What is this weed?
July 19, 2008 6:44 PM   Subscribe

What is this weed in my garden?

I'm located in zone 7b in the Pacific Northwest. Here are a couple of pictures of the plant in question. I've gone through a bunch of weed identification sites and can't seem to find what the plant is. I'm wondering if it's a volunteer veg and/or edible weed since it came up in droves in my garden. I pulled a particularly nice looking bunch of it today and wondered if I was composting something that I should have been saving.
posted by maniactown to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
It looks kind of like plantain, not sure what type. It also looks kind of like some spinaches but those would be hard to get as volunteer seeds unless you had let it go to seed in previous years.
posted by glip at 7:03 PM on July 19, 2008

Does it smell a lot like basil, by any chance?
posted by purpleclover at 7:11 PM on July 19, 2008

It looks awfully tall and stalky to be a plaintain.
posted by CKmtl at 7:53 PM on July 19, 2008

Looks like mâche, oka lamb's lettuce or corn salad, to me.
posted by jet_silver at 7:57 PM on July 19, 2008

It might be helpful if you posted where you live. When I lived in the mid-West, we had "county extension" offices we could call/visit for things like this. You may call your county offices to see if such a thing exists where you are.
posted by 6:1 at 8:28 PM on July 19, 2008

Didn't mean to sound snarky, just that the vegetation may vary up in the Pacific Northwest. Good luck!
posted by 6:1 at 8:29 PM on July 19, 2008

Thanks for the answers, folks.

It's not basil, nor does it seem to have any kind of "herbal" smell or taste (the leaves are a little bitter, but without any particular taste). I don't think it's plantain or mâche.

I took a walk this afternoon and couldn't find any growing wildly. Also, it has a slightly pink/reddish root where it comes out of the soil.

@6:1 We do have a world-class extension service here in Oregon's Willamette Valley where my garden is located. I'll check with them if I can't get a definitive answer here or online somewhere.

Thanks again everyone for your help!
posted by maniactown at 8:58 PM on July 19, 2008

It almost looks like a tomatillo, which would explain it growing all over.
posted by Brian B. at 9:08 PM on July 19, 2008

Looks a lot like houndstongue (enlarge the picture on the right).
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:10 AM on July 20, 2008


posted by Jennifer S. at 7:16 AM on July 20, 2008

That certainly looks like spinach, which would be bitter this time of year (at least in the Midwest). I agree it's probably not mâche, which for me grows in a tight rosette.
posted by PatoPata at 7:35 AM on July 20, 2008

It looks like Pokeweed to me.

From working at a nature sanctuary i seem to recall that spending too much time touching those plants with bare skin wasn't a great idea, but i can't remember why.
posted by entropone at 9:07 AM on July 20, 2008

It looks to me like redroot pigweed, a kind of amaranth. I'm up in Seattle, and our pigweed is similarly lush.
posted by sculpin at 10:04 AM on July 20, 2008

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