The Velcro Plant, A Sticky Situation

As I begin to divide and conquer the mowing of my overgrown backyard, I’ve had ample opportunity to look at the variety of unknown plants that have cropped up all over. Are they friends or foe? Will they be banes of my existence or acceptable groundcover? Should I let them duke it out with some of the other plants I know I don’t want there, like Bermuda, just to find a more acceptable alternative to the turf grass I long to have disappear?

Some plants I suspect will soon become officially part of the “Banes of My Existence” list, along with Bermuda and Nutsedge. One is the Velcro Plant. It goes by other names, many equally appropriate for the incredible ability of the plant to stick to everything — Catchweed Bedstraw, Stickywilly, etc.

velcroa02-28-10.jpgI want to admire this plant, I really do. It’s not unattractive, and evolutionally speaking it is a master of distribution, with all those little hooks that allow it to attach to anything and everything that attempts to move past it. It’s even managed to become a plant that can outdo the oak sprouts under the oak trees. But it’s clear that it’s found a new home in my yard that it finds most acceptable. So I’ll enjoy my admiration for a few moments, and then go pluck it out wherever I can.

velcrob02-28-10.jpgAnd what do I do about the wild onion that has also found a home it likes — the edge of the wooded areas in the back? It’s actually quite pretty, and we enjoy the onion smell that spreads through the air when we run through it or mow it.

wildonion02-28-10.jpgBut it’s spreading rapidly, too. Do I let it? I think occasionally it makes my dogs sick, so perhaps that’s reason enough to try to keep it cut down.

henbit02-28-10.jpgHenbit is everywhere. This is a plant I really don’t find that attractive.

And these other little tiny flowers, all very adorable, are still ones I admire with caution. I don’t know what they are. I just think they’re pretty. Probably they are counting on that, and as they get a little bigger and sneak some seeds past me, they know that they’ll have an in on spreading through my yard. If anyone knows the actual names for these plants, please let me know.

***This next one I think is a Ten-Petal Anemone, Anemone berlandieri, native to the Edwards Plateau. I think it’s a keeper, although it’s toxic. Everything else in my yard seems to be, too.

weedflowerc02-28-10.jpgI’m not crazy about mowing. It’s one reason why I hope to someday fill in my yard with enough “stuff” that I won’t have to mow anymore. But obviously I’ll be dealing with transitional stages for awhile. I do have to say that I love my electric mower, even though the cord can be a pain. Maybe someday I’ll get to progress to a simple old-fashioned reel mower, once the area I have to deal with is smaller.

And it’s nice to be back working on the yard and garden. Spring approaches. 🙂

7 thoughts on “The Velcro Plant, A Sticky Situation

  1. The first picture of the unknowns–the pretty little white flower. I have it in huge drifts in my back yard. It smothers out everything in it’s path. I am going to try corn glutin this coming fall and see if that will discourage it. That and Henbit, are what I am battling most right now.

  2. I have another little white flower I forgot to take a picture of, but I just saw it outside while I finished mowing. I just hope one of these little pretty blooms isn’t really a naughty pest in disguise.

  3. The last one might be a variety of Windflower, an Anemone, but I can’t match both the leaf and the flower to any particular one.

  4. Thanks for the tip, Richard. I’m going to go with Anemone berlandieri, or Ten-Petal Anemone. It’s actually native to the Edwards Plateau. And oh look, all parts toxic! But that’s ok. It can stay. 🙂

  5. I’m not familiar with any of the plants you’ve mentioned in this post, but enjoyed reading about them all. The one with the tiny white flowers and dark green leaves almost looks tropical to me. But then again, everything south of the Mason-Dixon Line is tropical to me:)

  6. Came across your blog searching for info on eve’s necklace seeds. My surf led me to this post. Just wanted to point out a few interesting things. Almost all the plants you mentioned are edible. Henbit is really quite tasty, I use the flowers and leaves sprinkles on my salads or as a garnish. Velcro plant or Cleavers, is also high in wild scape nutrients like vitamin c. It doesn’t taste to bad if you can get over the fuzzy texture. I blend it in smoothies. I have also read that you can roast the little buds it gets to produce something like coffee with a substantial amount of caffeine. The wild onion is also edible, use it as you would green oinions or chives. And the last mystery plant? Looks like a sedum to me. Great blog by the by!

  7. Ambrosia, thanks for all the info! I’m a big fan of smoothies made with nutrient-rich greens. I’ll definitely look into these edible options!

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