Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Case of the Fake Clover...A Weed in Disguise

This spring, I was thrilled to find clover growing next to my garlic. I rubbed my hands to think of all the nitrogen being fixed in the soil. (I'm a gardening geek.) But then the yellow flowers came out. It dawned on me that they looked nothing like clover flowers, white or red. This sneaky plant tricked me.

What I had growing in my container was not clover, but oxalis buttercup. (Yes, I just linked to Wikipedia.) Oxalis pes-caprae is an invasive plant and spreads ferociously through tiny bulbs that are difficult to get out of the soil without tilling, and sticky seeds that travel well via animals or cars.

The silver lining is that oxalis leaves have a delicious sour taste. That makes it easy to distinguish from real clover, which isn't sour at all. And best of all, I get to have my revenge on this sneaky weed by eating it in my summer salads. Take that, faker.

A reminder to those who compost - never add weeds that have gone to seed to your compost. That includes oxalis with bulbets in the roots!

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