Name That Plant

The correct answer is d. American burnweed (Erechtites hieraciifolia). It is also known as pilewort and fireweed.

burnweed in bloom

American burnweed with characteristic fluffy seed heads in late summer

It is a summer annual that grows from seed, mainly in disturbed soil like that of garden beds. It grows to heights between 1 1/2 and 10 feet. American burnweed is reputed to be one of the first to sprout after a brushfire, hence the references to fire in some of the common names.

Shallow rooted, American burnweed is easy to pull up. Even if you are in the wildflower camp and like the look of the plant, you should pull it up before it flowers. American burnweed is a prolific producer of seeds that are spread by wind. That’s how it arrived in your yard. Failure to pull it up before it sets seeds will mean a healthy and dispersed crop of these plants next year — perhaps more of these weeds or wildflowers than you had in mind. If it has already spread its seeds, you can let the first frost kill off the plant.

Weed of the Week –- American Burnweed, PennState Extension
American burnweed, University of Maryland Extension

burnweed leaves

The leaves of American burnweed have toothed margins