The Cockroach of the Plant World


Submitted a year ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

I am convinced that if we should all be annihilated by a nuclear blast, two things would survive: cockroaches and goutweed. Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) is my bane, and I have pretty much given up on ever ridding myself of it.

Goutweed showing its June flowers

I got goutweed in the 1990’s in a gift of iris. The sneaky devil had infiltrated the iris roots and once at my house, it spread. I pulled it out. It came back, again and again. Finally, I dug out all my iris, removing all plants and soil 12 inches deep and wrapping everything in a 25 foot wide piece of the heaviest black plastic I could find. I folded it up, and left it to rot.

Goutweed roots are long and white, and can send up new plants from each node

I put down landscape fabric, bought new soil, and planted something else. Five years later the goutweed crept out from under the fabric and spread. I tried to contain it, but knew (in my heart of hearts) that I was licked. Goutweed is unbeatable.

A futile effort. A momentary victory. I small clump of feverfew has a home for now.

Like many a pest, it came from far away (Japan) and has no enemies here. It has a pretty white flower and shiny green leaves. But it spreads. It runs over other plants. Today I dug out a small patch of it to move in some feverfew that needed a home. I cleaned out the roots of goutweed and planted my feverfew … knowing full well it will beat me.  

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