I have a Mystery Weed. Well, I used to have one.
Well, I guess it is no longer a mystery since I have finally had it named for me. And my help came from the Facebook Group “Container Gardening-Gone to Pot” from someone who either knew the weed or knew how to search it out better than I could.
This weed intrigued me for some reason. It grew quickly and I just let it go. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but it is in a bed with Purple Coneflowers which grow about four feet tall. And this one was passing them up!
My weed was a large fluffy and softly branching weed, not at all stiff or prickly. It resembles one of the thistle-type plants but it was not. There were little hairs along the stem and underside of the leaves but they were not “prickles” or “stickers.”
I am not sure why I was so obsessed with this weed. It was sort of pretty and all lush and green. It didn’t develop a bloom until later after I had found out what is was. The bloom was the final identification that let me know that the identity was correct. There was a cluster of buds formed in that top center which would later emerge and branch out like a fountain. That cinched the ID.
American Burnweed – Erechtites hieraciifolius (fireweed)
This is a native plant to North America and gets its name from supposedly being one of the first plants to grow after a fire has burned out an area. Burnweed or fireweed is a medicinal plant and “the whole plant is medicinal” according to Henriette’s Herbal Homepage. You can read more about it on her page.
And if you should be interested in books about edible plants, these may be of interest to you.
Here are some weed identification books:Weeds: Friend or Foe?
Weeds (A Golden Guide from St. Martin’s Press)
The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival
Weeds: In Defense of Nature’s Most Unloved Plants
Now that I know the name of the plant, for some reason it makes me feel better. And I have seen more of it ( and pulled it out right away). I like to know the plants that I have growing in my garden whether I want them there or not. Can you identify with that? I just need to know. It helps to have a manual handy to identify it.
It was the blossom that cinched the identity. This photo is from Wiki. Mouse over it to see credits.
I have read that you can make a salad with the leaves and flower buds. Or some teas or oils. But I am not yet into that stuff yet. These plants are supposed to aid digestion or as a cathartic. As you have read before, I am not yet into that.
But if you are, go right ahead. These are huge and leafy weeds so you certainly would get a big crop.
Have a great day!