It’s commonly said that a weed is simply a plant that is growing in the wrong place. Whilst this is true to a certain extent, I feel there are a few exceptions which should be classified as weeds all the time. Here in ascending order of loathing are my top five weeds.

At number 5 we have chick weed. Stellaria media, also known as Chickwittles, Mischievous Jack, Starweed, Starwort, Winterweed. What a pontless plant this is, yet it thrives in our garden. I’m told you can use it in salads and make soup from it and it can also be used for feeding poultry and caged birds. We don’t keep any birds and I’m no cook, so I’m sorry but to me it is just a nuisance and a waste of my time.

At number 4 we have nettles. Urtica dioica, also known as Stinging Nettle. At least a nettle has the merit of being the larval food plant for Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies. It also has a long and distinguished list of medicinal uses dating back to the 10th century. However, I don’t want it in my garden, so for me it’s a weed.

chickweed    nettle    dandelions    groundelder    

At number 3 we have dandelions. Taraxacum officinale, also known as Faceclock, Blowball. The seed dispersal of this plant it truly astounding. I’ve been struggling for years to irradicate it from the field and have spent countless hours spraying the plants with selective weedkiller. One year I even set about pulling all the flower heads off so they didn’t form seed heads. Nothing I’ve done so far has made any difference. At least it has the saving grace of being yellow, my favourite colour, but I still hate it.

At number 2 we have ground elder. Aegopodium podagraria, also known as Goatweed, Bishop’s Weed. The only saving grace with ground elder is that is disappears from view in winter. Don’t be fooled though, the powerhouse of this plant is underground. In Spring the strong white roots burrow through the soil. Leave one piece in when you’re weeding and it will grow again, stronger than ever. This is another one where I am losing the battle.

At number 1 the daddy of them all Hairy Bittercress. Cardamine hirsuta, also known as Small Bittercerss, Common Bittercress, Hoary Bittercress, Popping Cress, Pennsylvania Bittercress, Jumping Jesus, Flick Weed. The seed dispersal and germination rate of this plant is nothing short of awesome. To be fair it is quite a pretty little plant with it’s rosette of leaves and tiny white flowers, but it is everywhere and I just can’t get rid of it. I try to focus my weeding attention on the plants most ready to ‘pop’, but once again it is a battle I am losing.