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A Window On My World

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Mystery Plants Need Names

There is a cute little weed that blooms in March with dainty, white, lacy little flowers. Its seed pods burst when touched and throw its seeds in the manner of a touch-me-not. I have looked in a few websites about weeds, but have had no luck finding it. Does anyone out there recognize this little tyke and know a name for it?

The first photo is for the purpose of giving you the scale. It is to the right of the tulip plant; not the broad leafed one, that's Fleabane, it's the little lacy one. Left click on photo and enlarge it so you can get a better look.

And, here is another puzzle:
Can anyone out there help me identify this pest, weed vine?! I need help!
Above: A young shoot growing from an extensive root, that travels underground a long way, putting up new shoots all along its ever increasing length. It is not a morning glory vine, I recognize those when I see them. The blossom is small and not noticeable. Sorry, I do not have a photo of a blossom.

I felt a few moments of panic when someone half-jokingly said: “Maybe it’s kudzu.” I had read that with the warming climate, kudzu is moving northward. It is now in Tennessee and headed for Kentucky. May be here already for all I know. But, I Googled it and looked at the photos of leaves and it is not kudzu – Whew! What a scare!

But what is it?? Like several (no, many) noxious, pernicious growing things, it came over on us from the farm that used to be over the fence. The farm has been developed to a very attractive, high-end neighborhood of large houses. The lawns are well mowed, however fence rows are still infested with bad plants. Hopefully, eventually, they will be eradicated. The problem is that most people do not know much about plants, and do not know a bad one when they see it, if they give any notice to them at all, which they usually don't.

The roots of this species have grown under North Path and Cliff Walk, putting up numerous sprouts over on my side. The vines are twining and quite strong. They twine together (around each other) creating a cord that I cannot break, I have to cut it. The cord grows (going up like a dancing cobra snake) until it reaches the lowest limbs of a tree or shrub and then you know what happens - it heads for the skies!

The most problem area is where it has gotten into my neighbors brush pile area in the back corner of his yard; it then comes over here from there. It grows up his trees, shrubs, and fence at the property line, and over onto our side both above and below ground. He is not physically able to manage the problem.

This is his nice chain-link fence. With his permission I have tried to grow a dark blue Clematis and a rose on the fence, but as you can see the mystery vine invades, takes over and grows so fast one can almost see it growing. Cutting does no good, it comes back rapidly. Our wicked spring and summer 2007 killed the rose and Clematis (I'm hoping the roots are not dead.), so we may be able to spray. But, it has spread to so many other places.

Here it has gone underground under North Path and can be seen mingled with the Virginia Creeper
ground cover (five leaves) and some taller perennials forming a matted mess.

Next, it will be up in my trees, too. It causes an enormous amount of additional work. People ask me what it is, and I don't know. Do you?

The bare area inside the concrete blocks is being converted to a bed of large blue Hostas. Since this photo, they have been moved to this shady spot from one where they received too much sun. To the right is North Path.

To the left of the long run of concrete blocks is the steep slope of the bank. On that side the concrete blocks are visible from below in wintertime. Therefore, that side has been planted with a row of small boxwoods in hopes of hiding the unattractive blocks. Just thought you might wonder what was going on with that unattractive space.

Hope you can help with the mystery plants identifications. Leave a comment, please, if you can help. If no one knows, I guess I will give them names. And, in the case of the vine, it won't be a nice one.

LATER: March 28, 2012
The small white flower has been identified as Bitter Crest Cardamine. Cardamine is a very large genus. If you are interested in more information, here is a link for you. CLICK HERE


Pomona Belvedere said...

Hi Barbee, I can identify your first plant, at least as far as the genus: it's a Cardimine (bitter cress). I know this because I had the same i.d. problem. I posted about my search for its identity here: http://www.tulipsinthewoods.com/wild-plants/weeds-of-mystery/

Although your vine looks familiar in that irritating way ("I should know that") I can't identify it. After my massive cardimine search, I did post about several university sites so if none of your smart readers can i.d. it, you could try them: http://www.tulipsinthewoods.com/wild-plants/on-the-trail-of-the-mystery-weed/

I feel a little odd flogging my posts on your blog, and you're welcome to take the URLs off if you wish - it's just that I did a lot of research for the posts and think the info might really be useful.

And amidst all the weeds: happy spring! Your header photo is so appropriate at this time of year!

Barbee' said...

Pomona, I don't mind at all. Maybe the links will help someone else. Thank you for taking the time to let me know what you found. I will check out the links now.

Sunita said...

Barbee, the first one is pretty enough to be a cultivated garden plant. I can easily see it as a filler.
The second may be some wild gourd I think. We have something that looks like that here, with tiny yellow flowers and teeny-tiny gourds. Is it the same one I wonder.

Barbee' said...

Sunita, I agree that the little one makes an attractive filler. I also use Fleabane for that purpose. Hmmm, gourd, could be. I will try to watch for its bloom and fruit. If it weren't so aggressive, I would enjoy it, too. The leaves are attractive, I think. I think I will try Googling "wild gourd". Thank you for the idea.

Barbee' said...

Well, I Googled it, but this foliage did not look like any of the wild gourds pictured. That makes it still a mystery.

Marta in New Jersey identified the little plant as hairy bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta. As we are both in the eastern U.S. we probably have the same "weed".

Vetsy said...

Barbee I can relate.. If I find info on these mystery plants I'll let you know" ...
I just learned today that I have an invasive weed called a creeping buttercup and it's been in my yard for years..

I was losing my mind trying to figure out what it was! and I didn't find out what it was called until this year!

Callie said...


Scroll down to:
Thursday, 5 April 2007,
Coping with Invasive Vines

That looks a bit like your vine. Maybe his technique for getting rid of the vine will work for you. Good luck!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Oh, I have that nasty little flicker growing in my garden also.

Funny how all of these bad weeds always come in on a new plant from the nursery. Glad to know what it is called.


Barbee' said...

Vetsy, I know that plant and know what a task you have - good luck!

Callie, thank you so much for that link. Hope that works for me, too. That garden has such pretty lichens and mosses.

Muddy Boot Dreams, Jen, guess we might as well learn to enjoy it, here at least I'm sure it's here to stay.

Balisha said...

Hi Barbee...Thanks for your comments this morning. Joe got the epidural and now we wait to see if he's any better. I do hope that your back is feeling better. I love Fairest Lord Jesus too. It seems that the old hymns are the ones we remember the words to. I can remember being dressed like a sunflower and singing Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam...when I was little.You couldn't get me to sing in front of people now...if my life depended on it.
Have a nice day...Balisha

Kerri said...

Hi Barbee,
I've never seen either of your mystery weeds, so I'm glad you've had success identifying the first little weed. That's a good start. Yikes! There's so much of it! But at least it's small.
That invasive vine looks almost unbeatable. I feel for you. Having to deal with such a pest is absolute frustration, I'm sure.
I hope you're enjoying the beauty of your garden in spite of the "brutes".
We have lots of things blooming beautifully at the moment, and I noticed today that the first glorious peonies are open. What a delight they are!
I hope your health is much better now with the warmer weather.
Happy gardening!

Lucy said...

Did you decide it's definitely bittercress?

I've found a site where they are selling it. They are selling all sorts of other weeds too (including nettles)to restaurants so they can use them in salads and as vegetables.

I don't know how successful they are. I was astonished. But, if you'd like to take a look out of interest - this is the link.


The text which accompanies it is a bit odd too.

'It has an intense hot flavour, just a little more concentrated than watercress, as it comes in a smaller leaf! Beautiful edition to salads, or to garish dishes'

(I copied and pasted it so you get the original spelling . . . and . . . what is a 'garish' dish?)

Hope you are well.


Barbee' said...

Oh, Balisha, that is so funny! Back is so-so; I am up and functioning - slowly. I use a cane some days just to help my balance and to lean on for a little relief. It could be worse like having to take to the sofa or bed for bed-rest. I move slowly to try to prevent that much spasming. Little spasms I can deal with and keep moving, mostly. I have been giving away plants left and right. Yesterday it was two large plastic bags of that thug the tawny orange daylily that is so invasive. It comes up everywhere here. I warned them about it, but they still wanted it.

Kerri, I am glad you have never seen those two pest weeds for that means you do not have them in your garden. Now at least I know what to call the little one... if my memory doesn't falter... which it often does. My health: I am up and moving. Can't do the work, but so far have been able to keep 2 1/2 helpers to a task. The 1/2 helper comes only 3 mornings a week. Peonies! sigh.... I adore them, and mine have just finished, and to think it will be a whole year before I get to look into their faces and breath in that divine fragrance. I will now enjoy your photos of yours. I know you must be super, super busy right now, so thank you for coming by and for leaving a comment. It's been months since I posted. I'm okay, it is just that I have been so busy with spring work, and now that I rise at 5:45 to start in the cooler mornings, I usually have to take a little nap during the hot time of the day. That eats up time, but if I don't, I fall asleep at the computer.

Hi Lucy, yes, I do think it is bittercress. Marta thought it is hairy bittercress, which she has there. I don't remember it being hairy. When it comes back next March I hope I can remember to examine one more closely. I am going to check out that website (Thank you), and now I think I will nibble some bittercress come March and see if it is bitter, and if it is peppery. We have a weed here called pepper grass (it isn't really a grass) or pepper weed, the seeds of which are much like watercress. Garish dishes! Ha, ha, what visuals this brings to mind! I guess their typo dropped the n in garnish. I think reading that site is going to be a bit entertaining. Thank you for thinking of me.

Balisha said...

Hi Barbee...Haven't heard from you in a while and I'm just checking to see if you're OK. The summer heat, rain, bugs are here and make gardening not so fun. Today it is cooler and I got out and did some things that needed doing. Hope you are OK and just enjoying the AC and a book or two. Balisha

Barbee' said...

Hello Balisha, thank you for checking on me. I wish I were inside enjoying the AC, etc. But, no, I'm out every morning and some evenings among the bugs and poison ivy. Extremely busy in the garden, don't know if I will ever get caught up with posts. Have some large projects going on. Also, have been active in Freecycle, Craig's List, and Dave's Garden where we trade plants. Sell on Craig's List, and give away on Freecycle. A woman just called to say she wants the forsythia I advertised on Freecycle today. I better get to bed so can keep up with 5 Univ. Ky. students and greet the visitor and hand off the shrub. I told her I didn't want to give up my bucket and she should bring something to put it in. There is a nest of baby rabbits in the tiny meadow, Maggie was weeding nearby and she said one looked at her from behind some meadow plants. They are eating a lot of my plants. Oh, dear! What to do.

Sammy Thorley said...

Hay Barbee, its been a long time I hope that you are alright I like your photos you have taken & it was nice to visit your blog again.

Barbee' said...

Hello Sammy, good to hear from you. As I get older, I am getting much slower, so it takes great amount of time to get anything done. And, as you may have read in my last comment (just above yours), I have been extremely busy with large garden projects. Not sure if I will ever be able to post about them. Maybe this winter I will have time to write more. Thank you for the positive feed back about the photos and blog. I see you are carrying on with your photography. There are so many kinds of cameras on the market these days. It is just wonderful!

Titania said...

Hi Barbee; after quite a while I thought I hop over and ask how you are. You have a problem with unwanted plants called weeds. I have two and more which I never get rid of. Your weeds I do not know as they grow on a different continent, so we have many plants from the old country which have become weeds because they seed and grow so prolific in our warm climate. I hope all is well and you are enjoying the summer garden. Best wishes T.

Kerri said...

Hello dear Barbee. I was so happy to hear from you.
I hope your weather cools down to "pleasant" soon. We've had some glorious days lately, but yesterday was just too hot to garden so I went to visit a friend - something I don't take time to do often enough!
Each beautiful day is a gift so much appreciated as the summer comes to an end. It's a bittersweet time for me. I don't look forward to the cold months! But I do enjoy the beauty of the snow.
I admire your diligence in the garden in spite of your health problems. Gardening is the very best therapy, don't you agree?
I've been far too busy to blog much this summer so I know just what you mean...and yes, getting up early and needing a nap in the afternoon...but I almost never take one and then I'm too tired to stay awake at the computer at night :)
Our garden has been pure delight this summer, in spite of the neglected parts. The phlox have been especially beautiful. Someday soon I hope to do a "look back" post.
Sending a hug! xox

Heather said...

love your blog!

Amber Star said...

There were so many pictures of different plants I couldn't remember them in order. The vine looks like bind weed we have in our yard. It is a real pain in the rear.

I wouldn't have guessed the Cardimine. I thought it to be tulips.

Barbee' said...

Heather, thank you; that is very kind of you to say so.

Amber Star, what you thought to be tulips is tulips. The Cardimine is the tiny little plant with white flower near the tulip. I used that photo to show the size and give a sense of scale. The next photos show it near other kinds of plants, too. I'm wondering if it will come back next spring after this drought.

allenaim photography and design said...

haha...I never know any of these plant ID things, but I saw the first picture and that, "well that's a tulip!". Too bad you already knew that and were looking for the weed id next to it :) ...and I thought I was being clever....!

Barbee' said...

At least you knew the tulip. You'd be surprised how many people would not even know that. I have university students helping me, and when they start they don't even know tulips. They learn a lot while working here.

Lucy said...

Barbee, I think there will be so many of us who keep you in our minds and hope you are well and wonder how your garden's growing . . . how about doing just a tiny post for Christmas . . . a sort of mini up-date to tell us how you are and how the season was . . . just a very little, little . . . few words . . . ?


Balisha said...

I wsnted to stop by and wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. Thankyou for being a faithful reader and leaving your precious comments.Have a happy healthy new year too.
Balisha ((Christmas Hugs))

Skeeter said...

Popping in to wish you a Merry Christmas....

Carla said...

Happy Holidays!! Thanks for posting the bittercress. I have this and its a nice little surprise in the yard. Atleast its not trying to take over the world like the vines:)

Barbee' said...

Lucy, Balisha, Skeeter, and Carla: Thank you for all the well wishes, holiday greetings, and thoughts. We have been traveling for a few days, but are back home now in time for our family to come visiting. Phone calls and texted messages tell us they are now safely back to their own places in other states. We had a good Thanksgiving and Christmas, but are tired now in spite of good memories. It was really nice of you to stop by. I hope 2011 will be a very good year for each of you.

Vetsy said...

Happy New Year Barbee!

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Barbee' said...

Thank you, auto accident, nice of you to stop by. The tiny bitter cress will be blooming again soon. Our winter has been too warm this year. Plants are confused. And, so are some gardeners!