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horseherb! my search for a name has ended

This weed is called Horse Herb or Sprawling Horse Weed (Calyptocarpus vialis Less). I have searched and searched images of weeds since last March trying to find out what this is.

I love when I discover something. This time, I figured out what that weed was that grows everywhere in my backyard… sides… anywhere it can wiggle its way in and spread. This was the weed I spent all my time handpicking, solarizing, hoeing, occasionally vinegar-spraying–everything short of attacking it with herbicides. Now I am growing grass seed and it is competing with this weed which has decided to come up again in droves now that the rain has disappeared.

Trust me, I tried to get rid of it to make the ground ready for new plants. However, I’m trying something new for this one… contrary to typical gardening wisdom or advice, organic or inorganic. It comes from the bible, from Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares (which are, in non-biblical words, weeds):

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Clearly the meaning here has spiritual connotations, and if you keep reading you find that out… but really, it makes sense… At this point, my grass is tenderly growing, barely out of germination, and if I were to tug, spray, pull or even step around too much getting at these weeds, I’m going to pull up the tender roots of the grass too. (I already tried it, and yep for every weed came up a bunch of grass.) So I’ll let the weeds go for it, and see how this principle works in real life gardening.

Next year–they won’t have a chance, hopefully.

update :: march 9, 2007 :: It seems my uprooting of this plant has succeeded. It is appearing in far less numbers now that the early weeds are coming in. In my search for alternative to grass I discovered this plant is often recommended as a groundcover in Texas. My personal thing with it is that it only appears in spring and fall. So other times of the year, if you don’t have something else growing in, it will just be dirt! Also, it spreads like crazy… often into places you don’t want it.

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