Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Have you seen this weed?

Yesterday I wrote about animal pests, and today, to demonstrate my great versatility, I've moved on to pests of the plant variety. I think I might have one of those, too. Not sure.

You see, I read Mike's post about his battle with the wicked Oxalis plant and began to worry that the delicate little yellow flowers scattered about my own backyard might be Oxalis, too. I'd never worried about them before--never given them much thought one way or the other, actually--but a seed of doubt had been planted in my fertile mind.

I commented on Mike's blog to thank him for alerting me to the potential for damage, and in response he gave me the additional information that Oxalis is sometimes known as Sour Grass and is actually kind of tasty.

So now I've put the worry on hold and have settled for the moment on confusion. I don't think Sour Grass is what I have. I remember chewing on Sour Grass dozens of times in both Missouri and Texas, and it was different from what I have here in Louisiana. What I knew as Sour Grass had clusters of three smooth-edged, heart-shaped leaves. The stuff I have now is similar in size and also has clusters of three leaves, but as the picture above shows, my current plant's leaves are pointy, with ragged edges. The flowers are a little different, too (aside from the fact that the one pictured was smooshed in my scanner), with narrower leaves than the Sour Grass I remember.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the berries. I don't know whether one plant makes the little yellow flowers and the berries, or whether there are two weeds, with similar leaves, vying for the same spot of ground. Everywhere the little yellow flowers were, though, there were also tiny, strawberry-looking thingies, each about the size of the nail on my pinky finger. I'm saying "were" because there are almost no flowers left and not one single berry, and I hadn't even noticed they were gone. The picture at left shows what it all looked like a couple of months ago.

I'll add, in case it provides a clue, that the plant that's in my yard grows very close to the ground. I suppose I could also give it the taste test, but I'll pass, if you don't mind. There are too many dogs in my backyard.

So what do you think, Mike? Does this look like your Oxalis? Any ideas, you gardeners out there?


  1. Crap. Now I have to go into the backyard and actually LOOK at the weeds closeup. I'll check it out tomorrow.

  2. My Sister Patsy has a birthday today. She reads your Blog daily. Give her a shout to let her know she is old today! : ) http://pattypenny.blogspot.com/

  3. Ok, I braved the jungle and examined the weeds in my backyard. The leaves on the Oxalis in my backyard are what you describe from Missouri and Texas. The leaves are clover-like and don't look at all like the ones in your picture.

    I don't know what you have, but I'm pretty sure it ain't Oxalis.

  4. Mike, I'm picturing you wearing a safari hat, coffee cup in one hand, magnifying glass in the other, as you trekked into the wilderness. I didn't realize I was asking a question that would require physical exertion, but I do apreciate your effort.

    Now that I know Oxalis/sour grass has such a bad rep, I'm glad I don't have it here. A little knowledge goes a long way, though, so I'll put the blinders on now and try not to find out any more about what's really growing in my yard.

  5. 4th Sister: Thanks for the tip about Patsy's birthday. Sorry I didn't get to it until I got home from work, but it looks like you did a good job of rallying her Internet friends.

  6. Thanks for the comment on my grandma's diary blog. These weeds look like wild strawberries to me. It's a common weed, but I don't think the fruit is particularly edible for us, but I bet rabbits like them. (My other blog is about Gardening!).


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