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Unknown Weed

O internet brain trust, you found me the caterpillar in record time! Can you do the same with a weed?

There's a lot of it, anyhow...

Never seen this one in the yard before, but it popped up everywhere after I mulched a large bed in the backyard, leading me to believe that the seeds may have come in on the mulch (although it’s a low and unobtrusive thing, so it may just have gotten lost in the crabgrass and I only noticed it because it was the first thing to show up in the mulch.) I haven’t caught it flowering. It’s not smothering anything, it pulls easily enough, but it is entirely too vigorous, and I suspect it on principle.

It is found only in the shaded areas of the yard and does not venture into sun. My attempts to locate it in lawn weed ID systems fail utterly. The leaves are really genuinely lance-shaped, with the little flare to keep it from going all the way through your enemy’s torso and everything, but I don’t know if that falls under the “lance-shaped” leaf category, so…y’know.

Advice on whether this is a delightful native that honors me with its presence, a scourge that I shall curse from the bottom of my heart, or whether I must now nuke my garden from orbit would be grateful appreciated!

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.

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It's sheep's sorrel - Rumex acetosella - and no, it is not native. If presented with the right conditions, it can be pretty invasive, and while it's fairly easy to pull, the roots like to break off in the soil and regrow. Best to get rid of it before it gets well established.

That's red sorrel, all right. I didn't know you could get it over in America, though- it's a local lad.

It emigrated pretty early, like dandelions and clover. Nowadays you get it in various different environments: I usually see it in rocky ground, but NC must have different conditions. So while it's a non-native invasive, it's a well established one, and not as invasive as Kudzu, Knotweed, or Screaming Buttweed.

Also, Ms. UrsulaV? Please note that sorrel likes - and is often an indicator of - acidic soils. Which wood mulch, if I recall correctly, will make MORE acidic. So you might want to add lime and/or ashes to anything you're mulching.
Or, yeah, you could just test the pH.

Hey, I've been seeing more and more bees that the internet informs me are an Australian solitary carpenter bee. Their abdomen is powder blue with black bars and is a little longer and slimmer than a honey bee's fat gold and black butt.

The Australians fly more quickly and erratically than a honey bee and seem more bendy. Apparently they do pollinate, which is good, but I like the honey bees and don't want to see them go. Just because they aren't hiving and producing on my property is no reason not to want them around.

I'm in southern California, by the way. It started with staring at the mint one day last year and saying, "Hey, that bee's BLUE!" But only seeing a couple. This summer there are several and they've found the apple mint too. The honey bees don't seem to mind them, they share nicely, but still, it's disconcerting.

Given that honeybees are declining and are introduced anyway, it' just as well replacements are showing up.

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I used to pick it and suck on the stems when I was a little kid, even before I knew what it was or that it was safe to eat. One of our neighbor's yards was just full of the stuff.

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chalk one more up for the internet brain.

Sorrel is a good salad leaf. Like dandelion, and young nettles, and ground elder (thanks to the Romans who introduced that last one to Britain).

Interesting to learn it's a sorrel ... it liked our backyard (which is on the north side of a 2 story building and mostly shaded) until we killed it VERY VERY DEAD because my boyfriend sort of hated everything on principle after the dandelions and clover (which I didn't mind) drove him batty.

We're up in Oregon...

The plants that are high in oxalic acid, such as sorrel, are usually safer to eat in the spring. By fall, they've stockpiled a lot of acid.

I'll look it up in one of my herbal guides when I get up, though (although I'm sick right now and I might not remember), to see what they say about when it's safe to eat sorrel, and when it's not.

Sorrel! Tasty stuff-- when I lived in Germany there was a ruined abbey with it growing wild throughout what had once been a garden near the kitchens, just tons of the stuff; I've always thought it was an escape from the old nuns' veggie-garden. Just as a couple of the above comments say, it's best in the spring; I wouldn't rip it totally out, I'd transplant it and grow it as a spring salad-herb-- it's tasty as anything. According to my much-beloved copy of Roger Phillips' Wild Food, it was frequently made into a sauce for cold meats and cooks into a decent soup.

That's a very tasty salad green as far as I know. Nice to learn it's name, I just know it as 'that stuff mom points to and tells me to put in the basket'.

Dammit for a change I know something and I don't get to the blog untill 9 hours later :(

Anyway, you can eat sorrel. It's good in salads and things. Sort of a tart citric taste.

A little Off-Topic, but...

You like Steampunk, right?

Did you know that there's a guy working to build Babbage's Analytical Machine?
Copper and brass fittings and all. Even Steam-powered...


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