Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wildflower or Weed?

Thanks for joining me on my continuing hunt to find out what grows wild in my yard and whether it's edible or useful (or a pest that causes of allergies, has prickers, etc.).  Today I want to look at two plants that Ty at the Texas Garden Web Forums helped me Identify. I was hoping they'd have some useful properties (other than looking kinda pretty) but can't find anything about them being edible or medicinal, and their seeds have been described as "annoying balls of velcro" that get  stuck in pet hair (joy.)   These is not a native...but European plants that found its way here and took over.


PLANT #1:  Torilis nodosa
(Knotted Hedge Parsley)

First, the one I THOUGHT might be carrots....

You see, year before last I left some seed packets out accidentally and they blew across my yard.  The next spring I had two carrots grow in a corner I hadn't planted them.  Then after a fire in my backyard hundreds of what seemed to be the same carrot plant sprouted up where the fire had burned.  Here's a picture of some:

What I Thought Were Carrots

I was all excited.  But alas, I think I got excited too soon.

Because here's what my full grown carrots look like (and several more of these did pop up, which is cool):


Actual Carrot Leaves

But this is what the hundreds of little plants grew into...



Torilis nodosa (Leaf Pattern)

As you can tell, it looks very different than the carrot.  While it started with the same sort of lacy rosette of leaves the carrot has, the stem soon split apart into branches and the leaves stayed the same size.  It has flowers that grow on the stem near the leaf nodes, not up at the top like Yarrow or Queen-Anne's-Lace.   The root smells sort of carrot-like.  I can tell you already it's invasive.  Man, I wish these had been carrots!



Plant #2:  Probably Torilis arvensis
(Spreading hedge parsley)

  It's root's also smell carroty, and it has similar leaves, but the flower grows at the top, more like like Yarrow or Queen-Anne's-Lace.  Actually, it VERY much like Queen-Anne's-Lace except the top flowers are smaller and lack the leaves right under the base of the flower shown in this illustration.

 Plant #2


Plant #2 (Blooms)


I am pretty sure this is Torilis arvensis (Spreading Hedge Parsley).   It's root's also smell carroty, and it has similar leaves, but the flower grows at the top, more like like Yarrow or Queen-Anne's-Lace.  Actually, it VERY much like Queen-Anne's-Lace except the top flowers are smaller and lack the leaves right under the base of the flower shown in this Queen-Anne's-Lace illustration.  As it's name suggests, it's invasive too.

Oh well.  Time to get the weed whacker out again!






3 comments:

  1. It's always good when we figure out what plants are what. Too bad those are not so desirable. Thanks for your comment on my WW post. Yes, I'm liking the blue eyed grass.

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  2. How frustrating for you but instructive for us! I was so sure that after a fire all natives would sprout! gail

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  3. Well, they're all pulled out now. Whew!

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