A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a very tall, feathery plant growing in the natural area around the lake. I hadn’t seen it before but soon learned it was an invasive weed called Dog Fennel. Now that I know what it is, I’ve noticed it growing along most roadways in the area.
Dog fennel a good name because the thread-like leaves really resemble fennel tops. That’s the only similarity because this weed contains alkaloids that can cause liver damage if ingested. Livestock avoid it. I’ve read that it also has an awful odor that deters rodents and insects.
Dog Fennel is found in the eastern U.S. and can grow up to 6-8 feet high. The plants in the picture are a lot taller than the Cattails, probably about 8 feet high. It spreads rapidly by seeds, but can’t survive mowing so Dog Fennel doesn’t often invade lawns.
Now that Dog Fennel has a toehold around the lake, I can probably expect more next year. I’m on the fence about that. From far away, it’s a pretty plant and if it chases away rodents, that’s a plus. I just don’t want it growing so close that it smells up the back yard.