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volunteer plants ID

Posted by CasaLester 7b (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 18:55

We have a number of volunteers that don't look very weedy and show gardening potential so it would be helpful to learn more about them. Feedback appreciated.

The first one is a vigorous single herbaceous plant with multiple branches about 2 ft tall.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: volunteer plants ID

Second, we have a dense low growing mat with tiny white flowers with four petals and spiky leaves resembling creeping phlox (US quarter for size). This shows some ground cover potential.


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Third, there is a clover-like mat (with more elliptical leaves) that is taking over the sidewalk median, but is also quite dense and responds well to mowing to be adopted as ground cover.


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Quick, toss the top one into the trash barrel !! It is a noxious weed that spews seed everywhere.
#2 is something I'm fighting now. It acts and looks like Scottish moss and those teeny flowers make prolific seeds.
You can clip it down to the ground and it recovers so if you have a spot that is not anywhere near where you plan to garden and is not above grade where hard rains would float the seed to spots you garden then move it there.

First, cut off the tops to get the flowers off. Plan on digging it out down to 6-8 inches. It has a tap root.

#3 looks like some kind of spurge with opportunistic lawn grass growing up through it. The spurges here have already bloomed and in the seed setting stage.


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agree on number one. They're pretty easy to pull up. If you don't, you'll have 100+ next year. Don't know about the rest.


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  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 15:57

I recognize them all as things I would like to make locally extinct.


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Does anyone know the actual name of Weed #1. It is the bane of my summer existence! I would love to give it a name!


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Thanks, Dottie, for your lead suggesting spurge as volunteer #3. Spurge can be reliably eliminated since #3 does not exude any milky liquid on broken stems. As a matter of fact, a positively identified spurge weed, Euphorbia maculata, which does bleed the milky fluid, has been observed here and is quite different in appearance - with a more prostrate, very flat growth, and leaves with a blue-silver tint and purple spots.

While researching this lead, however, we found some Web pages describing a weed with the characteristic three leaf arrangement of #3. It clearly appears to be some kind of Lespedeza, most likely - using the identification in the linked page - Lespedeza striata (Japanese clover, common lespedeza).

Here is a link that might be useful: Lespedeza Identification and Control in Turfgrass


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Number 2, I'm still not sure it's a moss but it certainly is vigorous and very green with a 6-8" height where it gets regular water in rich soil. Seems like there ought to be a use for it , as you said, perhaps a ground cover. It does seem to spring up in damp rich soil, full sun location.
I'm thinking it came in with some grape hyacinth bulbs since it's growing in three locations where I planted the bulbs.


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Thanks, Dottie, for continuing to brainstorm with us. We can eliminate true mosses as #2 because they don't have flowers and Irish "moss" (Sagina subulata) because it's flowers have five petals not four.

The tiny four-petaled flowers of #2 seem to resemble those from the genus of Galium (bedstraw), although its needle-like leaves and dense growth resulting from short internodes differ from the popular weed Galium aparine. There is another species, Galium andrewsii, that is actually called phlox-leaved, needlemat, or moss bedstraw - all descriptions that fit well #2, but it grows in California, and has whorls of four leaves, whereas #2 has only two leaves per node. However, there are over 600 species of Galium so it is possible that we have here some other rare Galium species.

Here is a link that might be useful: Galium andrewsii


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Well, I've been gardening for close to 50 years North and South and this 'whatever it is' just popped up two years ago and new to me. So it must be safe to presume that it arrived recently as seed in 'something purchased'. I just went out to pull a flowering sample and it does, as you describe, have a 4 petal blossom.
Unlike the gallium andrewsii, these petals are rounded, not pointed tip.


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RE: volunteer plants ID

#1 is stinging nettles


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Thanks so much, Brenda in Eno! You have answered one of my burning weed questions. They haunt me all summer!

And "who knew" after googling it, come to find out it is medicinal, used for urinary problems. Maybe I should cultivate a little LOL.

Claire in Sanford

This post was edited by puppyscruff on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 18:19


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Claire, that's not stinging nettles. It's a common weed, mother of hundreds if let go to seed. Google the images of stinging nettle and you'll see the difference.


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try the NAME THAT PLANT FORUM ...

those biologists are wizards of smart ...

i agree.. they are all weeds ...

i dont care to know the name of weeds.. i kill them.. lol ...

ken


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Yes dottie, it certainly isn't nettle because you can pull them up bare-handed at any stage without getting the nasty long lasting pain.


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Thanks, Ken, for suggesting "Name that Plant". That forum is quite active with several contributors responding to our query about #2 within a few hours. We have an unequivocal ID for it: Polypremum procumbens.


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casalester, you took really superior photographs !


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I don't know what #3 is called either. It is creeping slowly thru my yard. Seems like it gets 'woody' at the stem sometimes. No one seems to know what it is..


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#1 looks like Acalypha virginica. Here's a reference so you can compare it with what you have.

Here is a link that might be useful: Acalypha virginica


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Acalypha virginica appears to be the right ID for #1. This should also redeem those who claimed that it was stinging nettle, as according to Wikipedia: 'the genus name Acalypha, which comes from the ancient Greek "acklephes" for "nettle", was applied to this genus by Linnaeus because of the nettle-like appearance of the leaves'.


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I think the point is, all three of these are weeds you don't want in your gardens and lawns no matter their identification, heritage or appearance.
I appreciate the identification of #2 and regularly dig out #3 and none of #1 is allowed to set foot in and reach seeding stage in my gardens because it produces hundreds of offspring.


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I've seen a bazillion of #1 and I still don't think anyone has ID'd it. I do not think it is that Acalphya virginica. It resembles it a bit, but it is not correct. Sorry.

Still have that burning weed question. It's the scourge of my garden! I've pulled up many many, even today!


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In the garden today having second thoughts about #1 as A.V. Some of my specimens looked somewhat like it. It could be that I just don't let mine get as mature..

Not sure why I like knowing the names of my weeds. There is no practical reason to know the name. I guess it's like knowing the name of your enemy.


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Maybe it's A. rhomboidea?

Here is a link that might be useful: Acalypha rhomboidea


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Cercis141..from the first photo in the link I think you have a
BINGO..the rest of the photos , to me, are unimportant because the top splay of leaves is identifiable as that weed that doesn't need further examination on the way to the trash can.


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RE: volunteer plants ID

I'm pretty darn sure #1 is Boehmeria cylindrica, also known as false nettle. Comes up in my shady flower beds. I hate it.


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