Noxious and Invasive Foreigner

Mulberry weed, Fatoua villosa, is the worst weed-foe that I have ever encountered. It is a survivor.

Mulberry weed
Mulberry weed

It has alternate leaves with spiked, microscopic hairs as well has hairy stems. Little “stemlets” and blooms come from the nodes where the leaf emerges from the stem.

If you break off the top of the plant, the stem “medusas out” and it comes back up as a little bush.

multiple stems from being broken off
multiple stems from being broken off

The tiny white flower clusters ripen into purple pod clusters full of tiny seeds.

seed pods ripened purple
seed pods ripened purple

The seeds shoot out of the dried pods as you pull up the plant. You must get it before blooms ripen into pods.

“hairy crab” seed pods

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Do not throw these weeds on your compost pile.  If you do you will plant them next year. Even the tiny plants can set seed.

different sizes
different sizes

It is an import from Asia that piggy-backs into your plantings from nursery stock.

It is suspected of coming to the USA with the troops and equipment after WWII.

alternate leaves and blooms at the joint
alternate leaves and blooms at the joint

It is described as noxious and invasive. These are not terms of endearment.

I usually try to find attributes for my local weeds, but this is an imported pest that ranks right up there with Kudzu.

Follow the FLOWER. Return next Wednesday for another visit with a WEED.

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