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weeds with large seed pods

1. Top priority: eradicate before seeds disperse

If you’ve made it outside on a recent sunny day, you’ve probably noticed the abundance of flowers blooming in gardens, parks, forests, and throughout King County right now. Unfortunately, the noxious weeds are out there, too—many of them bolting, flowering, and even going to seed already.

Below are some of the top regulated noxious weeds to keep an eye out for this month. Please let us know if you see one of these high-priority invasive plants, so we can make sure they’re controlled or eradicated in time! [Click here to go to the King County Noxious Weed List for the whole list!] Report locations and share photos with us easily on our new and improved Report a Weed online form.

First up, weeds already going to seed or getting close. Catch them now before seeds disperse!

Many garlic mustard plants in King County are going to seed. Note the long, skinny seed pods on this one.

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), a Class A noxious weed, is a biennial or winter annual herb, can self-pollinate to produce 62,000 seeds and overtake a relatively undisturbed forest understory. Eradicating it before seeds mature is key. You can identify garlic mustard by:

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Polygonaceae (Buckwheat fmily)

A course erect annual, usually 2 to 3 feet tall. Lower stems are often red or red-striped, with color continuing down the taproot. Leaves have long petioles and prominent veins. they are somewhat broad and lance-shaped, and often become reddish. Individual flowers are small, green and tightly arranged in large, branched, spike-like, terminal clusters. Smaller axillary flower clusters may also occur. Flower clusters are full of stiff, spine-like scales, making this pigweed additonally undesirable in hay. Seeds are small, black and shiny. Redroot pigweede is widely disrtributed throughout the western states, commonly found in cultivated lands, gardens, and waste areas. Germination occurs anytime during the frowing season when soil moisture is sufficient.

Solanaceae (Nightshade family)

Russian Thistle

Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Dandelion is a perennial herb with milky juice from an often branched taproot up to several feet long. Reproduces by seeds and by new shoots from the root crowns. Leaves are clustered at the top of the root crown. They vary in size, from 2 to 12 inches long, divided into pairs of lobes, which are pointed or blunt at the tips. The flower heads are 1 to 2 inches across, composed of yellow petal-like ray flowers. Heads are solitary. Achenes are 1/8 inch long, five-to eight-ribbed, the apex ends in a slender beak two or four times as long as the body of the achene, with parachute-like hairs at its apex. The common dandelion is native to Europe, but is now cosmopolitan. It grows in moist sites, including lawns, meadows, pastures, and overgrazed areas. It is good forage on the ranges and is especially relished by sheep and cattle. Flowering occurs almost nine months of the year.

An annual with generally prostrate stems radiating in all directions from a central taproot. Main stems are usually 12 to 18 inches long with shorter secondary branches. All stems are somewhat fleshy and pliable, nearly smooth, and usually red to purple. Leaves are approximately 1/2 inch wide and oval, with the tip broader than the base. Flowers are in small congested clusters in the leaf axils. Long terminal flower spikes are absent. Seeds are shiny, black, lens-shaped and approximately twice the width of tumble pigweed seeds. Prostrate pigweed was possibly introduced from tropical America, adapting well to our area. It occurs mostly in disturbed or cultivated soils, and is often associated with tumble pig weed. it is a common garden weed.