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got a strange plant with exploding seed capsules

Posted by dirtgirl So. Illinois (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 21, 06 at 11:37

I spent a few days last week cleaning up storm damage at my grandma's place. While picking up sticks and shingles in her front yard, I stolled through one particular corner of the yard next to the treeline. While bending down to grab a limb, my hand brushed through the mixture of things growing all around in that area and I was instantly hit with a barrage of tiny flying objects. Upon closer inspection I realized that this part of grandma's yard was full of these short plants that had gone to seed, and used pressurized capsules to disperse them. I am familiar with a few such plants around here, such as my favorite, jewelweed.
These plants were short, no higher than 6 -7 inches tall, and reminded me of horsetail, although I am assuming this is a very different-looking plant when not gone to seed. THe stems were pale green, upright, and for the most part seemed non-branching. This isn't something she planted here either.
The pods looked more like long needles, and of course the minute you brushed up against one it just splattered seeds every which way.
Any ideas? I don't have a clue what leaves would look have looked like.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: got a strange plant with exploding seed capsules

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 21, 06 at 12:08

This one? Also known as shotweed...

It seems to be a pain pretty much coast to coast, flowers in winter in this mild climate so I weed it out in raingear in January so it can't set more seed.

Here is a link that might be useful: bittercress

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