Backyard Tales: What Is it?

I have no idea what this is called.

Unknown yellow

This is a shrubby plant, that can grow anywhere from just near the ground to a couple of feet tall. I would describe the blooms as dark cream. The stems are thin, yet woody to the point that a weed-eater string will not eat them, but will instead wrap around and ruin your whole day. You can cut them low to the ground, and it won’t kill them; they have very long taproots. Which, BTW, mean pulling them generally involved a spade, at the very least. And if you don’t wear gloves, you’re likely to blister the skin right off your hands pulling.

(Yes, personal experience. You’d be amazed what you don’t feel on a hot day when you’re trying to get a whole yard done.)

I’d honestly rather not pull them. They can be pretty. But there are local codes about weeds over 12 inches. As in don’t.

I’ve tried every local plant ID book I can find for the Gulf Coast, and a few that aren’t. No luck. I honestly wonder if it’s a stray from Central or South America by way of Mobile. Or maybe a nursery escapee. I don’t think I’ve ever seen insect damage on it.

If I have to keep going after this thing, I’d at least like to know what it is!

Anybody have any ideas?



35 thoughts on “Backyard Tales: What Is it?

  1. It looks a bit like Shrubby Cinquefoil, Indian Strawberry, possibly St. John’s-worts or Frostweed, and maybe buttercups but probably not that – though this is due to working off pictures out of my “edible and medicinal plants of Canada” book. I do know it looks and sounds familiar to plants that were growing around my grade school’s lawn, before they decided grass was inappropriate for children and concrete was better.

    Anyways, hope those names I tossed out can help with identifying. Unfortunately my book didn’t talk about whether the stems were woody or if they had long tap roots, or that might’ve helped narrow it further.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. None of the above, unfortunately. All of those have the wrong form, St. John’s-worts are 4-petaled (we do have a local St. John’s-wort, St. Andrew’s cross, very different), and what I’m dealing with is definitely not a yellow-flowered plant.

      Thanks for poking this, though.


  2. Could be one of the primroses. Lots of them, too, and at least the leaves look closer.

    It really looks (to me) more like a plant from up north of you, rather than anything tropical. But I am not a plant expert!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d say if you have a smaller state school with an ag college. Generally botanists might not be helpful but ag professors are more forthcoming about weeds. Still you might have more luck emailing an ag extension office, things like this are their job.


  3. Get a machete. That’s my suggestion. Tho shop around a bit to find one that’s suited for you. (too long or too short, too heavy or too light, is no good, tho shorter and heavier is less trouble than longer or lighter) Anyway, this is exactly what they’re made for, dealing with shrubbery that is troublesome but not actual trees (sure, you can, but there’s better tools for that).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gerber (…. probably not the baby food people) does a nice machete with a comfortable grip and a sawblade on the back edge. Reasonably priced, too. Got mine at WalMart.

      As for the plant… maybe a mutant flax?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As someone with a backyard full of privet I am deeply in love with my Fiskars bypass loppers (the kind with the gears). Get the long-handled one so that you don’t have to stoop as much.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I had to Discover the Answer it for what it resembles-but-isn’t, and yes, it has to be out of my region, because everything in my area I’m sure I’d have been required to pull by now and recognize if not name. And a few more.
        Weeds are just flowers in the wrong location. I have trouble thinning out nurtured ones taking over their designated boundaries, and those aren’t very sharply defined, either. Cultivated in one area is wild in another. Just have to watch the level of invasive growth…
        I’m glad this sida is not a notable contender here, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My mother is a plant person, so she might be able to narrow down an ID, but she asked for a picture of the whole plant. More pictures?


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