Neither a slate platter of sushi or a weed salad.
I had spent half a day in the vegetable plot. To get the better of those just-too-large-to-hoe weed seedlings. After what seemed like a whole embroidery lesson of concentration, I knew them intimately.
And began to hate them for their tenacity. Time to take their mug shots and name and shame them. A weed is only a plant in the wrong place. True, but no bed space for this crew alongside my chard and leeks. Amongst the four, there are quiet stranglers, pneumatic drill rooters and the worse, one who hijacks both those ways to motor through the vegetable patch.
They are all on the delicate side in their top growth and deceive by lovely looks.
Here is Oxalis incarnata
. Pink flowered, clover leaved. But underground it has a deadly little bulblet that sends shards out into the soil. Every time I dig it up, I fear I don't. It has spatter-gunned its offspring and the leeks are surrounded.
The pneumatic drill rooter is a mallow either Malva pusilla/Malva
neglecta. Or could be a hybrid of the two. It may be cross breeding right here in the very vegetable beds. The flowers are small and pink, the root long and easy to snap off. Extreme RH on the sushi plate.
The cinquefoil or potentilla loves the sandy soil we have here and lurks around the place looking harmless and pretty on lax runners. Until you try and dig it out and find it has wrapped its stems round neighbouring
plants, throttling them and then sends down deep woody inpenetrable roots that snap when pulled on.
The worst of the crew is a Becky Sharpe plant. Ingratiating at first to get a toe-hold. A ubiquitous maroon clover with little yellow flowers. Comes up in cracks in paving, in flowerbeds and ramps with the vegetables. Once you have it, it's impossible to get it to leave. It seeds like crazy and has the roots of a seasoned strangler.
I can't name it. Hunting up and down in the beautiful Illustrated Flora of Britain and Northern Europe
by Marjorie Blamey and Christoper Grey-Wilson yields no clues. (published 21 years ago so any weed nomenclature, out of date anyway).
If the maroon clover arrives, evict it at once.