Thursday, July 21, 2011


            If you read the post before this one, you already know what the delay was all about. But here it is at last, a terse weedy post providing mug shots, names, (common and botanical), hangouts, how each makes more of itself, and any other pertinent information for a dozen more usual suspects flourishing at this time of year. Remember, you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.
            Some terminology notes: basal means “at base, at the bottom”;  leguminous means “a plant with nitrogen-fixing root nodes, a member of the pea family”; stolons are runners that travel aboveground; rhizomes are runners that travel below ground.

             We begin with six perennial offenders.

Dog fennel, Eupatorium capillifolium
Sunny natural areas and lawns
Seeds, suckers and regrows from a woody base (sheesh!)
Roots hard to pull out on established plants
Rather pretty, with aromatic ferny foliage, reminiscent of asparagus
Dog fennel,
just getting started in your lawn

Dog fennel, all grown up

Fleabane, Erigeron quercifolius
           Lawns, areas of dappled to part shade
           Leaves pull off easily; roots are another matter
           Little white to pinkish daisy flowers

growing where it's not wanted

Pretty, pernicious fleabane

Buckhorn plantain
(not the banana)

Buckhorn plantain, Plantago lanceolata
Lawns, road verges
Basal rosette of foliage, flowers on bare stalks
Crushed leaves relieve bug-bite itch when rubbed
     on the spot

Threeflower beggarweed

Threeflower beggarweed, Desmodium triflorum
            Lawns, open natural areas
Seeds and stolons
Mat-forming, taprooted, dark green leaves with three heart-shaped leaflets
Tiny pinky-purple pea-like flowers

Narrowleaf vetch

Narrowleaf vetch, Vicia sativus subsp. nigra, V. angustifolius
            Lawns, natural areas, fields
            Compound leaves with three to nine pairs of leaflets, lax to ascending habit
            Little pinky-purple pea-like flowers

The mystery weed
Mystery Weed, possibly a Euphorbia of some kind: a sample has been sent to the Weed Clinic at Virginia Tech for identification
            Lawns, road verges, dry natural areas
            Linear leaves whorled around an upright stem, flowering structure
branching from the top like a candelabra, producing numerous tiny white blooms
            Easy to pull

          Now let’s look at a few grass-like weeds.
(Note characteristic "V" seedheads)

Bahiagrass, Paspalum notatum
           Lawns, playing fields, disturbed places
           Seeds and rhizomes
          Mat-forming warm-season grass, may be mistaken for centipede or carpetgrass
           Seedheads form a distinctive “V”

Carpetgrass in Bermudagrass

Carpetgrass, Axonopus affinis 
            Lawns, dunes
            Seeds and stolons 
            Looks very much like centipede grass: the giveaway is its runners are above ground instead of underneath
            Long runners pull up like a zipper, which is kind of fun; grubbing out the roots is another matter

Your basic crabgrass
  Large and Southern crabgrass, Digitaria sanguinalis, D. ciliaris
            Sunny lawns, natural areas, road verges, disturbed places
            Seeds and stolons
            Aggressive annual, tufted or prostrate in habit
            Seed spikelets have two to nine branches

Sand spur, Cenchrus echinatus
            Lawns, dunes, road verges, disturbed places
            Wicked annual, with branching blades emanating from a central, reddish-purplish hub
            Seed a spiny bur, with barbed spines that hang on like grim death
            If you (or your dog) ever stepped on one, you’d know it

The purplish basal hub of sandspur 

The business end of a sandspur



The seedhead of globe sedge

           Globe sedge, Cyparus globosus
              Lawns, natural areas, disturbed places
              Perennial with smooth, shiny, bright green blades
              Seedhead resembles an exploding green firework
              Hard to eradicate


Horrid purple nutsedge,
purplish stems, little brown tubers,
rhizomes and all

Purple nutsedge, Cyparus rotundus 
    Lawns, planting beds, disturbed areas, everywhere
    Tubers and rhizomes
    Aggressive upright perennial grass with distinctive channel the
length of the blade; bases purplish
    Little brown hard tubers linked by rhizomes
    Really hard to eradicate, as pulling it just seems to piss it off

Well, whew. Not perfect, having an indention problem, but not too bad. Google's feeling better now, and so am I. Weedy vines and wildflowers next time.

Thanks for dropping by, and for your forbearance.