Plant ID forum: What is this plant?

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Name: Lucy Siegel
Provincetown, MA (Zone 7a)
Lucy7550
May 6, 2018 10:02 PM CST
I just bought a house on Cape Cod this winter and have a mystery plant coming up that I'd love to identify. I've attached a photo. It's obviously a perennial. The plants are appearing in multiple places around the garden, in both sunny and very shady places. The first one to pop up appeared a couple of weeks ago (mid-April) and it is already about 2 feet tall. The soil here is mostly sand, by the way.

I'd really appreciate help in identifying it!
Thumb of 2018-05-07/visitor/97b064


Thumb of 2018-05-07/Lucy7550/0e2db0

Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
May 7, 2018 8:22 AM CST
Compare to:
Virginia Knotweed (Persicaria virginiana)
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The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
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Name: Lucy Siegel
Provincetown, MA (Zone 7a)
Lucy7550
May 7, 2018 11:52 AM CST
Purpleinopp, thank you very much for answering my question. I thank you because even though your identification was incorrect, it was close. It led me along the right path and enabled me to find the correct answer. Very unfortunately, the plant is Japanese Knotweed, an invasive species that is evidently very hard to get rid of due to its thick web of roots - rhizomes. A speck of the root that breaks off is likely to start another plant. Now I have to deal with getting rid of this. I believe this came into my yard because if work that was done to install a new septic leach field. This required that an excavation company come in and dredge out 3/4 of my small yard, and because there was no place to put the soil, they took it offsite and then when the work is done they brought it back. It seems likely that some pieces of the root got mixed into my soil.
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

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plantladylin
May 7, 2018 12:18 PM CST
Yes, Japanese Knotweed (Reynoutria japonica) is apparently an invasive, plant in many areas.

https://www.massaudubon.org/le...
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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purpleinopp
May 7, 2018 1:15 PM CST
Happy to suggest but so sorry to hear about what happened.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Salt Spring Island, BC (Zone 8b)
Dahlias Region: Pacific Northwest Cut Flowers Keeper of Poultry Region: Canadian Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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islander
May 7, 2018 5:47 PM CST
I agree
He who plants a garden plants happiness.
Name: Lucy Siegel
Provincetown, MA (Zone 7a)
Lucy7550
May 7, 2018 6:10 PM CST
I learned a lot once I realized what the plant was. I confirmed my identification by taking a piece of it to a local garden center. For anyone reading this, a couple of the key things I found out are that the plant's root system can go down several feet and spreads horizontally. It's very tough and can grown in sun or shade and the poorest soil. It can get into cracks in foundations of buildings and ruin the foundation. It can easily destroy a driveway. In the UK, people who have this stuff on their property can be denied a mortgage and are likely to have trouble selling the property. Here are a few ways to get rid of it: 1) dig it out (but very thoroughly because tiny pieces of the rhizome will regenerate the plant, and can lay dormant for 20 years and then spring up again. 2) cover it tightly with black plastic and let the plastic cook it in the sun until it dies. 3) Inject the stalks with pesticide. 4) spray the plant with pesticide. Both 3 and 4 are not one-time operations, and may take several years. After consulting with the garden center, I decided on a combination of 3 and 4.
Salt Spring Island, BC (Zone 8b)
Dahlias Region: Pacific Northwest Cut Flowers Keeper of Poultry Region: Canadian Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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islander
May 7, 2018 6:25 PM CST
We have a herd of local goats that are commissioned to clear properties of this plant:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/...
They also go after the roots.
He who plants a garden plants happiness.
Name: Lucy Siegel
Provincetown, MA (Zone 7a)
Lucy7550
May 7, 2018 6:31 PM CST
I forgot about the goats - I read that people rent out their goats for this purpose!

I also forgot another viable solution, to bring in a particular insect that eats the plant. I forget it's name. Evidently researchers have not found any problems to other species by going the insect route.

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