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Old 11-08-2015, 03:06 PM
oralee oralee is offline
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Default Is this native or invasive? Looks like water smart weed?

Hello,
I have been unable to identify this plant that seems to be increasing in patches in my 2-acre back yard. Should I get rid of this or encourage it?

The plant looks similar to online pictures of "water smart weed" (polygonum amphibium) but to my knowledge has never flowered.

More information----------------------------

The plants are in a “wild” field overrun with invasive weeds, so I do not believe the plants to have been deliberately planted by people, but wild volunteers from wild origins. The field is in western Santa Rosa, clay soil, no trees/just full sun, and summer dry dry dry. There is a "channelized" creek a hundred feet or so away behind our fenceline.

I have attached a few photos, but also here is a description of the plant:
1-2’ high growing in a loose “ground-cover” habit. Sprawling, woody stems with upright ends; leaves appear along the entire length of the stems (which can be from a few inches to a couple of feet long). The leaves are approx. 2-4 inches with smooth (sometimes wavy) margins, pointed tips, slightly fuzzy tops, and arranged neither opposite or alternating but perhaps “whorled” or random arrangement along the stems. Overall the leaves appear bright to dark true green, and can appear to sparkle a bit in the sun from the fuzzy tops.

The leaves turn yellow or brown in fall and the whole plants dry up and disappear over the winter. I have not ever seen any flowering or fruiting structures, but have not closely observed the plants in spring when they tend to be buried in the invasive harding grass we have growing everywhere. I only notice the plants after we mow the field in the summer, and they don’t really seem to do anything except expand with new little plants popping up everywhere along the edges. The plants stand out in the summer when everything else is dry/brown and only this plant stays bright green and fresh looking. Roots might be tuberous (appear thickened and horizontal) and I suspect the plant is propagating by underground runners.
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Thanks to any insights, this has been driving me nuts for years.
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