Plant type

Asked October 3, 2019, 6:18 PM EDT

My wife bought some daisies at Lowes in Battle Creek. This one plant started growing and had no flowers. It got lots taller and I was really interested in what it would look like. Well , it started popping, no blossom, just fuzz balls more like a milk weed or dandelion. I didn’t want it spreading, not knowing what it was, so I cut it down and put it on the burn pile( covered). Any idea what it could be? Thanks have a great day

Branch County Michigan

3 Responses

The plant in the photos is known as fireweed or pilewort or American burnweed (Erechtites hieraciifolius). Fireweed is a summer annual weed, meaning it germinates in the spring and completes its lifecycle before winter. Reproduction is through seeds that are wind-dispersed. Plants begin as a rosette (like dandelion), but then bolt and flower in mid- to late-summer. Fireweed is native to Michigan that thrives in moist conditions.

How does it happen that this plant had been cut off (evidently before purchase) and shot up about 3’ in a short time, but never had a blossom? It only had seed puffs.
Thanks, Don


I am guessing that though the plant was cut it was not cut below the lowest growing point, which allowed it to further develop. This plant does grow rapidly.

American burnweed does not have a showy flower. It never really opens like dandelion or other showier flowers. This photo from MI flora shows the "open flower." Once it is pollinated then it opens to reveal the pappi (feathery structures that aid in wind dispersal of the seed, like others in the Aster family such as dandelion).