Can you identify this (presumably) invasive plant?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I moved to a new house in December. The owners of 20 years were focused on fruit and vegetable gardening. I knew I would be in trouble when they offered me lily of the valley (which I declined). In the last week I have removed at least 300 from the roots, starting at the locations where I have placed new plants (much as I would rather not use it, I bought some Roundup today).

There are other mystery plants. I know that there are violets. On the bright side they had a weakness for my favorite spring crocus, Remembrance. On the other hand, the pictured plant is vigorously popping up in our 80 degree heat, and I don't know what it is.

Can anyone identify it for me (I'm already cringing)?

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Hazelcrest, IL(Zone 5b)

looks like daylilies

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I think you're right, because a neighbor told me they are orange in bloom. I've started trying to dig them out. It's very tough. Any suggestions?

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

As you have no doubt noticed, they have numerous white tubers (may not be technically correct) connected by thread-like roots. Any "tubers" left in the soil will produce a new plant. Use a garden fork to loosen up the soil. Sift through and get out all the tubers you can. You will miss some and they will sprout new plants, but they will be small and can be fairly easily removed as they will not have numerous tubers to start out. Also, immediately cutting re-sprouts below the soil line will deplete the energy stores of the tubers you missed after just a few cycles.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Yes, that's exactly what I noticed. Apparently the owner of 20 years asked the guy next door for some of these awful things. It's too bad he's in New Zealand because I can't kill him from Illinois.

Thank you greenthumb for the great advice. I'm on it!

Walkerton, VA(Zone 7a)

Well, Donna, at least they're edible!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)


Thanks for the reminder about the edibility. It has been over a decade since I've eaten any tubers and I don't recall what they tasted like, which means that at least they wern't terrible. The green flower buds I have had on a number of occasions. They require at least 20 minutes cooknig, and tast sort of like a cross between asparagus and green beans. I know the open flowers are dipped in batter and fried in some cultures, but I have never given that a try.

Walkerton, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the comments! I was trying to offer some encourgement to DonnaMack as she endures the horror of grubbing up all those tubers. Fortunately, here on the Mattaponi, our soil is sandy loam, and those tubers pull up easily; however, they do constitute a renewable resource if not completely eradicated.
Regarding edibility: Tubers cooked like new taters & dressed with butter salt & pepper are OK (I'd rather eat a fresh tater). Flower buds must be a good source of vitamins & dietary fiber and they're easier to harvest than the tubers. Still, I'd just as soon eat fresh green beans & asparagas. I've tried the tempura trick with the flowers and IMHO they're nothing more than a vehicle for the dipping sauce.
Cheers, all,

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, if anyone wants some tasty snacks I can certainly provide them!

Oracle , AZ(Zone 8b)

Why do you want to get rid if them? I thought day lilies were a good thing? I wouldn't mind some here but I figure what the deer wouldn't eat the javalinas would dig up.....

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Because they cut through and kill other plants! They are incredibly invasive!

Oracle , AZ(Zone 8b)

Why, those little devils! I have a problem here with hoarhound. It is usually pretty easy to pull up. It has been growing here on my property for a good while. I've been fighting it for just a couple of years so there are still jillions of seeds out there. I go out every few days to pull up any that have sprouted. It is a nice looking plant but the seeds really mess up my long haired cats and they are hard to get out of shoelaces, pant legs, sleeves, etc., etc. The seeds, not the cats........ I tried to make a tea out of the leaves...... Horrible stuff. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will eat it. Not insects, rabbits, deer, even the javalina won't mess with it. I just pretend that I'm doing some yoga stretches when I'm weeding it out. Works for me.....

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

@morknotmindy...there are daylilies and there are daylilies. The fancy pretty ones are better behaved and lots of people do like to grow them, but then there's a plain orange kind that spreads like crazy which is what this one here is. I'm not sure if the plain orange ones behave as badly out west as they do in eastern/southern climates or not--most likely they'd be a bit easier to control at least but if you want to try them I'd buy one of the pretty varieties anyway rather than the orange.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Thank you everyone. I dug them all out. And dear Mork, I realize that you didn't know about these things, so I thought I'd let you have a look. The worst ones to get after safely were the ones the previous owner had planted at the base of trees. Interestingly, the ones he had were obtained from a neighbor, in whose yard they are absolutely out of control. Have a look at these images:

Pic 1. The neighbor's tree swamped in ditchlilies. They are fairly close to my property, so I just reach over and tear them out.

Pic 2. The tree you just saw is to the right of the picture. The person with the brick house planted the ditch lilies. As you can see, they have jumped the fence and moved into the neighbor's yard. Poor people - they moved in perhaps three months ago.

Pic 3. So, despite having a fence (I'm lucky, because I can't really see it from my yard unless I go to the back of mine and look around the corner) they are inundated with these things, which are going to slowly creep across their yard until it takes it over.

My neighbor on the other side is also allowing them to creep over, but I reach under the fence, take a dandelion digger, and get them from the roots! Also, their fence is covered with clematis coming from mine, as well as shrubs, so I see very little of the chain link fence.

This message was edited Apr 21, 2012 8:14 AM

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Oracle , AZ(Zone 8b)

Whoa! Now I can see where they can really get out of hand...... Looks like you will be kept busy every year keeping them in check.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Whoa? LOL! They are not bad if you get them early. The unsuspecting neighbor is probably going to spend many hours over many days getting them out. The house that is spreading them is probably beyond hope. Interesting, because the rest of his yard is so neat and tidy it could be called manicured.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Getting them out early is the key. Although the blooms were pretty, I got rid of all the daylilies I had planted as they take up too much good real estate. They were in only about 3 years, and when dug up they had the largest cluster of strong roots.

somewhere, PA

I have them on my property. I dug them out of a couple areas but I still get an odd one here and there that must be coming from a little piece of root. There's a huge bed running along the stone wall at the front of our property I'd love to get rid of but its just such a daunting task! I dug them out along a long/tall set of concrete steps up to the mailbox 'cause they were growing into the concrete. That was a couple years ago and they are right back where they were. sigh.


Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I am still digging little wanna bes from an area to which the previous owner transplanted them. And now I realize I have three burning bushes. I would never grow those awful things. You should see the birds attack the berries. I can already see them popping up all over forest preserves. The awful things have been in for more than 20 years. I would love to pull them out and put in viburnums.

Ditch lilies, burning bush, Crimson Pygmy barberries, violets, wild strawberries, lily of the valley. That's what I inherited. Along with some of the ugliest hostas you have ever seen. At least 50.

Well, the ditch lilies are gone, the barberries are gone, the hostas are down to a handful, and I'm still digging lily of the valley, but the wild strawberries (in two colors!) will always be with me. I have introduced a lot of hardy geraniums to try to outcompete them.

somewhere, PA

We've got wild strawberries in just the last couple years. They came out of no where and now are in big patches on the lawn. We also have a new japanese grass that's just covering the field. I am trying to mow it before it flowers but its got a really strong foothold.


North Westport, MA

This is the first time I ever heard of day lilies being a problem. One man's bread is another's poison I guess. I live on a River and there is a stone wall along it. I love the day lilies for erosion control. They are a very popular Permaculture plant also because of their many uses. Pollination and food being two others.

Now Bishop's weed.....that's another story.......although it too is edible.
I have found that for any weed, using cardboard mulch, the more the better, works well. I am a senior citizen and can't dig like I used to. The cardboard not only keeps the weeds at bay it is a good source of biomass. The worms love it! If you live in the City where neighbors may not like the looks of it you can put any other organic mulch over it and no one is the wiser.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Did you see the picture from April 21 above? The problem is that they move from one yard to another. It is fine that you live on a river and they are on your property. Here they are on other peoples' property and spread relentlessly from yard to yard. There is a significant difference.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

The ditch lily buds are peppery when you eat them fresh off the plant. I guess one could chop them in salad!

West Babylon, NY(Zone 7a)

I grow day lilies in areas where most bulbs die, so for me they are a welcome plant. Mine sometimes gets double petaled flowers, but usually they are single flowers, the sphinx moths love to visit them for nectar.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Those don't sound like the invasive orange ditch lilies that I wrote about. Did you see the April 21 picture above?

Madison, WI

These are the common day lily...hemerocallus ...from which many GORGEOUS hybridized day lilies have been developed. PLEASE be aware that the hybrids DO NOT increase by stolons..which are the long, pale shoots that grow horizontally underground to create new plants. (Such plants are many, and called "stoloniferous", so if you want to avoid being celuged by anything, avoid those with that description). See below to see how to remove common daylilies.

But first, I want to sing their praises as one of the plants that add a lot of beauty to our highway landscapes. Unaided by any hands, you could conceivably see them as the proverbial "Lillies of the field", their leaves looking like green waterfalls, waving in the breezes, and the flowers adding their bright touch of orange when in bloom...the whole often added to by sumac trees. And for difficult gardens, they are easy to grow in many areas, with at least part sun, to bloom also. I've seen them used as foundation plants to good advantage.

But to eradicate them, dig around the plant, not too closely, and carefjully raise up the whole plant, checking to see if any of the stolons are broken off. Count these broken ends, then dig around to find that number of broken-off pieces; DON'Tpull them, as this will leave behind broken-off pieces...stolens, which are meant to grow beneath the soil to new areas and propagate the plant...and will do so. They are sturdy survivors, and so are competitive. So I do not permit them to grow in my gardened areas. DO NOT allow them to grow with hybrid daylilies, as they will win out over your purchases.

Incidentally, I do not think the fat little tubers will propagate the plant; in my experience...(wherein I tried to get extra plants by planting them and they did not grow nor even live; they may be water-retainers for the plants, which do pretty well in droughts) is the long pale runners...stolens...that are the only roots to be cautious of. So be sure to get all of these when you dig up the common daylily.

On the other hand, the Lemon Lily is a yellow day lily...not a recent hybrid...but a spring bloomer, and a bit more delicate. It will grow rather slowly andis not conpetitive.

So open up to the specie and enjoy it in it's wild places, and check out the hybrids !

I'll try to put some photos of my hybrid; I'm not sure if this is how to do it:

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, interesting. A couple of blocks down a person allowed these "lilies of the field" to tale over his entire one acre lot. Due to the lack of rain they all burned. Looks horrible. Not opening up to that. I don't want junk highway plants on my property. If you do, that's your call. You can certainly sing their praises. I do not.

My inconsiderate neighbors, who do not tend to their yards, allow them to go into others' property. See the April 21 picture above. I solve this problem by reaching under the fence and ripping them out. I think that I should have a choice of what plants grow in my yard. Not opening up to that.

I do know the difference between hybridized daylilies and ditch lilies. Everyone does not like daylilies. I personally do not.

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