Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Scariest Weed I Ever Did See

It's a warm, dry weekend, so I've started cleaning up some of the garden beds. Winter weeds are appearing. I try to get them before they go to seed, and I'm making progress on reducing their numbers. But this year they are blooming early! I don't think I'll get through the garden before they start setting seeds.

This is the most prevalent winter weed.

I learned its name once, but I've long since forgotten. I just call it The Spitter, because it spits its seeds several feet away when disturbed. I have to wear safety glasses if I don't pull it up before it sets seed. Fortunately it hoes up easily.  (Update:  this is hairy bittercress. I knew I'd remember the name eventually.)

Here's another one:

I don't know what it is, but those pretty blue flowers are its best defense. How can I destroy something so pretty?

This afternoon I was clearing leaves out of the path in the upper garden. I brushed aside some leaves, and saw The Scariest Weed I Ever Did See. Seriously. This is an attack weed of the most vicious kind.

Here is probably a good place for a confession: I'm an herbiphobe. (OK, not the proper term: I made it up. But it fits) That's right. I'm scared of plants. Not all plants, just the scary ones. Mom blames it on me watching Little Shop of Horrors as a kid. She might not be wrong.

But hey, if you saw this in your path, wouldn't you be scared, too?

Yes, those are big, scary thorns. On the leaves. Here's a closeup of those thorns:

Those suckers are sharp, too!

Now, the old me would have dropped everything and run far away. But Garden Therapy has been good for me, and I'm learning to face my fears. I pulled on some heavy-duty gloves and grabbed my trowel. I would beat this thing. Out it came.

Uh-oh, this thing has a tap root. And it broke off. Time to go digging further. I don't want it to regrow.


I don't know what it was, but I hope I never see it again. STAY AWAY, killer weed!

Update:  I'm told the scary weed is a thistle.  It helps to have a name.


  1. Weeds own my landscape. Completely. I am defenseless. I pull, they regrow. I drag those roots as far as I can but they eventually break. The more I attack, the more the weeds seem to multiply.

  2. The 'spitter' evil weed is bittercress. I have it, too. It is double trouble - it comes out to eject its seeds not only in spring, but also in fall. Good luck. I feel your pain.