Panoply's picture

Monster weed

Observed: 26th July 2013 By: PanoplyPanoply’s reputation in Plants
Taken in July
Taken late September
Base of stem
Speckly stem

This sowed itself in June/July and it is now late September and it is over 6 feet tall and still growing and hasn't flowered. It is branching at every leaf node and the base of the stem is 2 inches across. No discernable hairs on the leaves and the leaves are straight onto the stem, almost wrapped around in pairs.
It is perhaps something from a bird seed mix but it is nothing listed on the packet so maybe not. It is not Himalayan Balsam. Any idea what it is?

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Buddleia (Buddleja davidii) interacts


Panoply's picture

Not a buddleia

We have Buddleia and they do pop up like weeds, but I can identify them and this is not one of them, unfortunately.

hilaryp's picture

Not Buddleia,

This is not a Buddleia I am afraid, I have been growing them for years and am certain of this. You do have an interesting, self sown herbaceous plant of some sort though. Sorry I can't be of more help.
Hilary P.


Panoply's picture

Not Himalayan Balsam

As I said, it's not Himalayan Balsam. I took a walk by the river and they are all in flower and have solid red stems and fewer leaves. This does not match.

Thanks for your help Hilary P. I hope it is herbaceous so I can get it out of my vegetable bed and still find out what it is next year, maybe. Weeds are always badly placed!

Ambroise's picture

Has it got a hollow stem?

Has it got a hollow stem?

Panoply's picture

Nope, solid throughout. The

Nope, solid throughout. The younger stems are slightly furry, and as they age it becomes more like stubble.

Ambroise's picture

has it appeared this year or

has it appeared this year or has it already survived one winter?

Panoply's picture

It appeared this year, around

It appeared this year, around late June or July I think. It snuck under a cloche and I didn't notice it until it was already quite big, so I let it live to find out what it is (hence why it's leaning as I pulled it under the side of the cloche as it was getting too tall.)
I don't know what it looked like as a seedling, but there are seedlings that might be it all around the bird table. I'm not gonna let them grow though! None of the seeds listed on the bird food packets are it though, as they're all grass type seeds or sunflowers etc. We use cheap bird food (quantity over quality) so heaven knows what else they could be sneaking in there.
Thank you for your continued interest in my mystery weed!

landgirl's picture


It's reminding me of the huge Senecio sarracenicus that I saw at Woodwalton Fen recently, although that likes wet conditions. See it at

Panoply's picture

Sorry about the late reply

Sorry about the late reply landgirl. There is a similarity with the Senecio, but I don't think it's quite right. The leaves are too serrated and I think it's an annual, yet my plant is still standing stoic and flowerless.