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Weed/grass question.
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jun 12th, 2010 09:00 pm
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Dear Cynthia: Good for you! Backbreaking work it is, no doubt -- but worth the effort. One of the most serious ethical standards that I sought to meet in putting together the PP book was NOT to get on any campaign, NOT to go beyond available evidence, so as NOT to cause people to get all concerned over plants that they really wouldn't need to worry that much about. So that, when one is mentioned in there that you DO need to worry about, then indeed you ought to worry about it: vis., red clover for example.

And Kate, yes, I wrote the PP book specifically to address plants in the following countries: U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. These are the countries where I have the most students, and the book was written primarily in order to help my students.

You will find in examining the map given for each plant discussed, and in reading the short section under each plant's heading that gives the geographical distribution, that many, many plants are shared among all countries. This is because weed seeds go everywhere. They get into bales of imported hay; they stick to cardboard and wooden containers that are loaded onto ships; they are spread in bird poop; they can even blow across the English Channel or the Tasman Sea. So even if the book were only written with reference to the U.S., you would find you'd get a lot of good out of it.

I'm glad whenever anyone is motivated to learn more about the plants growing in their pasture. As I say in the text, I myself didn't know diddly until turning to that project; but then when I started to learn the plants, I found it to be utterly fascinating. The PP book gives a slug of poisonous broadleafs, another slug of poisonous or problematic grasses, but also gives every single grass I could find in order to get a photograph of it: because every horse owner ought to know their grasses, both good and bad. -- Dr. Deb

elda
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 Posted: Tue Aug 2nd, 2011 07:12 pm
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Tar weed and fiddle neck are two different weeds. Fiddle neck blooms in spring...and it has a yellow-orange flower at the top that curls around like a fiddle neck. It is very toxic. Tar weed is a smaller plant with small sticky leaves and gets very small light yellow flowers in August and if animals eat in a field with it in it they get dark sticky faces and legs. My goats and sheep will eat it but I don't know if it is toxic.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Aug 2nd, 2011 07:54 pm
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Elda, the common names of plants do not identify the plant. In other words, people in different parts of the world may call the same plant by two different names. The terms 'tar weed' and 'fiddleneck' are both applied, in the American west, to Amsinckia intermedia. It is not wrong or incorrect for anyone to call this plant either 'tarweed' or 'fiddleneck', since the common name (unlike the scientific name) can be applied wherever it has been traditional to apply it. The scientific name can only correctly be applied to one single kind of plant.

If you have two plants that you are familiar with, how we can straighten out what you do actually have would be for you to post a photograph of one or both of them. The photo will need to show the plant in flower for certain identification. Then we can tell you what the scientific name of the plant is, and also whether it is toxic. -- Dr. Deb

Shelly Forceville
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 Posted: Wed Aug 3rd, 2011 02:10 am
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Great thread. We get Paspalum quite a bit over here in the Summer, and that was my first thought when I heard the description of black sticky material. I had no idea that it was toxic. I guess I had better buy the PP book!

Shelley: Yes, Paspalum grass (Dallis grass, Caterpillar grass) is extremely toxic due to the black spores of fungi that grow all over it, particularly when there is a wet spell or in wet or humid-tropical climates. This is a good illustration of how totally unrelated plants -- Amsinckia is a broadleaf which is innately toxic, by virtue of alkaloids produced by the plant itself, vs. Paspalum which is a monocot/grass toxic by virtue of alkaloids produced by the spore-producing fungi that like to grow on the stem and blades. Both have been called 'tar weed' by different people, in different regions or countries, at different times. -- Dr. Deb

Last edited on Wed Aug 3rd, 2011 06:15 am by DrDeb

LynnF
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 Posted: Fri Aug 5th, 2011 07:23 pm
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I'm very glad this subject came up.  Texas is in the middle of an extreme drought and my pastures are completely dry.  The only things that are green are the weeds and the crab grass.  I knew that crab grass is good cattle food but wasn't sure about the horses until reading this thread.  I will have to buy crab grass seed from online seed companies because it is nowhere to be found in stores.  All they have is crab grass killer.  LOL  The "pasture mix" sold by Lowe's and Tractor Supply are ryegrass and fescue, which I know better than to plant.

judithlarner@yahoo.com
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 Posted: Fri Aug 30th, 2013 11:28 pm
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There are numerous tarweeds in California, and they are, yes, beloved by native plant people. They include a number of different genera, including Madia spp, Hemizonia spp, and Descurainea spp. They used to be common but have been knocked back by many factors. Including the dislike of horseowners.

Pollinators love them.  The seeds were a major food source for indigenous Californians and I still think they're pretty good. They used to be one of the major bloom plants of California's summers, but now the advent of yellow star thistle, capeweed, etc has helped them to disappear to the point where some are considered "uncommon."

I'd pay you to go out and collect the seed for me.....

Judith Lowry
Larner Seeds
415-868-9407


geedubya
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 Posted: Sat Aug 31st, 2013 12:09 am
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Hello all.  We live in Stanislaus County as well, and I believe that what we call tarweed, which does leave a sticky black coating on muzzles and hair if our horses are let out, is Holocarpha Virgata or Holocarpha Obonica.   In the past it was such a nuisance to clean we tried tailbags (to no avail), and hand chopping it before it flowered.  We thought that had reduced it some, but based on this year, with no grasshoppers, it is abundant.  Since we are leaving our horses in a dry lot around our barn due to diet control, it has not been an issue this year, except on the cow's coats.

Last edited on Sat Aug 31st, 2013 12:15 am by geedubya


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