Anyone know what this plant is?

Hi everyone. I was wondering if anyone knows what this plant is? It seemed to suddenly appear in the forest clearings where I go for walks. I am based in south Burgundy.

Japanese knotweed :thinking:

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I think it is a phytolaque aka raisin d’amerique, it is toxic and shouldn’t be encouraged.

Nope, we unknowingly bought a house with a huge knotweed infestation (10 x 10m approx) I know it well, this is not that! After 5 years we are almost on top of it and can think about doing something with the wasteland left from our digging / weedkilling / every other thing we’ve read about!

Phytolacca americana is its botanical name, it is an invasive pest (and designated as such) and it is a perennial which sneakily disappears in winter so you have to dig it up while it is still visible. It is toxic to most mammals.


Thank you Veronique! I did think it looked quite sinister.

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good grief… what rotten luck.

I looked up its English name


Commonly known as Virginian Pokeweed. Don’t go near it!


I know! We, in a lot of ways, did good by house hunting in March to see the worst of everything but all we saw were some dry ‘sticks’. The next year We had the quite lovely ‘hedge’ that did give a lot of privacy (from our far away, lovely neighbours!) I posted a pic on my (cloth nappy) forum and asked and got the awful reply. It has been a huuuuuuge battle. The first couple of spring / summers dh spent at least half of his work time each week digging up the roots. It upsets me thinking how much further on we’d be with the house if we didn’t have it.

In the UK by law you have to notify the buyers of your land that there is Japanese knotweed present. If you don’t you can be liable for professional clean up costs. I don’t know if the same applies in france?

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No it doesn’t! And most here are woefully uninformed about it. I’ve done huge amounts of research and it is a huge problem even here in 24. Where it is on the river bits break off and send new shoots downsteam etc. We’ve looked at other houses for my MIL in the village with it growing. It is probably a blessing that we have no more than about 50cm of soil over solid limestone here, we are convinced that has saved our problem as while it can spread sidewise it can’t do it’s 7m down growth.

Cheers @vero

I’ve noticed a clump of this during recent weeks and had been wondering if it might be the dreaded JapKnot stuff…

Glad it isn’t that, but it sounds almost as bad… :roll_eyes:

We are on limestone too…and it’s not a solid rock. The little buggers can get roots into cracks, so stay vigilant! But well done to OH, as that’s a huge amount of work. I think when the world comes to an end it will be knotweed and cockroaches that remain… it’s sad to see so much of it these days along the streams and rivers.

You are quite right, and it undulates as well, some places are more like 1m deep and other places the stone comes out of the ground! Enormous job, there were times we were both out there with both teens as well! It is now at the stage where we are just picking off a few heads to stop it getting any goodness to grow, will probably have to dig again next spring and are thinking at that point we can maybe black plastic it then deck over it or something. We have read if you leave it down for 20 years it will die!

For plant identification you can download an app or take a photo on your smart phone, open the picture in photos (powered by google) and click on the icon 2nd from the right (a little square) and google will identify it for you and most other things to. We found the breed of our cat!
Of course Vero has already identified this one but just mentioned for future use.


You can, but you do get false results. And it doesn’t give the brain cells any exercise.

(Personally, having spent 30+ years learning plants, fungi and so on in latin, english and now french I am sad to be replaced by an app!)


A neighbour uses an app… whereas I use my books, brain cells etc…

On the odd occasion that we find an “unknown” when we are walking together (masked and distanced) she will take the photo… while I mutter on about what it might or might not be… :thinking: :thinking:

Then we discuss and I double check back at the house… :grinning: :grinning:

I could equally say the same on swimming pools and other topics that I have knowledge of. The point I was making is there are those of us who dont know plants so its a useful tool.


Indeed it is… almost on a par with a friend who waves her mobile at the night sky… fun and informative… and the chat makes me work on my French…

these various apps give folk a great deal of pleasure as well as being useful…
:smiley: :smiley: