Q: This weed has come up in my flower pots and I would like to know what it is. Can you identify it for me?

A: It is very difficult to identify weeds especially when the flowers are not present so I enlisted the help of some experts from the University of Florida. The herbarium recognized some of the distinguishing characteristics then identified it as Fireweed or American Burnweed, Erechtites hieracifolia. The good news is this summer weed is an annual which means it can only reproduce by seed. The bad news is annuals know they can only reproduce one way so they make the most of it by generating hundreds and sometimes even thousands of seeds. The white tuffs at the top of the stem are the seeds. The white, fluffy portion of the seed makes it easy to for the seeds to be picked up by the wind and transferred to other areas where they can be spread. This weed grows from two feet to over 6 feet tall and prefers to grow in full sun.

Fireweed got its name because it is one of the first weeds to show up after a fire or disturbed areas. My advice is to pull the weed out of the flower pot before the seeds fully mature. Be careful to avoid pulling out the plants you want to keep. If you feel you cannot remove the weed safely without destroying your plant, simply cut the weed close to the soil. This weed is so common, it can be found throughout most of the United States.

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Posted: July 16, 2017


Category: Home Landscapes
Tags: Erechtites Hieracifolia, Fireweed Or American Burnweed, Weed


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