Since spring I have a super nice looking plant on my balcony. I keep watering it to see what it is but so far it keeps growing but I still have no idea what it might be.

Any ideas? Here is a picture:

This is the plant.

I live in Western Germany in a city. So you know the climate zone...


After weeks of watering it, it finally showed some buds! Maybe this helps?

Plant with buds


Buds have opened:

enter image description here


  • Have the buds opened up up? Pictures of the flowering heads would help, both from the top and from the side. Breaking apart the heads and taking pictures of the individual flowers might be helpful too.
    – Yewge
    Aug 30 '19 at 14:18
  • Updated my post.
    – Ron
    Sep 1 '19 at 7:42

I really don't think it is any type of solidago. Perhaps horseweed (Conzya sp., or Erigeron sp. depending on which plant taxonomist you talk to), based on the branching of the inflorescence, the vase-like "flowers" (the involucre, more specifically), and the seeming overall ruderal aspect of the thing as Stephie suggested. Or maybe a fleabane (Erigeron in the narrower sense of that genus)? It's not any of the horseweeds I'm familar with from eastern North America, and I couldn't find a flora or checklist of Germany or northern Europe, but I would guess there are several horseweeds both native and exotic to where you live.

Edit: actually, maybe some sort of fireweed (Erechtites)? The leaves in the first picture make me think that more than Conzya/Erigeron, although it's not the fireweed I'm familiar with (hieraciifolius)

  • This is a real enigma. It calls out to be a hawkweed, but the flowers have not opened enough to confirm. It is clearly a composite flower and yellow, how about Hieracium piloselloides? Sep 1 '19 at 8:21
  • Is there milky sap? Presence/absence of that would rule out some things (no milky sap = no Hieracium)I’m not sure I see yellow. Maybe. The involucral bracts look wrong for a Hieracium, but the picture isn’t high enough resolution for me to see much detail zooming in. Close up pictures of a flowering head would help, if there are still any (from the top and from the side, and also if you could break apart the head and get a picture of the individual flowers).
    – Yewge
    Sep 2 '19 at 12:08
  • Looks like from the third picture all the flowers have gone to seed, though. Do you remember what color the petals were?
    – Yewge
    Sep 2 '19 at 12:16

Might be a snapdragon. Example: https://images.app.goo.gl/wpqHhWGSDzdNNrHW8

You’ll know for sure when it blooms!

  • updated my post. we have buds now :)
    – Ron
    Aug 25 '19 at 8:08
  • Definitely not a snapdragon now :)
    – Daria
    Aug 30 '19 at 0:18

It seems you have a specimen of the genus Solidago (goldenrod), most likely our local S. vigaurea, the European goldenrod.

As a ruderal species, they are quick to colonize “bare” spots, and a window box with possibly somewhat depleted soil is a good fit. Your post is a good example of “one gardener’s weed, another gardener’s treasure” (many would have pulled the plant already), but so is the whole Solidago clan: Some are prized for their decorative flower in a garden bed, while their cousin S. canadensis is an invasive neophyte that’s blacklisted in Switzerland.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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