6 ft.+ weed with long smooth leaves and a thick purple stem

Discussion in 'Plant ID' started by CrisGzr, May 31, 2012.

  1. CrisGzr

    CrisGzr In Flower

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    I took five pictures you can view here:
    http://relocategarden.wordpress.com/201 ... -big-weed/

    This behemoth is growing in front of my compost pile, it is huge! I like it, but one day my husband will walk by with his weed-wacker and it's all over. I'd like to know what it is and if it has any uses other than reminding me of Jack and the beanstalk!

    It has smooth leaves that grow straight off the stem and are about a foot long. The backs are smooth and the top leaves have a purple stripe running down the middle on top. No thorns, no fuzz, no flowers. The top looks like a big clump of new leaves.

    Thanks for any suggestions, I've been googling for days! :stew1:
     



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  2. Palustris

    Palustris In Flower

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    Giant Hog-weed?
     
  3. Netty

    Netty Chaotic Gardener Plants Contributor

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    I've seen these in my gardens and have yet to ID it. I DO know it is NOT Giant Hogweed.
     
  4. CrisGzr

    CrisGzr In Flower

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    Hi Palustris,

    Giant Hogweed was my first thought. It made me uneasy. We saw the episode of Rosemary and Thyme, which featured the dreaded Giant Hogweed. That plant certainly stayed in my mind after that, so it was my first suspect! I looked up Giant Hogweed online and saw the notice to call my state authorities immediately! But, after reading the descriptions, I see it varies, in the following ways, which may help ID it:

    1. "spotted leaf stalks that are hollow and produce sturdy bristles"
    -it's leaves actually have no leave stalks, spotted or otherwise.
    2. "The stem shows a purplish-red pigmentation with raised nodules."
    -it's stem is smooth, no raised nodule.
    3. "Each purple spot on the stem surrounds a hair"
    -no hairs anywhere
    4. "there are large, coarse white hairs at the base of the leaf stalk"
    -no hairs or any leaf stalks

    I then tried to search based on taxonomy:
    Sessile leaves with the blade attaching directly to the stem
    Pinnatisect leaf with deep opposite lobing
    Pinnate viens secondary veins paired oppositely

    So, from what I have read, (please correct me if I am wrong!) this plant is: sessile, pinnatisect and pinnate

    Hi Netty,

    I love a mystery but I am becoming obsessed! I'd hate to spend much more time on this plant. I am very happy it is not hogweed!

    -cris
     
  5. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    At first I thought it might be a tree sapling but I can't come up with any fast-growing trees that look like that when young. Sorry.
     
  6. CrisGzr

    CrisGzr In Flower

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    Droopy, I wondered the same thing at first but it grew too fast. I remember in the spring there were several weeds I was pulling but this one was a bit more advanced and off to the side, so I let it grow to satisfy my curiosity. Something about it peeked my curiosity but I can't remember!
     
  7. Palustris

    Palustris In Flower

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    At least you do not have to worry about rashes from the plant then.
    Has it ever flowered?
     
  8. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Cris, Does this plant have white milky sap when you break the stem? It really looks like a prickly lettuce to me. Nothing dangerous. Is the stem rather brittle and/or herbaceous? the leave very easily damaged/thin/fragile?
     
  9. mart

    mart Young Pine

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    Looks like giant dandelion or at least thats what I call it. We have it here that gets that tall as well. Or at least its in that family. We have three different types and this is the largest.
     
  10. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    It does look like one of these and from what I have read are often mistaken for really big Dandelions.
    Lactuca canadensis (Canada Wild Lettuce) , Lactuca virosa(Wild Lettuce) or Lactuca serriola (Prickley Lettuce)

    But from what I have read don't go pick any for a dinner salad until you find out exactly which one. When the word psychotropic shows up in the plant description it is something to be wary of ;)
     
  11. CrisGzr

    CrisGzr In Flower

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    Palustris, I was very relieved not worry about it!

    Carolyn, wikipedia says prickly lettuce:
    "The leaves are oblong lanceolate, often pinnated (especially for the lower leaves), waxy grey green. Fine spines are along the edges. The undersides have whitish veins."
    There are no spines or hairs anywhere on it.

    Mart, I never heard of a giant dandelion, but I think it reminded me of one when it first appeared.

    My husband reminds me that I had a weird tree that grew really fast from bird seed at our last house. The 'giant weed' is growing where I had bird feeders. I wonder if perhaps it is a dandelion from a place with harsh conditions and my super rich soil and rain run off from the compost heap is like steroids?

    I am off to google Giant Dandelions.

    Thanks everyone! I will be so happy to solve this!
     
  12. mart

    mart Young Pine

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    That is what the weed I am talking about does,, grows like a dandelion on steriods. Ours has prickley leaves that are identical to the dandelion leaf. I think its in that family but not the edible dandelion that we know. Mine has not come up this year but for the last three years it has been by our barn. Good thing is it doesn`t seem to be invasive because thats the only one we had that tall. Had others about a foot or more and the edible kind that grow close to the ground but no more giants.
     
  13. CrisGzr

    CrisGzr In Flower

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    Mart, it's crazy! I am waiting for it to bloom, to see if that helps ID it. Mine doesn't have prickly leaves, almost wish it did!

    I think I found another smaller one (2 feet) growing behind the shed today will post a picture! Its leaves really change as it gets gargantulon!
     
  14. CrisGzr

    CrisGzr In Flower

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    New Mini Monster

    I found this today behind the shed. It's only about 2 feet tall and growing in full sun, unlike it's older larger friend, who is growing in mostly shade! The amount of sun really has an impact! I wonder if the taller one is putting it's energy into height trying to get to sunlight? I will keep an eye on this one too, to see how it grows. I really want to see a flower!

    [​IMG]
    ( photo / image / picture from CrisGzr's Garden )
     
  15. davidmiller23

    davidmiller23 New Seed

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    That's giant weed plant.