On Page 1 mention was made of various types of weeds, including some exceedingly noxious due to their impact your health. The first two weeds mentioned below are also noxious to your health, while the third can do damage to your trees.
Types of Weeds: Three Seemingly Innocuous Foes
Even the plant world has its scapegoats. The weed, goldenrod is commonly blamed for causing "hay fever." But goldenrod is merely a victim of circumstance: it just happens to bloom at the same time of year as the ragweeds (learn what ragweed looks like).
It is ragweed that is truly responsible for the discomfort allergy sufferers feel every fall. Yet relatively few people can identify these inconspicuous plants. In many cases, those allergic to common ragweed pass it every day in the autumn, without giving it a second thought. For more information on common ragweed, please see the following resource:
Common ragweed has a big brother, named "giant ragweed." Giant ragweed may appear to be a gentle giant, but it is no more innocuous than is its little brother, common ragweed. To help you with identification of both types, I have assembled closeup pictures of ragweed showing what its leaves and flowers look like. For more information on giant ragweed, please see the following resource:
There is not one, but three plants referred to as "bittersweet." Confusing, isn't it? Those who wish to grow a bittersweet in North America are best off growing American bittersweet, not out of a sense of patriotism, but because it is well-behaved in its native land. By contrast, Oriental bittersweet is invasive in North America. Avoid it at all costs. While colorful, it will climb into the tree tops and deprive specimen trees of adequate sunshine. Oh, and the third kind of bittersweet? That's a weed called "bittersweet nightshade," which produces toxic berries. For more information on all three "bittersweet" vines, please see the following resource:
Types of Weeds: Six Beneficial Weeds
"Beneficial" types of weeds can merit such a classification based on various criteria, including the following:
- Ability to attract wildlife
- Medicinal uses
- Use in low-maintenance landscaping
Of course, as with anything else where there are "good guys" and "bad guys," there won't be universal agreement on my nominations for beneficial weeds. For instance, I'm sure that there are folks who see no redeeming value whatsoever in creeping charlie.
9. Sumac Shrubs
Because it is native to North America, sumac shrubs are often taken for granted here. Worse yet, they are often disparaged for being invasive. But sumac shrubs' foliage is truly one of the joys of autumn, and their seeds are an emergency food source for wild birds in winter. For more information on sumac shrubs, please see the following resource:
10. Creeping Charlie
Massed together, creeping charlie's blossoms are more attractive than those of some ground covers sold commercially. The plant also has medicinal uses and, when crushed, is quite fragrant. For more information on creeping charlie, please see the following resource:
I continue my discussion of beneficial types of weeds on Page 3, beginning with a couple that are convenient ground covers. If you're currently trying to eradicate these "weeds," you may wish to ask yourself, Why?