I’ve watched it for weeks. It looked like a tagetes or marigold at first. Then it began to mystify me. The flower spikes didn’t look right. I took photos. I looked in herb books, wildflower books and finally in horticultural books, but couldn’t find it. I waited. I watched. Finally some sign that flowers might be opening happened, but they appeared to be so tiny I got the macro lens out. I contacted an expert. He was mystified too.
Eventually, I went through an ID list on The Botanical Society of the British Isles. Now I know what it is! I’m so pleased! It’s a fairly uncommon find here in the UK, but is listed as a ‘noxious weed’ in North America. It apparently is the worst hay fever plant, producing masses amounts of tiny pollen grains that cause symptoms. So, despite being pleased to have found it and identified it, once I’ve gathered the photos for it to be included on Wildflower Finder by Roger Darlington I will have to remove it. I want British natives, and I don’t want a major pollen problem propagating itself as I suffer hay fever myself!
It’s been interesting, though. I assume the seed has been sitting in this previously neglected garden just waiting for someone to bring it to the surface, which is what I did when I planted my herb bed.
By now you must be dying to know what this mystery plant is, and see some photos of it. Well, it is Ambrosia Artemisifolia or Ragweed. Here are some photos should you ever come across it.