Asked May 28, 2018, 6:49 PM EDT

Hi, I would like to know the common name of these two plants (weeds?) so I can learn more about them.

Clay County South Dakota

5 Responses

Hi, it is difficult for me to identify your plants from the pictures, especially the first. I need to know more about it, i.e., is this the first year it appeared? How does the plant grow? I cannot tell if this is one plant or many. There appears to be sharp or thorns ends to the lobes of the leaves, which is reminiscent of thistles, but I cannot be sure. Thistles are not the only plants with spikes. Are the leaves fuzzy? Have you seen it bloom?
The second picture may be one of a species of Creeping Bellflower [Campanula rapunculoides]. Have you seen it before this year? Have you seen blooms? If it is a bellflower, it is an herbaceous perennial spreading by underground rhizomes produced from a stout taproot shaped tuber. Stems are about 30 inches tall, tightly spaced across the ground with purple-blue bell shaped flowers produced in late spring and early summer. The flowers are typically borne down one side of the stem. Perhaps observing them throughout the growing season can help with better identification. You can send me more information on them as you have it, so that I can better help you.

Hi Sue, Thanks for your response. I moved into my home about a year ago and have been overwhelmed trying to learn how to take care of everything outside as I am completely new to gardening. There are many wonderful perennials, but many very aggressive things too I'm discovering. For example, I just learned I have Ground Elder that unfortunately I didn't pay much attention to last summer when we moved in and I didn't know how quickly it would start taking over. I'll keep an eye on what you think might be the Creeping Bellflower. I can definitely see it having the underground rhizomes as it seems to have popped up pretty randomly. The leaves are growing in an alternate spiral of threes and is a bit prickly to the touch. Unfortunately I don't recall it from last year or how it flowers. I'll keep an eye on it and let you know if I don't think it is the Creeping Bellflower. The first photo is not a plant that seems to be spreading. I've seen about 7 clusters that look like one plant each and they all came up in relatively the same area of the garden. The leaves themselves aren't fuzzy but the edges (lobes?) feel like they have prickly hairs or just really fine serrated edges. After Googling Thistle, I'm wondering if this might actually be Globe Thistle. Again, thanks so much for the help so far. Kim

Hi Kim, I am having second thoughts on the creeping bellflower with your latest description. If you are worried about spread, you might remove all but a few and keep an eye on them. Your Bishops Weed aka Ground Elder is an interesting plant. Did you learn that it is edible; historically used to treat arthritis and gout? Yes very invasive too! We may have some Master Gardeners near you. Where are you located in Clay County?

Sue, Yes, I did read that it is edible, but I haven't tried to make anything with it yet (although if it's good for arthritis, I may want to give it a try sooner than later). I'm located in Vermillion and imagine that there are probably some MGs around me somewhere. I'm so glad I learned about this resource! Kim

Kim, Thanks! I will have a search run for MGs or perhaps a club or something in your area. And I checked on my Creeping Bellflowers and it feels like you described. Stay tuned in to the blooms. I am glad that you are so responsive. I will see what I can find out. Sue