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 a book about edible plants, this one may be of interest to you. It is called A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants Eastern and Central North America.
Here are some other 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!
Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.