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Author Topic: What is this plant  (Read 7401 times)

Westyardfarm

  • Joined Dec 2014
  • Mid Devon
  • Just taken over a small run down farm in mid Devon
What is this plant
« on: May 28, 2015, 10:26:36 pm »
Hello, can anyone help identify this plant. Last year we bought a rather neglected 21 acres in Devon. The worst field had just been fenced off for 27 years so had become a jungle of bramble, nettle and dock. We ploughed, limed (10 tons for 4 acres) power harrowed, seeded with "pony paddock" grass and rolled. Grass is coming along nicely but we have 20% of the field with this red coloured plant in amongst the grass. It is probably growing off a small "corm", pale brown and 1cm across when the field was ploughed. Our concern is will it be a problem if we take hay off this field?
1 wife, 1 daughter, 6 chickens, 2 chicks, 3 ponies, 2 cats, 2 dogs, 3 turkeys, 4 sheep and some grass keep Zwartbles...in 21 acres of Mid Devon

Somewhere_by_the_river

  • Joined Dec 2013
  • Near Llandeilo
    • Angela French Graphite Artist
    • Facebook
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2015, 10:09:29 am »
I'm, no expert, but it looks like rosebay willowherb. Liming is supposed to help discourage it, but as it spread so easily both by seed and underground rhizomes it might take a while to get rid of. It is apparently "susceptible to shoot loss from trampling, cutting, burning and grazing" and parts of it are supposed to be edible in the human sense (though perhaps not so much 'palatable), however, it is supposed to be toxic to horses and cattle. Maybe post this anew in the cattle/horse section to see what people think/advise.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2015, 11:19:56 am »
I'd agree it looks like willowherb. I didn't know it ws toxic to cattle or horses, I know my goats love it to death, ei  will clear a field by keep eating it down, I've noticed there isn't any in the local sheep fields either, but masses on the outsides.
unfortunately you probaly spread it when ploughing etc, I think the roots are called stolons?  and each little bit will grow again.

clydesdaleclopper

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 11:39:44 am »
I would also agree that it's willow herb. My goats love it too  :goat:
Our holding has Anglo Nubian and British Toggenburg goats, Gotland sheep, Franconian Geese, Blue Swedish ducks, a whole load of mongrel hens and two semi-feral children.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2015, 01:13:57 pm »
It's certainly edible for humans, and is also a plant which can be used for natural dyeing, I believe.

Have a read about it on Wiki, it includes this comment
Quote
When fireweed first emerges in early spring, it can closely resemble several highly toxic members of the lily family
, which may account for the mixed views you find by googling 'is rosebay willowherb toxic to horses' ;)

It was discussed here on TAS a couple of years back, in which conversation Rosemary says her ponies love it.  AFAIK, none of them has died of poisoning, so I think we can conclude it is not toxic to equines.  In the same thread, jaykay says you can make hay for goats of it, so that would all point to it being okay in hay.

It also talks in the Wiki article about it liking disturbed ground - so you probably get a flush of it after ploughing and reseeding, but it probably reduces a bit over time.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Somewhere_by_the_river

  • Joined Dec 2013
  • Near Llandeilo
    • Angela French Graphite Artist
    • Facebook
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2015, 01:52:23 pm »
Interesting re the confusion in identification SITN, I must admit I did find it odd that it was 'supposed' (hence my use of the word) to be toxic to horses and cattle when it was okay for humans (I knew it was okay for sheep and goats), you'd think it would be the other way round! I'd be interested to know if anyone has tried eating it and whether or not they like it - got a ton of it in our formerly neglected 'garden'... ::)

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2015, 06:21:59 pm »
Just a thought about it in hay
depending on when hay is made, it could be either still 'fleshy' and take longer than grass to dry, or ripened to sticks, bit annoying in hay?

Westyardfarm

  • Joined Dec 2014
  • Mid Devon
  • Just taken over a small run down farm in mid Devon
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2015, 11:04:03 am »
Looks like we'll have to spray as there is bramble and nettle as well. Just have to find something that won't hurt the grass as it is only at the 4-5 leave stage. Thanks for the help in identifying the rose bay willow herb and how much of a problem it is. Doesn't seem too bad but we need to hit the brambles and nettles before they take over as before.
1 wife, 1 daughter, 6 chickens, 2 chicks, 3 ponies, 2 cats, 2 dogs, 3 turkeys, 4 sheep and some grass keep Zwartbles...in 21 acres of Mid Devon

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2015, 11:17:07 am »
I don't mind it, lots of flowers and goats love it.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2015, 11:36:16 am »
Repeated topping, and letting stock on to eat the wilted cut material (cattle and sheep would love it) is an alternative to chemicals, if you are environmentally-minded.

If you do use chemicals, do some research before choosing.  Some of the ones that target broad-leaved plants (ie., don't kill grass) are extremely persistent, surviving even passage through the guts of horses and ruminants, to then go on and kill the broad-leaved plants in your vegetable garden when you use the manure so created!  :o
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 12:10:57 pm by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2015, 11:39:08 am »
Plant in photo looks to have more leaves and narrower ones than the Rosebay Willow Herb we get hereabouts.  If it is that, though, and you can cut down the flowering spikes this year you'll go a long way to clearing it for the future.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2015, 12:07:53 pm »
To identify it accurately, you need to grow on a little piece, so you can see its eventual height and flowers.

But, if you let willowherb set seed it will quickly colonise any bare earth anywhere the seeds can reach on the wind. I don't know how long its seeds are viable in the ground.  It's easy to pull out as its roots are not deep, and don't run like couch.

It's easy to shade it out, or pull it, or cut it, or graze it without resorting to weedkillers.  It's a 'first coloniser', and once other plants start to grow around it, it moves on to fresh ground.

The chemical you mean Sally is aminopyralid - hateful stuff and ubiquitous.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 12:09:56 pm by Fleecewife »
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cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2015, 09:16:47 pm »
Rose bay willow for me .. it sheds zillions of super lightweight silky seeds from every plant that flowers . cut and graze with sheep  knocks it down.
 It's a fantastic honey plant though, a lot of my home apiary's quality honey from the 16 hives was willow herb  . I found I could charge & get a premium for it .
 We had nigh on 12 acres of it within 500 mtrs of the apiary .

 It often comes up from horse muck fresh , old or composted, as the horses digestion does not kill it , using the proper 18 day hot composting method will however .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2015, 09:28:05 pm »
Just as I'd pressed post I realised what plant it can be , it has hard round pinkish red seed on a sort of nodular spike . It also arrives with horse muck , the seeds explode off the spike when ripe it can grow to about 4feet tall here in the UK in well horse manured soil.

 i don't know what it is called in the UK but the Americans call it " Smart weed ".
I hope this link to the American weeds site is allowed , if not can a Mod put it into a click on button please.
http://www.garden.org/weedlibrary/index.php?q=show&id=2393

 This is the scientific name Polygonum pensylvanicum

 I think it is also often called knotweed , when we made up the high raised beds we were swamped with it the stalk has a more reddish colour than the pictures I've just seen . An early summer application of Round up sorted it out after two years of treatment.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 09:39:11 pm by cloddopper »
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

devonlady

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: What is this plant
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2015, 07:15:51 am »
Clodopper, were you thinking of Hymalayan (or touch-me- not) balsam? :-\

 

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