What is this plant?

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This plant (the two bright green spikey-looking ones) grows in the area of WV where my husband is from, but we have no idea what it is. He says it reseeds itself every year and the plant itself gets very tall, around 4 or 5 feet. I would appreciate any comments.
what is this plant, gardening
  31 answers
  • Nanci Burroughs Nanci Burroughs on Jun 18, 2013
    It looks like a red hot poker plant to me. Have you ever seen it flower? Mine took several years before it did so.

  • Lynne Reis-Napier Lynne Reis-Napier on Jun 18, 2013
    Thanks, Nanci, but, no, my husband says he's never seen a flower on it. Some of the folks in the country call it a burning bush but, of course, it certainly isn't and doesn't even turn color.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 19, 2013
    The foliage looks somewhat likes cosmos foliage to me. And those do get 4 to 5 feet high, but they definitely flower. The only burning bush I know is a shrub and looks nothing like that.

  • Lynne Reis-Napier Lynne Reis-Napier on Jun 19, 2013
    I agree, Douglas. I've had cosmos before and I do have a burning bush in the front of the house so I'm very familiar with that. I just have no idea what this is. It never flowers - just dies out and reseeds. There are actually several here - one tall one, a shorter and smaller ones growing. The birds ate them all last year but this bunch landed here and we haven't moved them since the birds aren't bothering them this year. Really strange. Thank you for your comment!

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 19, 2013
    Lynne, if it reseeds it has to produce a flower.

  • Nanci Burroughs Nanci Burroughs on Jun 19, 2013
    I thought you meant the plant behind the fuzzy one. That looks like a typical weed we have here in GA...yes, sorta like cosmos. Not much of a flower if any and I have no idea what its called. All you can do is pull them as as soon as you see them and hopefully they will eventually die out.

  • Deborah Kay-Morgan Deborah Kay-Morgan on Jun 19, 2013
    In the south back in the 60's you could buy seeds for "burning bush" or some name like that. No significant flowers...the name came from it's color in the fall. It was an annual with fine foliage like your picture that grew into a bush shape maybe 3-5' tall. It could be a weed in some climates...consider Horsetail rush that's $10 for a quart at nurseries...it is VERY invasive and almost impossible to remove once started. Got spores with pine needles when I lived in Louisiana...pretty and unusual at first then the nightmare began!! xoxo D

  • Lynne Reis-Napier Lynne Reis-Napier on Jun 19, 2013
    Well, Douglas, you see how much I know LOL. I'll keep my eye on this one. Maybe I'll get out there later and take a closer picture. @Nanci, I'm cracking up because I love it; I think it makes a great background plant and the color is such a bright green - if it were in the right place, which, obviously, it isn't. Thanks so much to both of you for your comments.

  • Nancy Hand Nancy Hand on Jun 19, 2013
    It looks kinda like a dog fennel? But I know its not. Cosmos is a good answer!

  • The French Gardener The French Gardener on Jun 19, 2013
    I will agree with Nancy Hand, Eupatorium capillifolium.

  • Charlene Mason Charlene Mason on Jun 19, 2013
    This plant is Kochia scoparia, Common names are Burning Bush, Summer Cypress, Mexican Fireweed, It is in the Amaranthaceae family, genus Bassia. It actually does bloom in late summer to fall by turning red. Handling the plant may cause skin irritation, or the pollen can cause an allergic reaction. Hostaqueen33

  • Nancy Blue Moon Nancy Blue Moon on Jun 19, 2013
    Well..I am sitting here looking out my window at our Burning Bush and it looks nothing like whatever that stuff is..lol

  • Charlene Mason Charlene Mason on Jun 19, 2013
    The burning bush you have is probably the shrub euonymus alatus, a large shrub that leafs out green and turns bright red in the fall. It is more like a small tree. The Kochia is a softer plant. A LOT of plants have the same common name, that's where it helps to know the latin names.

  • Jeanna Morgan Jeanna Morgan on Jun 19, 2013
    I was thinking it looked a lot like fennel to me. So I would go with Dog fennel. I am not sure though. I have never heard of a burning bush that wasn't a bush.

  • Charlene Mason Charlene Mason on Jun 19, 2013
    Its just a common name, probably because it resembles a bush on fire. Common names can be confusing.

  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Jun 19, 2013
    @Lynne Reis-Napier I don't think it is cosmos - too bushy for that. I have planted that annual many years and it flowers every year, even if seeds from the previous year's plant. Here is a link to info on cosmos. http://www.wallcoo.net/flower/wild_flowers_cosmos/wild_flower_cosmos_photo_22674328e.html Not quite sure what it is.

  • Deborah Kay-Morgan Deborah Kay-Morgan on Jun 19, 2013
    You got it Charlene! Google search shows that it is considered invasive in some states.

  • Lynne Reis-Napier Lynne Reis-Napier on Jun 19, 2013
    Well, I took a closer look and here's a pic - it does indeed look like the Mexican Fireweed, Charlene, especially when I googled it and saw a picture of one. No one I know has ever seen one turn red so we'll see what happens later on; perhaps that's an environmental thing? I thank each and every one of you for all your advice!!!

  • Alice Palumbo Alice Palumbo on Jun 20, 2013
    LOOKS LIKE ASPARAGUS FERN

  • Patti Lemaire Patti Lemaire on Jun 20, 2013
    Mexican burning bush. Annual from seed in Ontario.

  • Debra Peters Debra Peters on Jun 20, 2013
    What ever it is, it's pretty - I would leave it right where it is and enjoy it! Googling Mexican firebush shows several different plants with that name....

  • Michelle Seay Michelle Seay on Jun 20, 2013
    It looks like weeds that grow rampant in Florida.

  • Oy Oy on Jun 20, 2013
    Sure does looks like weeds that are growing all over my yard in Florida esp. during the rainy season...which is now. :(

  • Trudy Trudy on Jun 20, 2013
    Your photo looks very much like Asparagus Fern, I've a good bit of it in our yards in both southeast AL and northwest FL. I dig it up because it's very invasive in our mild winters and even if killed back to the soil will come back when the weather warms if it's in a sheltered area. The stems get 2-3' long and fuller toward the base. It has a hairy mat like root system that has somewhat oval shaped thick nodules, the density of the whole makes it difficult to cut into even with a sharp tool. The roots spread quickly and will make new plants but it also flowers with small sprays of very tiny white blooms that will mature into small green berries the birds will then spread. When the plant matures it will have wicked spiky thorns that will easily tear your skin and go right through thin gloves to bite you! If you have cold winters enjoy it, it's extremely resilient. I don't know of anything that either harms or kills it except cold, an herbicide like roundup or a very determined gardener.

  • MaryAnne MaryAnne on Jun 20, 2013
    I think Jocelyne has it, fireweed, her link has a picture and it looks just like it!

  • Lynne Reis-Napier Lynne Reis-Napier on Jun 20, 2013
    There's no doubt in my mind that it's the Mexican Fire Weed; now just to see if it turns in the fall. I have asparagus fern so I know it isn't that, although I do see the resemblance. In the meantime, I'm just going to watch and see what it does and call it "Cousin It" LOL - Thanks again, everyone!

  • Diana Gashwiler Diana Gashwiler on Jun 23, 2013
    Can anyone tell me what the flower on the right side with the small white blooms is? I have some that looks like that but it grows about waist high. It is now blooming in Missouri. Thanks if anyone can tell me!

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 24, 2013
    @Diana Gashwiler: The plant on the right is a lacecap hydrangea. So great to see someone from Shelbina here on Hometalk. My mother's family is from Shelbyville.

  • Lynne Reis-Napier Lynne Reis-Napier on Jun 24, 2013
    Diana, that lacecap hydrangea is almost as tall as I am and I'm around 5'5" - I just love it.

  • Diana Gashwiler Diana Gashwiler on Jun 24, 2013
    Douglas Hunt: Thanks for the id! We just moved here from Chillicothe,Mo a few weeks ago. I am from the Kirksville area though and was a little familiar with this area. Shelbyville has a very pretty courthouse! I have attended the Bethel Octoberfest many times! Small world!