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Help ID plant growing out of leaf litter compost

 
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So I stopped by my parents' house earlier this summer and, taking a look at their massive pile of grass clippings and leaf litter accumulated in a rich compost pile out in the back woods, I noticed some truly titanic weeds popping up. The creeping cinquefoil was enormous! There was another type of plant I'd never seen before, possibly a shade-loving forest weed, but it had a 1-inch thick hollow-type stem rather than anything woody, despite growing to around a foot tall. I come back today, once again without a camera unfortunately, and find these big weeds everywhere, turned a bright yellow color after the killing frost. They've doubled over but look as though they may have reached two or three feet in height. Driving through their Northeastern US town later today, I spotted still more of these bright yellow dead plants popping out of a roadside stretch of woods, once again growing from a pile of dead leaves. Anybody have any idea what this plant may be, and if it has any interesting uses?
 
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I think you'll have to go get a photo - that's tough to ID just from a description.
 
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Yeah, get a good closeup picture and I can get it identified. If I can't, I know folks who for sure can... But, even among botanists using specific descriptive language, identifying plants based on description is very, very hard and involves botanical minutia, and is generally not done unless a sample or picture is unfeasible.
 
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Understood! Hopefully I can take a snapshot tomorrow!
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