Tall Weed With White Fluffy Seeds

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms. Welcome to the famous Dave’s Garden website. Join our friendly community that shares tips and ideas for gardens, along with seeds and plants. Identifying a weed is the first step to getting rid of the weed. It is important to know what weeds you are dealing with as different herbicides are formulated for to kill and control different weeds and no product will kill every weed.

When You Wish Upon a Fluff

You know those cute yellow flowers you see in the grass? Or have you seen round, white poofs of fluff that you can blow into the air to make a wish? Those two flowers are the same flower. They’re called “dandelions,” which comes from the French words for “lion’s tooth.” They’re bright and friendly-looking, but grown-ups can’t stand them. Dandelions are weeds, meaning they suck up more than their share of water and vitamins from the dirt. That makes it harder for grass to grow. But until the 1800s, people used to grow dandelions on purpose. We can eat any part of the flower — the leaves taste pretty good in a salad! Luckily for us, each flower holds up to 400 seeds, which can sail as far as 5 miles. Dandelions are here to stay.

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Wee ones: If you have 7 yellow dandelions and 4 white fluffy dandelions, of which kind do you have more?

Little kids: If 1 dandelion seed sails 5 miles in one direction, and another seed flies 5 miles in the opposite direction, what’s the farthest apart they can land? Bonus: If each time you blow on a dandelion you blow 5 seeds free, how many wishes does it take to blow 20 seeds away? Count up by 5s!

Big kids: Dandelions can have up to 400 seeds, but they usually have around 180. How many more seeds does a mega-fluffy 400-seed dandelion have than the usual? Bonus: If you blow off 300 seeds, and each of those makes a new flower that sends off 300 seeds, how many seeds sail off in that 2nd round? (Hint if needed: what if each of the 300 sent off just 3 seeds…then what if each sent off 30 seeds instead…then how about 300?)

Answers:
Wee ones: More yellow dandelions.

Little kids: 10 miles apart. Bonus: 4 wishes: 5, 10, 15, 20.

SOLVED: A tall weed with white fluffy flowers

Definitely not Ageratina havanensis – neither flowers nor leaves match.

Thank you both for replying.
Altagardener I am sure you are on the mark with the Conyza species

Conyza bonariensis is a weed species listed here in New Zealand and it looks similar to my photos.
I see Wikipedia now calls it Erigeron bonariensis

Of these, in the reference cited, Conyza bonariensis, C. canadensis, and C. parva resemble, superficially at least, the plant in question.

C. parva is said to be a synonym for C. canadensis (now Erigeron canadensis). (The others mentioned have also been put back into Erigeron.)

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It’s very like what I know as Conyza bonariensis, distinguished by its the rather large, globular seedheads, not as numerous as in some other weedy spp, and almost linear upper leaves.
Altagardener, the Wikipedia article on Erigeron does not show much awareness of taxonomy. Its article on E. bonariensis cites Tropicos as a primary source for the name but Tropicos is neutral as to which name is accepted though citing usage under the ‘accepted names’ tab –
http://www.tropicos.org/Name/2702433
http://www.tropicos.org/Name/2702314
The USDA PLANTS database keeps these species in Conyza but GRIN has them under Erigeron!
The plot thickens as I check on genus Conyza in GRIN, as they cite 2 recent cladistic studies which appear to give support to its being merged under Erigeron
http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/genus.pl?2902

I don’t generally use Wikipedia for plant info details, nor for nomenclature (far too many misidentified plant photos, which makes me suspect the accuracy in general) – it was the OP who referenced it.

Thanks for that lead altagardener. It’s not a database I have used much but looks like it can be relied on. And the entry linked straight to the Global Compositae Checklist, which is also new to me.

Thanks for all your help With the leads you have given me I am sure its Conyza parva.

. for which the accepted name is Erigeron canadensis.

More Plant Identification Threads

SOLVED: A tall weed with white fluffy flowers
SOLVED: A tall weed with white fluffy flowers
SOLVED: A tall weed with white fluffy flowers
SOLVED: A tall weed with white fluffy flowers
SOLVED: A tall weed with white fluffy flowers
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A Guide to Common Weeds in the United States

Identifying a weed is the first step to getting rid of the weed. It is important to know what weeds you are dealing with as different herbicides are formulated for to kill and control different weeds and no product will kill every weed.

Use this guide to learn more about some of the most common weeds across the United States.

What to Look For When Identifying Weeds

When identifying weeds, observe the following:

  • What does the weed look like? Is it tall or short? Does it have flowers?
  • Where is the weed growing on your property? Is the weed in the shade or in the sun?
  • Are there any drainage or runoff issues where the weed is found?
  • When is the weed growing? Is it spring, summer, winter, or fall? What is the local climate?

Knowing the appearance and location of weeds will help narrow down what type of weed(s) you may have.