Category Archives: Know your weeds

A South American invader on my allotment

5 July 2014

It is always good to recognise your weeds. In my garden the worst are dog violet, Viola riviniana, and annual dog’s mercury, Mercurialis annua. These are not much of a problem and easily uprooted. At the allotment, much worse are morning glory Calystegia sepium and couch grass Agropyron repens. Both need to be dug out.

But today I managed to identify another weed on my allotment which apparently got here from South America – Galinsoga parviflora. Its English name is ‘gallant soldier’, being a small hairless herb which is readily uprooted.

I had spotted this plant growing around my runner beans last summer and it had troubled me that it looked nothing like anything I was familiar with. I also found it near in my office car park at the other side of London, so it is apparently widespread.

2014-07-03 12.39.43
The flower of Galinsoga shows it is in the Compositae

Looking closely at the flower it is clearly a composite like a daisy, and knowing that it is not too difficult to find in a wild flower book. How it got here from South America would be an interesting story!