I found these two plants growing wild on a mound of earth left over from building my house. Can anyone help me identify it? Is it worth keeping or is it a weed? I live in Ireland if that makes any difference.enter image description here

  • 1
    Looks like some kind of ornamental grass. The keep-or-ditch is entirely up to you and your garden plans.
    – Stephie
    Mar 26, 2017 at 12:32

2 Answers 2


Very likely Job's Tears a.k.a. Coix Lachryma-Jobi. Odd small but well-behaved ornamental grass (as pointed out by @Stephie) which has the odd characteristic of producing a hard shiny seed about the size of a pea with a clear hole through the seed, making it useful for stringing a necklace. Use strong twine or you may find yourself shouting "Oh me beads!" as they spill in all directions across your tile floors.


Was there a bulb?

If not, it likely won't be ID-able at this point. If no bulb, it's probably a grass or a sedge - but it could be anything from an ornamental to a corn plant grown from an animal's droppings.

As far as weediness goes, you'll have to observe its behavior until it's IDed. The concept of weeds is evolving. Dandelions, plantain and purslane were once dreaded invaders but are now welcome garden companions. OTOH if it's a traditional garden you're going for, treat an unknown as a weed until you have a positive ID.

If there was a bulb, post a pic. I'm curious if its origin at a build site means it germinated in tilled, low-nutrient soil, and if that origin caused a strange vegetative growth.

  • Hi Paul, they don't have bulbs just roots, the leaves have a serrated edge on it and are very very strong. the pile of earth the they grew on is all good quality topsoil scraped back for the building work. Don't know if this helps.
    – jshea2007
    Mar 27, 2017 at 13:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.