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It is very annoying to not know what it is, especially since it's taking up so much space, and looks like it's gonna hang around forever until I lose patience with it!

I walked alongside the river today and took note of the patches of Himalayan Balsam, and my monster weed is definitely not one of them. They're all in bloom and have far fewer leaves, and smaller ones, and the stem is solid or striped red. And well remembered nutcutlet, the leaves often had a red midrib.

I have an update on my monster weed. It reached around 8 or 9 feet and then perished in the frost the other night. I cut its branches off and dug it up the other day, so can show you a picture of its root system - very shallow considering its size.

It had begun to develop flower buds, but these never opened. I did noticed however, that what seemed to be the same plant, growing in a container I used to cause my radishes to bolt, had developed a flower several weeks ago. I am not sure this is the same plant, but it has the same shape to its leaves, albeit in miniature, and the same colour and pattern to the stem - red at the bottom spreading upwards. I had hoped it would set seed, but it too was killed in the frost, and the flower head I rescued has thin beige husks within, which aren't hugely helpful I fear.

To add further confusion to the mystery, another monster weed developed alongside the original, and also on the other side of the house. It seemed alike in every way, except it had very furry leaves - you could really feel the bristles catch on your skin when you touched it. It developed several tiny flower buds on each branch, that were due to be yellow I'm sure, but they also were frosted before opening.

Here are the photos - any ideas what this intruder could be?




aha. Could that be a nyjer plant? just googled images of it and it looks mighty similar, and grows very tall. Popular bird seed for goldfinches.


I think you're right gg. I've never seen it, I had to google as well.


Ginglygangly I think you are spot on! Thank you! I looked it up and found several pictures that are identical to my monster. I had looked up niger plants before when I had another weed that looked similar (but turned out to be a bur marigold) but hadn't considered it for this giant, as it was said to be 30cm tall.

Searching under the name "nyjer" instead says it is 4ft on average but can reach 7ft. I think my monster enjoyed the vegetable patch and outdid itself! I am disappointed it never got to produce seed though, after all the time it had.

Thank you! I am glad to finally have this mystery solved.


I agree, it's Guizotia abyssinica, a not-uncommon birdseed alien. It's unlikely to become a nuisance in the UK as it probably won't produce seed here and as noted above, is killed by frost.

 I'm quite chuffed with myself. I usually haven't got a clue about weeds!


You should be chuffed gg. This one's been running for ages with no answer.

Next question.

Why don't I get these? there's plenty of seed spread about

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