Plant ID forum: Beneficial weed or junk?

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Northeastern Illinois (Zone 5b)
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Murky
Jun 25, 2017 2:19 PM CST
There's about a 30' x 10' area behind my garage that the previous owners apparently tried to keep things from growing there by laying down plywood, old formica covered shelves, some cinder blocks, bricks, broken stones, any old junk, and it was an epic fail in that regard... it's basically a jungle back there. Last summer I pretty much just pulled out what I could in the fall and cut back the rest, but this summer I have more time to do something, as long as it doesn't involve daily weeding. I was going to just plant mostly milkweed for butterflies there (there's actually some coming up now), but before I yank out this one weed (I'm assuming it's a weed at least), thought I should try and find out if it's not something birds or pollinators like. There's one poisonous pokeberry back there that cedar waxwings love for instance, so it stays.

Right now it's about 6"-15" tall, and growing pretty thick between bricks and cinder blocks, I'd even say it looks kind of nice (compared to the typical weeds I've removed at least Hilarious! ). I have no idea from last year if it will flower or not, I haven't had any luck finding out what it is yet. The leaves seem to be a bit hairy, you can see some of it in the photos hopefully. This is near the Chicago area.

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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jun 25, 2017 6:30 PM CST
american burnweed.
American Burnweed (Erechtites hieraciifolia)
I reckon its sorta beneficial, if you pull it just before it blooms, and add it to the compost.
I can't really think of anything that is attracted to it, and I've never noticed caterpillars on it, but an interesting idea, to pay it a little closer attention.
[Last edited by stone - Jun 25, 2017 6:35 PM (+)]
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Northeastern Illinois (Zone 5b)
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Murky
Jun 25, 2017 6:48 PM CST
Thanks for the ID. I found this info at this site:

IMPORTANCE AND USES: Primarily wasps visit the flowers for nectar, including Paper wasps, Hornets, Eumenine wasps, and Spider wasps.

As I have enough problems with wasps, this will get pulled tonight since trash gets picked up tomorrow. Hilarious!

Thanks for the help.
[Last edited by Murky - Jun 25, 2017 6:48 PM (+)]
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
stone
Jun 25, 2017 7:47 PM CST
Wasps are valuable pollinators, and they prey on the caterpillars and other soft body critters that eat our plants. Don't be in a hurry to dismiss valuable garden help.
Why would you give the plants to the trash man?
I use these as nutrient accumulators.
You know what they say about pulling vegetation and hauling it to the curb?
Strip mining the garden.
Northeastern Illinois (Zone 5b)
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Murky
Jun 25, 2017 8:31 PM CST
Normally I prefer to take the natural route, but I even got stung in the face last summer because they built a hive in a crevice in the trash containers. This spring when I opened my bedroom windows, there was a steady stream of wasps coming and going from 2 holes in the window frame and I had a heck of a time getting them to stay out of there. I have no idea how deep they went, but they stay out now.

Plus I'm doing my part in that spot by leaving other weeds for birds and planting 4 types of milkweed for monarchs, so I don't feel bad ripping out the wasp attractions.

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