Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Galinsoga, Quickweed

Galinsoga plant

This little garden weed has been bothering me since I moved to Droop Mountain. Springing up in new-tilled soil almost instantly, it has eluded my attempts to identify it. People around here call it "Devil's Delight," and that is certainly fitting, but I wasn't able to identify it with any of my field guides, and I don't have the "Compositae" volume of The Flora of West Virginia.

This week I finally found it in Manual of Weeds by Ada E. Georgia (1914). It's called "Galinsoga," which is its generic name as well. Galinsoga is native to South America, where it is used as a spice. It's named after an eighteenth century Spanish physician. Although it has a world-wide distribution, it doesn't seem to have an English name that's really stuck to it. It's sometimes called "Gallant Soldier," evidently a misinterpretation of the scientific name, and Newcomb's Wildflower Guide also calls it "Quickweed." It definitely is quick to sprout, and quick to flower.

Galinsoga inflorescence

6 comments:

Dave said...

OH, I've seen that stuff! Cool info.

Rebecca Clayton said...

Glad you found it useful! It kept keying out to Bidens, the Beggars' Tick genus, but I couldn't find any seeds with spines. It turns out Galinsoga seeds germinate before they reach the ground. What a quick weed!

Larry said...

Years ago an old farm wife told me that the common weed is called "wild tomato". It took me a while to key the plant out. It is quite common here in Missouri.

Thiago said...

Hi there. I just wanted to tell you that this weed is VERY edible. I know it's a problem to a lot of people trying to cultivate other plants. But instead of throwing the weeds away after pulling them out, why not "eat your weed problem away". They are very high in vitamin A. I boil quickweed for few minutes and then I sautée them in olive oil, black pepper sauce and soy sauce. Other people simply boil the weeds and then add butter and salt to it before eating. They are very tasty.

Anonymous said...

Actually the weed is very common in the country of Colombia it is very edible rich in potassium magnesium Vit A and has a really great taste they used it alot in soups there I add it to vegetable soups or beef broth soups and it compliments it very well!

heide said...

In Colombia, the common name of Galinsoga parviflora is GUASCA or HUASCA. It is very popular and mainly used as a very tasty ingredient of their typical potato soup, called AJIACO, a speciality of Bogotá, the capital.