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Plant Identification- not Garlic Mustard

 
Jamie Yvonne
Posts: 21
Location: Now: Oregon - Early 2013: Missouri Homesteading
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I have these growing like crazy in a few of our garden beds, they have been thriving since late fall all through winter- they are low to the ground, they are small- have juicy stems, and leaves- tiny hairs cover the stems and underside of the leaf. To me they look similar to lemon balm, or garlic mustard, the main difference being the flavor and scent. It has NONE! No flavor, no scent. It's like a wild lettuce. Can anyone identify this for me? (((thanks in advance)))
 
Jamie Yvonne
Posts: 21
Location: Now: Oregon - Early 2013: Missouri Homesteading
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ok, so it has a very subtle mushroom, dirt or potato taste very very mild flavor, almost reminds me of chickweed, but chickweed is sweeter. If I don't get sick from eating it, I'm throwing it on salads, as now I'm craving them covered in my homemade Italian dressing mmmm
 
Jamie Yvonne
Posts: 21
Location: Now: Oregon - Early 2013: Missouri Homesteading
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here it is in its natural habitat (aka my garden bed, lol)

this is a shot with my girl, Henny-Penny, kindly helping with perspective of this Winter Green of Mystery, by posing for us, she is so cute!
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3352
Location: woodland, washington
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looks like red deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) to me. not a big fan, myself. there are folks who like it as a salad green or stir-fried, but the smell and taste both nauseate me. that said, it won't hurt you, so if the taste is agreeable to you, eat up.

the only reason I don't tear all of ours up is that it flowers in relatively cold weather, so it's a decent source of nectar and pollen for honey bees and other critters when there isn't much else available for them. good source of pollen in early Spring, when it's particularly important for feeding honey bee brood. once other flowers are out, though, I start pulling it up or knocking it down.
 
tel jetson
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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and it looks like there's a formatting error in your first post. the pictures aren't showing up.
 
Jamie Yvonne
Posts: 21
Location: Now: Oregon - Early 2013: Missouri Homesteading
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tel jetson, thank you! I am beyond excited at this discovery! So thankful I posted here about it I live in a very busy city suburb of Portland Oregon, I've been looking for nettle in this area to no avail. Little did I know I had her Sister growing right under my nose Thank you again!
 
tel jetson
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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Jamie Yvonne wrote:tel jetson, thank you! I am beyond excited at this discovery! So thankful I posted here about it I live in a very busy city suburb of Portland Oregon, I've been looking for nettle in this area to no avail. Little did I know I had her Sister growing right under my nose Thank you again!


slow down just a little bit. deadnettle is named for it's superficial resemblance to stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and lack of nettle's sting (the "dead" part of the name). the relation doesn't go much further than that. doesn't mean your deadnettles aren't going to be a great ally for you, but nettles they are not.

if you want some actual nettles, I know right where to find them. stop by sometime and I'll dig up a couple of roots for you to take home.
 
Matt Smith
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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I think it's Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea), not Red Deadnettle. Note the proliferation of runners.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glechoma_hederacea

Where I am it's extremely aggressive. This stuff comes in like an army wherever it can find a tiny bare spot, and has choked out smaller less vigorous plants in my garden beds.

When I pull it out, it comes up in big clumpy patches. You can almost roll it up like a carpet if it's thick enough. I'd also advise making a 100% positive ID before you eat a bunch of it:

"Glechoma hederacea is known to contain terpenoids; terpene-rich volatile oils are known to irritate the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys. The volatile oil also contains pulegone, a chemical also occurring in pennyroyal that is a known irritant, toxic to the liver, and also an abortifacient. "
 
Matt Smith
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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Also, if you're seeing a lot of it, it may indicate a Boron deficiency... the stuff is sensitive to Boron and thrives especially hard when Boron is lacking in the soil. This is a common soil deficiency in your area as I understand it, and one I share on my property.

This becomes important to know because some fruiting trees and bushes require Boron.
 
Jamie Yvonne
Posts: 21
Location: Now: Oregon - Early 2013: Missouri Homesteading
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Thank you Matt Interesting about the 'boron deficiency'- I'll be looking in to that. I'm pretty sure tel is correct about it being lamium purpureum, or red dead nettle, it is a member of the mint family and is a traditional nourisher and medicinal herb. I feel confident in this because now that I've looked into this I remember seeing the purple stalks and flowers of the mature plants last year It looks like the link you posted about Glechoma hederacea is also part of the mint family with many of the same medicinal and nourishing properties. Thank you both so much!
 
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