Is it a Weed?


 A species of Datura (jimsonweed), a highly invasive alien, outcompeting almost everything on a long swath of riverbank

Back when I was a Master Gardener, there were some frequently asked questions that would drive me crazy.  One was “how do I get rid of moss in my lawn?”  My (secret) answer was “why would you want to? get rid of the lawn, instead”.  But of course I couldn’t say that.

20140614-DSC_0181nodding star-of-Bethlehem

 left, Deptford pink (Dianthus armeria), and right, nodding star of Bethlehem (Ornithogallum nutans), escaped garden ornamentals; I see more of them every year

Another annoying question was “is this a weed or a plant?”  That’s a little tricky to answer because, well, of course it’s a plant, but whether or not it’s a weed is in the eye of the beholder.  It’s a value judgement.  It’s a little like saying you don’t want to eat something because it’s full of chemicals.  Well, of course it’s full of chemicals. Show me a substance that isn’t.

20141006-DSC_0104Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), a highly aggressive native climber that I’m allowing to grow in one section of garden; it’s not a weed to me!



Anyway, as I was struggling my way through a dichotomous key, it occurred to me to try to create one as a learning exercise.  It became a joke.  I’m quite pleased how many “shares” it’s gotten after posting it to a certain facebook group page…  Hope you get a chuckle out of it.

Scan 1

lesser celandinelesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria), on the state noxious weed list in 46 states

3 thoughts on “Is it a Weed?

  1. Pingback: What’s Green Now? Dwarf Cinquefoil | Elizabeth's Wildflower Blog

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