Plant ID?
February 2, 2017 10:39 PM   Subscribe

These seedlings are sprouting up all over my garden (in Sydney, Australia) and I'd like to know what they are before deciding to pull them all up. As you can see from the photo, they have tiny flowers/buds appearing all along the stem next to the leaves, which might help with identification.

There's some quite tall ones in places I'd like to have plants, so if they are something nice, I might leave them.

I can't see anything in the garden or neighbours' gardens that might be the parent for these, but we have a lot of fruitbats dropping poo all over, so they could have sprouted from something the fruitbats ate elsewhere. Also, until about a week ago, the neighbours had a row of tall trees along the fence where these are most prevalent, but they've cut them all down now, so I can't check what they were. You can see those trees in the background of this photo (behind the laptop) but I'm not sure that's going to help anyone identify what they are, let alone whether these seedlings might be their offspring.
posted by lollusc to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It could be a Cassia (Senna pendula var. glabrata), in which case it is a noxious (to the environment) weed and must be dealt with, eradication or control, depending on your location (see link).
posted by Thella at 11:24 PM on February 2, 2017

Can you take a photo of the underside of the centre pic. As the leaflets are alternate they can't be cassia (unless cassia has variants). Are there tiny spines where the leaflet is anchored to them stem?

It looks a little like Robina pseudoacacia but can't be as that has opposite leaflets.

At the moment I'm betting on an Acacia - but that only narrows it down to a thousand species. I suspect these will take over your yard as I've dealt with similar looking weeds here in NZ. Keep some as a hedge maybe else off with their heads - actually best to get some stout gloves (and a stout person!) and pull them out of the ground.
posted by unearthed at 12:00 AM on February 3, 2017

Here's the underside of the leaves. (Not sure how that helps?!)
posted by lollusc at 12:11 AM on February 3, 2017

These folk, Plant Identification Australia, will be able to tell you (facebook).
posted by Thella at 2:10 AM on February 3, 2017

The middle picture makes me think of Cotoneaster. They are a common ornamental around Sydney and do tend to self-seed. When mature they have small red berries.
posted by lexie yodel at 2:25 AM on February 3, 2017

The middle picture makes me think of Cotoneaster.

I was just about to say the same thing! It looks a lot like a wild cotoneaster (which is a particular kind of cotoneaster, not just any cotoneaster that's wild). The leaves and buds look right, anyway. I can't tell from the photos - are the leaves a lighter colour underneath?
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:31 AM on February 3, 2017

I have those all over the place too. We also have some really large ones down the street. They grow quite vicious looking thorns as they get bigger.

Someone told me they were wattle which fits with the acacia suggestions above.

They love growing between the gaps in my pavers. And they grow fast. I end up with a new batch to pull every weekend. So if you kill yours and regret it, let me know!
posted by kitten magic at 2:37 AM on February 3, 2017

Wattle does seem quite likely.

The leaves are lighter underneath, but the images I find online of wild cotoneaster look quite different. The leaves seem rounder than the ones on my seedling. There is a wattle a couple of houses away, so birds and bats eating the seeds might have spread them, I guess. I might leave a couple of the bigger ones a bit longer and see what happens.

posted by lollusc at 3:49 AM on February 3, 2017

I can't really see the detail in your shot of the nearby trees, but this also looks to me a lot like what would be called a locust tree in N. America. I'm still newish to Australia and don't know the flora as well as I'd like, so this is my uninformed guess. Locust is also referred to as robinia or false acacia. I don't think this is a wattle or cotoneaster, as the leaf shape seems wrong for those varieties. But the flower buds in your photo are what really throw me. I can't seem to find a like representation.
posted by amusebuche at 3:41 PM on February 3, 2017

This is Phyllanthus Niruri. You can tell by the tiny flowers under the stem. It's pretty much a weed in Sydney. Best to yank it before it takes over.
posted by embrangled at 5:32 PM on February 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Aw crap. Oh well.
posted by lollusc at 8:48 PM on February 3, 2017

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