What is This Plant? (Giant Ragweed)

This thing just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It is now almost 5 feet tall. It looks like it will bloom or something, but then just keeps sending out more leaves in the place where it seems a bud ought to be forming.

My husband said it looks like a pot plant, but I'm pretty sure it's not. We've all seen plenty of photos of those things. (And a few people have seen the real thing!) This was not in my garden last year. And I know I didn't plant it this year, it just showed up, so I decided to see what it would turn out to be. The suspense is killing me.

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I'm sure when it blooms it will be easy to ID, but so far, nothing. The close-up photo is looking down on the place where it seems a bud should be. Photo was taken a couple weeks ago.

Can someone help?

By Gloria

Editor's Note: Gloria has since found out that this plant is Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifica). Here is a link to the follow up post:

August 2, 20110 found this helpful

I don't know what your plant is but I had one that looked just like it, it never did bloom, just kept growing, getting bigger and bigger and looking like it might get a flower some day. I finally pulled it out last spring because it was overpowering everything else in its way. Would be interested to know what it was if you find out. Thanks.

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August 2, 20110 found this helpful

Looks like a fairly common field weed we have around here. If you like it, leave it. If not, then rip it out... ;-)

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August 2, 20110 found this helpful

I had a bunch of them like that too and I thought maybe it was a hibiscus because they do look similar to hibiscus leaves. But then they started popping up not even close to the hibiscus so assumed it was a weed. I have had several things come up that I know I did not plant. Birds are very good at transporting seed. I have a sunflower this year and some phlox that I did not plant!

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August 2, 20110 found this helpful

Sorry about the double reply but found this, your plant looks just like it.

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/fp.php?pid=2588280

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August 2, 20110 found this helpful

To Elaine,

You're right, the leaves are similar to the ones at the website you suggested, but my plant does not have purple stems and is much taller, less bushy than this one. I'm not sure the plant in your photo would grow in NY, I think it was a southern grown plant. Though maybe mine is some relative to that one. Thanks for your reply. ~gloria

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August 2, 20110 found this helpful

To Blane,

Where is "around here?" Maybe I could find a book on weeds of your area. Thanks for your reply. ~gloria

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August 2, 20110 found this helpful

To burksandy,

If I ever find out, I'll post a new photo with the name. Thanks, ~gloria

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August 3, 20110 found this helpful

Can't tell for sure from your picture but look up Giant hogweed.

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

If it is this be careful the sap of leaves is dangerous.

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August 3, 20110 found this helpful

It looks like lettuce to me, that is getting ready to go to seed. If it's lettuce you will see clusters of little yellow flowers that will change to seed.

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August 3, 20110 found this helpful

To Leslee,

We had a royal battle with hogweed once and this is different. If you could see how the leaves of this plant form inside one another you'd be able to see the difference. But yes, the shape of the leaves is similar but not the same. Thank you for the link and the warning. I wish more people knew about hogweed, it's horrible and left my daughter with scars to prove it.

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August 3, 20110 found this helpful

Thank you suzy, I'll keep an eye open for those clusters.

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August 15, 20110 found this helpful

Ha!! Finally. I know what it is. I let this monster grow, but it never did bloom. I figured I could I.D. it by the flowers, but nada. Nothing. Just kept getting taller. As of clip time today, it was 6.5 feet tall. Yikes. A botany professor identified it for me as ambrosia trifica, giant ragweed! And just in the nick of time. He said it looked like it was about to bloom its pollen-laden nastiness all over my neighborhood. Happy to report its now in my trash can. Thanks to everyone who tried to help.

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August 19, 2011 Flag
4 found this helpful

Not long ago, I asked the ThriftyFun community to help me identify this strange, rapidly-growing plant that mysteriously appeared in my perennial garden. I received replies ranging from wild lettuce to hog weed, but none were correct.

Finally, a botany professor from SUNY Geneseo, NY, came up with the correct I.D. Giant ragweed! Ambrosia trifica, to be specific. As of clip time, it had reached 6 1/2 feet tall. He also told me I'd better get rid of it, post haste, before it had a chance to spread it's nasty pollen all over the neighborhood. Which I did.

Thought you'd like to know the "rest of the story."

By Gloria

Giant Rag Weed in Garden

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August 19, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Gloria,

It was so tall that it looked like a tree. Wow! Ragweed! Funny story. This has happened to us a couple of times, not Ragweed but forever undetermined something. We took it out for fear of what it could become, nightmare on Elm Street. Keep cultivating all your good things, your yard looks great!

Susan

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August 19, 20110 found this helpful

We have one of these, with the heat and the drought we were glad to have something green growing! Ha, laugh is on us, it is over 8 feet tall and beginning to look ragged. It's coming down now! Thanks for sharing!

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August 19, 20110 found this helpful

Thank-you for the update!

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