Three Weeds Getting On My Last Nerve!

This time during summer it is really depressing.

My weeds make my  garden look hopeless….partly due to the fast growing weeds, and partly to my summer laziness  busy time is kicking in………..really bad.  I must confess, when it is coming near to Sept 15 when I have to worry about frost, I get lazy busy and neglect the garden. And you all know what happens.

A few days not going out and weeding…..OK, a week or two… garden is over-run with the creepers in the ground covering the gravel, and tall flowering weeds ready to burst with all their seeds.  Where’s my vinegar bottle?

Please, no!

Today we will deal with just three of them. I will have to save some for later.

Stinging Nettle –  Urtica dioicaSlender nettle  – Urtica gracilis  is similar

Three Weeds Making My Garden Hopeless - Got them


Stinging nettle is the name given to common nettle, garden nettle, and hybrids of these plants. Originally from Northern Europe and Asia, this plant is all over the world today.

It gets its name from the tiny hairs growing on the stem and underside of the leaves. These are soft, so you don’t get the sting from them pricking your skin. Its the chemicals that are released when you brush against them which causes a reaction in your skin producing redness, swelling and irritation.

Itchy. Let’s just call it what it is. I think it is similar to poison ivy.

Old superstition: If you pull up a stinging nettle by the roots and call out a sick person’s name, it will drive out the sick one’s fever.

The flowers are small greenish-white clusters on a spike formed at the leaf axils. You can see them in the photo above.

So Many Stinging Nettles Hiding!

The stinging nettle likes a lot of company, so they grow in colonies. Where you find one, there will be many more, so it is important to get them pulled before they mature and spread the seed. They are easy to pull out buy just gripping the stem near the bottom, with gloves on…..and maybe long sleeves might be a good idea if the plant is large.

These weeds resemble mints a lot, but mints don’t have the stinging hairs. And I guess I have to mention that the plant is also used as food. I read that it is boiled to remove the stinging hairs. It is high in Vitamin C and A, along with iron.

 Give me an orange and some spinach. I just can’t eat my weeds.

Clearweed – Pilea pumila

This weed is  similar to stinging nettle that they are mistaken for each other. But clearweed has no stinging hairs.  It grows in a similar fashion but has a soft-ish stem which pulls out of the soil so easily that I should not have the hundreds of plants that I have in the garden.

I have no excuse. Did I lie when I said I get lazy busy?

This is not an edible plant as far as I know, but I guess that is based on what you like. I think rhubarb is nasty, and you may love it. To each his own, I guess.

Clearweed - The Hypertufa Gardener

Clearweed has very shallow roots so it is easy to pull up. Here I’ve pulled one up so you can see its roots. Notice how translucent the stems are. That is why it is called clearweed, I guess. Makes sense to me.

Freshly Pulled Clearweed - The Hypertufa Gardener

And it loves to hide behind and under other larger plants, so it is a real struggle to get to it, even though it is easy to pull when you do reach it. See it along the fence around and behind my huge Baptisia I have pulled forward?

Clearweed hiding behind the Baptisia - The Hypertufa Gardener

Pokeweed – Phytolacca americana

Common pokeweed is native to the eastern half of the U.S. And I understand it is edible to some who can prepare and cook according to specific directions so you don’t POISON yourself.  The FDA puts this under the classification of “undefined safety.” So, you guessed it…..

I am not going to eat it.

Pokeweed with unripe berries - The Hypertufa Gardener

Pokeweed can grow to nine feet tall and has a large taproot which looks like a big carrot. It has huge leaves when it is mature and the berries are produced on a long racemes as you see in this picture. These berries are not ripe, but will turn a deep dark purple as they ripen.

I have this growing around my hydrangea bush next to the driveway. It blended in really well with the leaves of the hydrangea which made me not even notice it until the berries were beginning to form. I decided to let it grow so that I could photograph it. Now it can go!

Pokeweed berries - The Hypertufa Gardener

The little berries look like green tomatoes to me. But they are really small, maybe the size of a large pea. And notice the little indentations on the berry, as if someone had “poked” them with a stick. Is that why it is called Pokeweed?

A lot of birds and other animals eat the berries as one of their food sources and have no adverse reactions to the poison. These creatures disperse the seeds by excreting them and that is the main means of distributing these plants.

Species who depend on the berries are robins, mourning dove, cardinal, bluebird, phoebes, along with red foxes, opossum,  raccoons, and mice.

Giant Leopard Moth

Pokeweed is one of the host plants of the giant leopard moth whose caterpillar is the “Wooly Bear” kind that predicts our winters.


So I guess these plants are a good one to have in an isolated area where children or pets cannot get to them.

Unless you want to make up a batch to eat. But that would only be when they are very young and under 8 inches high. That is supposedly when they are at their best.

I will leave you to test that out. Not me.

In the south, it was canned and sold in stores until about 2000 and in Europe it is sold in gourmet shops. It is raised as a crop in Europe according to The Wild Vegetarian Cookbook.



  1. Carole Damske says:

    Thankfully I have never had Poke weed in my yard, but my son did and its awful, so had to keep out of your garden once it’s taken hold. I once came in contact with stinging nettles and didn’t know and was for some reason not using gloves, duh. Man does that hurt. But Clearweed yeah all over the place, good thing the roots are not that deep. I have to get out and weed soon or just call them my favorite plants and leave them to grow haha. I also have tons of the evil Creeping Charley, ugh. Finally got it out of my grass but now it’s growing in my backyard flower beds. Have fun, I will be thinking of you when I am weeding this week.

    1. Thanks Carole, It is a constant battle with those weeds. I have a bunch to pull today since we’ve had rain. Those pretty wild violets in spring don’t look so pretty now that they are engulfing my flower borders, not to mention, the lawn. Have a great day!

  2. Vicki Zwiebel says:

    Thanks for telling me what the stinging nettles were. I have a couple, one in the back that was getting so tall it was covering up the lilac bush. I swear it was swaying towards me when I walked past it daring me to pull it. I would always forget my gloves when I would see it. Wes finally “got it” and mowed it over with the mower. Now there’s another one in the front outgrowing the rest. We’ll get that nest of them after it quits raining tomorrow…if I remember my long gloves! lol

    1. So glad I could help with your “monster.” And those things can take over if you let them. Hope all goes well with you and your family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.