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I'm interested in identifying this weed so as to find a method of controlling it. This weed grows in the same location each year.

enter image description here enter image description here

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I recognize this plant as I was weeding one out today. It is Creeping bellflower, Campanula rapunculoides. Although many Campanula are welcome additions to the garden and well behaved this one is not.

Identification points:

  • hairy stems
  • heart-shaped, irregularly toothed leaves
  • white tubers can be found by digging up the area
  • tubular blue flowers on a long stem in late summer

Looks like this

enter image description here
Courtesy Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food

This plant is deceptive as it looks innocuous when small. A native of Europe it is naturalized all over North America. In late summer it sends up a stalk with the familiar blue trumpet shaped flowers.

It does not stay where you find it and can spread out of control. It seems to favour moister soils but I have seen it contained in dry dusty soil under house eaves.

It can be stopped by digging a 6 to 8 inch (12- 16 cm) deep ditch and lining it with pond liner (40 mm EPDM, not pool grade). Backfill,top with flagstone and hope for the best as "eliminating it is nearly impossible".

Of course chemical controls such as Roundup are available but are not a guarantee.

More labour intensive but organic control methods such as smothering with paper or cardboard are described here.

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  • Interesting, its a new one on me, never heard of it before.
    – Bamboo
    May 8 '16 at 12:21
  • Wow, kevinsky...excellent. But I would never do the plastic or pond liner gig. Just getting after these guys when they are small before allowed to go to seed should control them easily in a couple of years. Good ole hula hoe! I still have doubts but...this is really good!! Perhaps if we could get the op to put something in the picture for scale?
    – stormy
    May 9 '16 at 21:43
  • Now I am almost sure you are correct...kudos kev!
    – stormy
    May 9 '16 at 21:45
  • @stormy the tubers are deep underground and it makes thousands of seeds per plant every fall. That's why it is hard to eradicate.
    – kevinskio
    May 9 '16 at 21:45
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My guess is plantain. plantain Where is this location? Do you remember the flowers? If you don't allow these guys to go to seed you'll be able to pretty much control them in one year or two. Pulling or hoeing while they are small. Don't wait for the flowers. If you could find a decomposed organic mulch, pile at least 2" and no seeds will be able to germinate. Along with dandelions, plantain is a pretty cool weed to have around if SHTF! Grins... healthiest weeds

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  • it's not plantain. Plantain does not have hairy stems, It's leaves are rounded not pointed.
    – kevinskio
    May 7 '16 at 21:17
  • Hi kevinsky, did you look at the photo profile I included? There are leaves that ARE pointed and I tried to find a hairy underside. What do you think it could be?
    – stormy
    May 7 '16 at 22:10
  • The title says urban Minnesota, so location is established; and was when you asked. I have several possible contenders but can't make an exact match; but I agree that plantain is unlikely to be right, since I know that pretty well. If it's truly perennial, blue violet seemed closest among what I looked at, but not close enough to make an answer.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 7 '16 at 22:31
  • Plantain has veins in each leaf that start at the stem. This plant has a more complex pattern on the leaf. The stems of the larger plants are dark, plantain has green or white stems
    – kevinskio
    May 7 '16 at 22:38

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