What Is A Weed?
Weed is a plant or animal that grows wild and uncontrolled in a certain area. The word “weed” comes from the Old English word wyrcan which means “to grow wild”. Weeds are usually considered undesirable because they may cause damage to crops, gardens, fences, roads and other structures. They may even kill livestock if not controlled properly.
The term “weedeater” was used in the early 1900’s to refer to someone who grew weeds. Today, we use the term “weed eater” instead.
Types Of Weeds In Garden
There are several kinds of weeds in your garden. There are some common ones that you will encounter most often and others that you might only see occasionally or never at all.
Cottony cushion (Phytolacca americana) – Cottony cushions are small, round, white flowers that appear in spring and summer. These plants produce large clusters of seeds that fall to the ground after blooming. When these seeds germinate, they form tiny white clumps called cotyledons.
Cotyledons provide the basis for many different plant species. They include leaves, stems, flowers and fruit. The cotyledon is the first stage in a plant’s life. When young, it emerges from the ground and grows into a mature plant.
Jack-by-the-hedge (Menyanthes trifoliata) – The jack-by-the-hedge is native to North America. It has greenish-white flowers and black fruits. It is also known as the Bog Bean or the Bog Cranberry.
The jack-by-the-hedge is a perennial plant. After it has been pollinated it produces black, berry-like fruits during late summer. The fruits are eaten and enjoyed by many different kinds of birds. The jack-by-the-hedge blooms from May until September.
Quackgrass (Elymus repens) – The quackgrass is a type of small, green grass that grows in bunches. It is native to North America and can be found in many different types of soil. It usually grows in moist or wet areas such as river banks and lake shores.
It can also survive in dry conditions for extended periods of time. The quackgrass is often found near roads, paths and walkways. It is usually very troublesome to gardeners because it quickly spreads into nearby vegetable patches.
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) – The foxglove is a biennial or perennial plant that has been grown for medical use for hundreds of years. It can be found in most regions of the United States. A common folk name for this plant is dead man’s bells.
The flowers are light purple or white and are 2 to 3 inches in length. The main attraction of this plant is the unusual shape of its flowers. These flowers are usually 2-lipped and have color patterns that resemble a human hand.
Bindweeds (Convolvulus arvensis) – The bindweed is native to North America. It spreads quickly and can take over large areas of land. The plant grows around two feet every year and can achieve a width of up to 6 feet.
It can easily be recognized by the pink or white flowers that grow directly from the leaf axils. The bindweed is sometimes called the morning glory. It prefers moist, fertile soil and can be found in fields, gardens and along riverbanks.
Dandelion (Taraxacum) – The dandelion is a common herb that is often used as a salad green. It is native to Eurasia but has been widely naturalized in North America. This plant grows best in meadows, pastures and other areas with well-drained soil.
It usually has a yellow flower and a bright yellow taproot. The dandelion forms large fields of plants that spread by their roots and the dispersal of their seeds.
Plantain (Plantago major) – The plantain is a weed that can be found all over the world. Its scientific name indicates this, as it means ‘wide legs’ in Latin. The plant commonly grows in fields and particularly like those with heavy soil.
It can be recognized by its relatively small, dark green leaves that have a thick stalk. The plantain often flowers in early summer and these flowers are typically connected to the leaf stalk.
Sources & references used in this article:
Method of providing gardening/agricultural information by JK Kelly, PS Edmondson – US Patent 7,162,438, 2007 – Google Patents
Garden weed barrier and watering system by J Milliken – US Patent App. 10/541,294, 2006 – Google Patents
Human–nature relations in suburban gardens by ER Power – Australian geographer, 2005 – Taylor & Francis
Community gardens as contexts for science, stewardship, and civic action learning by ME Krasny, KG Tidball – Urban horticulture: ecology, landscape …, 2017 – books.google.com