turf fillers, since you only get rid of one generation by pulling them up.

But no, spurge isn't purslane or pigweed. The former is toxic, while the latter is delicious and an excellent edible. The leaves look similar, but spurge grows radially and flat on the ground, while purslane sticks up, and doesn't grow radially. I've eaten purslane, and I'm sad that the stuff in my yard isn't that.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 9:54PM
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bossjim1

I wish someone would come eat the purslane out of my beds. I keep up with the spurge, but can never catch up with the purslane.
Jim

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 10:49PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

I would share my purslane as well, Jim..........really annoying to have to pull it out all the time.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 9:22AM
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