Not all weeds are created equal. While many weeds don’t have positive aspects, quickweed is one of the few that can be used for more than filling your garbage can once plucked from the garden.
While this weed goes by many names, quickweed is the most common and is a nod to the plants ability to self-propagate at great speeds.
Continue reading to learn ways to rid your garden beds of quickweed and all the ways this plant can be useful once harvested.
The history of quickweed can be traced back to the eighteenth century. It’s found worldwide, and each country gives it a unique name that describes an aspect of this unique plant.
Quickweed originated in the country of Peru. In the late 1700s, it was taken to London. From there, it quickly spread throughout Great Britain, Ireland, and into the rest of the world. It was used medically and in unique culinary dishes.
Other Names for Quickweed
Quickweed goes by many names, most commonly called Gallant Soldier or Potato Weed.
But Malawi wins the award for giving this plant the most unique name, Mwamuna Aligone, which translates to “my husband is sleeping.”
Soldiers of Queen, Kew Weed, Shaggy Soldier, and Peruvian Daisy are other names given in different countries around the world. Each name describes a use or an attribute of the plant.
Getting to Know Quickweed
Quickweed is a member of the Asteraceae Family, one of the largest flowering plant families. Another common plant included in this family is the sunflower.
How to Identify in Your Garden Beds
Known for its dainty white flowers and vibrant green foliage, quickweed is hard to miss.
Each flower has 4-8 white ray-florets surrounding a plump yellow center. The foliage resembles a basil plant, and the stem can be hairy, earning yet another name, Hairy Galinsoga.
Quickweed can grow to heights of 30 inches. They generally emerge in the spring and germinate all season, usually overtaking gardens and flower beds alike!
Benefits of Quickweed
Believe it or not, this invasive plant can be used for making home remedies or adding a unique flavor to your favorite dish.
It’s important to remember to harvest before spraying any other weeds around the quickweed you plan to use.
What is Considered a Weed?
The dictionary defines a weed as “a plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.”
This definition does a great job describing quickweed and how many backyard gardeners experience this commonly encountered plant.
Unless you forage for plants or grow medicinal herbs, chances are you don’t want quickweed growing among your other cultivated plants.
Issues and Potential Damages Quickweed May Cause
Quickweed is highly invasive and spreads very quickly (hence the name).
When your cultivated garden is overrun with unwanted weeds, it can stunt the growth of the plants you want by using up the water and nutrients in the soil.
If you choose to grow quickweed for medicinal and culinary uses, it’s important to keep it in a space of its own so that it doesn’t take over and cause harm to your other plants.
Getting Rid of Quickweed
Quickweed can be a frustrating nuisance to have in your garden. Luckily you have multiple options for deciding how to eradicate it.
If carried out repeatedly during the summer, removing by hand is easy because of its shallow roots and taller stem. As long as you get a tight grip on the base of the plant by the root system, it doesn’t take a strong tug to remove it from the soil.
Once pulled, be sure to dispose of it in a trash bag. If added to your compost pile or thrown in another area of your yard, chances are you’ll have quickweed popping up all over the place once the wind blows!
If you’re considering this natural option, check out our post on Weeding Tools.
Another way to rid your garden of quickweed without using weed killer is by mulching. It’s important to do this before germination.
The first step is to lay heavy black weed barrier fabric or newspaper down over the unwanted plants. Once the initial layer of weed barrier has been laid, you can cover it in mulch to keep it nice and tidy and prevent the barrier from flying around in the wind.
If you choose to use newspaper for this method, be sure to wet it before laying the mulch so that it doesn’t blow away in the wind and isn’t slippery while walking on it.
If you’re looking for a quicker option that doesn’t require extra manual labor, weed killer could be an excellent solution for you.
If you aren’t keen on chemicals, check out our post on How to Kill Weeds with Vinegar. You may be surprised to learn that you can make your own weed killer with items in your pantry.
Another excellent option from our friends at Hoss Tools is this Vegetable and Ornamental Weeder. This solution is safe to use around your garden plants and can kill quickweed even after it’s germinated.
How to Enjoy in the Kitchen
Quickweed has a flavorful aroma that is similar to celery. Its taste reminds many of artichoke. When used in dishes such as soup or dip, you won’t be able to miss its unique flavor.
This versatile plant can be dehydrated and added to soup or fried fresh with other spices to create a type of chip to scoop dips like guacamole or salsa.
Chicken Soup with Galinsoca
One of the more traditional dishes that call for quickweed is called Ajaico Con Guascas (Chicken Soup with Galinsoca). This hearty soup is much different than traditional chicken soup that we are used to in the cold wintery months.
Wild Green Cakes
Wild Green Cakes are a unique and easy way to try this plant in a meal. These can be used as a side dish to dip into your favorite Hispanic dip, or if made larger, they can be served on a bun like a burger.
Quickweed has been used for centuries throughout the world in folk medicine. The most common use is topically to help heal different dermatological issues such as eczema. Simply rub the plant onto the affected area.
Another topical use is to heal and soothe nettle stings and aid in coagulating blood in scrapes and cuts. For best results, you’ll want to cover the sting or cut with the juices of the quickweed.
Wrapping Up Quickweed
It’s surprising that quickweed, which can be a gardener’s worst enemy, can be used in so many different ways!
If you were ever to come up against this plant in your garden, be sure to keep in mind the many uses before you consider eradicating it completely.
You may have more questions on weeds or useful tools to help remove them from your garden. If so, be sure to check out our Common Weeds page for in-depth information on all things weeds!