Name That Weed!

Yep, it’s that time of year again. A number of misplaced, unloved, volunteer plants are growing on the farm like…well…weeds. We’ve hired a couple of local high school students to “walk beans” with me, and as we walk the rows with our hoes in hand, I try to teach them the names of the plants we’re systematically killing. Here is a handful of the most common weeds on our farm:

Velvet weeds are my aunt Mo’s favorite weed because, she says, “You always get the whole root when you pull it.” They’re kind of heart-shaped, and when they get big a fine little velvety fuzz covers them.
velvet weed

Ironweed is the local name for giant ragweed. I am so allergic to it that when it scratches my skin, I get huge welts. (The leaves have five fingers, so sometimes uninformed folks trying to start trouble think that it’s marijuana. As far as I know, this plant will not get you high. It may give you congestion, the sneezes, and itchy eyes, though.)

You probably all know the pretty spring dandelion – they’re not pretty any more. Bah, humbug.

lamb's quarters

The leaves of lamb’s quarters (left) have white undersides – presumably like a lamb’s haunches. They are tough to pull out!


What we call pigweed (right), is actually an amaranth plant. They’re often nearly the same color as the bean leaves, which makes them hard to spot.


This grass (left) probably has a special name, but I just call it “that dang grass!” It seems to have a special talent for growing right in next to the stem of a bean or corn plant, so we have to reach down and pull it by hand instead of getting it with the hoe.


The pale, bright green of these sedges (right) is a lovely color in the spring. They tend to grow in the wet areas, especially around the drip irrigation section in the vegetable test plot.

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