Plant Identification

What goes in the Weed Guide and what is here in the Plant Guide is completely arbitrary. You may have something in the weed guide that you love in your garden and similarly you may have something invasive or even with an RHS AGM (Award of Garden Merit) which is annoying in your garden. Decide what you like and don't like! Check both pages if you're looking for an ID. (I have lots of plants to add here, working on it)


I saw this yesterday (2-9-2017) in the walled carpark round the corner from me. We also saw it on the Chelsea Fringe Weed Walk (but I guess I was too tired to take a pic); it was in bloom then and it's still in bloom. There were bees going into the flowers but my camera could not capture that in focus sadly.


Acanthus Mollis (bear's breeches)

these are along the Regents Canal near me, I can't imagine they self-seeded, I think there must have been some guerilla gardening going on, they look spectacular, getting lots of sun, my garden acanthus spinosus (spiny bear's breeches) is poor in comparison and a favourite of the slugs, haven't had a flower this year

acanthus mollis

bindweed to the right

acanthus mollis

Agastache anisata

not a weed after all, end of June I wasn't sure what this was but the pic below, end of July does look like agastache anisata and it smells strongly of anise

I think this is the pot above a year and a half later but will confirm as it develops, agastache in the middle, aquilegia to the right

agastache anisata

it has turned into a magnificent self-seeder, original plant on the right, large self-seeded plant between the paving slabs in the middle, a smaller self-seeded plant between the slabs on the left and a self-seeded plant in the pot on the left, the bees are loving the flowers on all of them

agastache anisata

anemone Harmony Orchid

very small seedling, I was thinking aquilegia? hardy geranium? but it became clear when it got a flower bud

and here is that seedling 2 months later

two weeks later and it has a nodding flower bud

new Anemones

pics coming

Apple Mint

Thanks for Michael who identified this via FB. I saw this at Spitalfields Farm in East London, August 2017.

a close-up of the flowers

Aquilegia  please see the Weed Guide


aucuba flower

ornamental Bacopa (Chaenostoma cordatum)

I saw this on the pavement in Harley St, London W1 on 31-10-2017. I presume it self-seeded from a flower in a pot or window box.

ornamental bacopa Chaenostoma cordatum


often confused with green alkanet which also has blue flowers (see them below in the Comfrey pic)

borage flower

this has self-seeded (from my garden) in the garden next door


borage buds

borage leaves, buds just forming in the centre

Calendula (Pot Marigold)

very distinctive curved seeds

calendula seedling

calendula seedling

calendual seedlings

calendual seedlings

calendula seedlings and small plants


calendulas in bloom




I have this in the weed guide as it self-seeds a bit like a weed, top and bottom of the cyclamen coum below are some seedlings, the bottom ones look like green alkanet

close-up of the top seedling from the pot above

Mountain Cornflower (Centaurea Montana)

centaurea montana

with the flower fully open

centaurea montana

young plants, mid-March

centaurea montana

the top two in the pic below are self-seeded centaurea montana

the bottom one is a globe thistle, both plants are extremely similar at this point, the prickly edge on the globe thistle is the determing characteristic

the terracotta pots below are the same as those above

bottom left pot: pansy/viola , bottom right pot:  teasel? forget-me-not ? willowherb

and just to compare the centaureas, this is lesser knapweed (centaurea nigra) from the Weed Guide

lesser knapweed

centaurea nigra (lesser knapweed)



Don't think it's considered a weed but it is a self-seeder you may find appearing in the garden. I originally planted seeds for this two years ago. These two suddenly appeared this week (late August).


Cerinthe is the large-leaved plant on the right. The others look like pansies or violas. I don't recall planting them specifically in this pot but I've certainly planted plenty of seeds for them in the past and they do self-seed.


on the left below is a cerinthe seedling, they are quite identifiable from their earliest appearance, unlike the red-tinged seedlings on the right which I'm not sure if they are verbena bonariensis or wild basil (both grow nearby) but will update when they are more identifiable

Chinese Lanterns

I don't consider this a weed but I include it to help identify it in case it is mistaken for a weed. It has a way of blending into the background in the spring/summer before the amazing lanterns appear. I forgot what it was this year and almost pulled it out as a weed and I've had it in my garden for 10 years! And of course if you do pull it up as a weed you'll miss the lanterns.

1. Chinese Lantern seedling

chinese lantern

2. small Chinese Lantern plant

chinese lantern

2a. Chinese Lantern before it flowers

chinese lantern

3. Chinese Lantern with white flower

chinese lantern flower

4. full size Chinese Lantern plants, with white flowers

chinese lanterns

5. Chinese Lantern with orange "lanterns"

I took this photo in October last year. There's nothing like this mass of orange lanterns at the end of the season. And leaving them, they'll self-seed. (the large-leaved plants are bergenia)

chinese lanterns

Clematis Montana

clematis montana pink


before the flowers appear, just wanted to capture the look of those upright textured leaves

purple flowers the bees adore

comfrey plant (on the right) with buds before it bloomed, green alkanet on the left, also a bit on the right with blue flowers


Cordyline Australis

I saw this nearby. I'd never seen one with flowers, but actually . .

cordyline australis

they are berries

cordyline australis


Thank you to Michael (via Facebook) for an id of coriander. I also saw this at Spitalfields Farm. It's actually quite small and thought something related to hairy bittercress, although it isn't that but it is similar in size.

close-up of the flowers which seem to only have petals halfway round, very distinctive

Cornflower seedlings

all cornflower seedlings aside from that larger grass-like one on the right - something indeterminate from the bird seed

cornflower seedlings

cornflower seedling

Milkflower Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lacteus

I have never seen a flower, or any distinguishing feature, on this shrub in the garden next door but recently I noticed  there's one that blooms and produces seeds nearby so that could be where this came from and the seedling in that pot below.

This cotoneaster lacteus nearby has those distinctive leaves.

cotoneaster lacteus

and when it has the red berries

cotoneaster lacteus



delphinium seedlings

a few weeks later

delphinium seedlings

and a few weeks later still, have transplanted them into bigger pots but that little one in the foreground in a small pot - obviously the result of a very late germination, so much smaller than all the others but the seeds were sown at the same time

dephinium seedlings

another seedling appeared in this pot, very furry/hairy leaves and stem

an unpdate of the plant above, a month or so later, now about 29 cm tall, sadly consumed by slugs after I planted it in a flowerbed

this is another batch of seedlings, extremely long time to get going, wanted to show how the third leaf, ie the first after the 2 seed leaves, has that distinctive shape seen on the young seedlings above

this self-seeded in a pot (the one with the suspected groundsel from the front wall), shown below with the unknowns

Marguerite Daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens)

arhyranthemum frutescens marguerite daisy

close-up of the flat leaves

marguerite daisy arhyranthemum frutescens

Mexican Fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus)

March 2017 I first noticed this and didn't know what it was. I tried to research plants with this leaf shape, which is distinctive, but didn't get very far.

erigeron karvinskianus

April 2017

a few weeks later into April, not much change

at some point I thought it must be erigeron and the lower leaves must be differently shaped, nothing else made sense

the buds are looking a bit like daisy-like

It's now clearly erigeron. The early leaves at the base aren't even visible anymore and it has those distinctive small daisy-like flowers.

erigeron karvinskianus

Euryops pectinatus, grey-leaved eurypos

euryops pectinatus

euryops pectinatus

Fatsia Japonica

the flowers have finished and the seeds are forming at this time of year (November)

fatsia japonica

Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles)

this is in bloom mid-December

flowering quince

Globe Thistle (Echinops)

an established plant from August 2013

echinops (globe thistle)

some young plants (on the left) 3 from the garden centre (front right), lesser knapweed (back left) March 2014

echinops and lesser knapweed

see the globe thistle seedlings above compared with the centaurea montana

Foxglove seedlings (and 1 lupin seedling on the left)

think that's a forget-me-not to the left, then a foxglove seedling then small pots of foxglove seedlings with a taller seedling on the right which I'm not sure of

Grass-like plants from bird seed

Green Alkanet

I also have this in the Weed Guide but worth showing in this Plant Identification section as I absolutely love it and the bees love it and it blooms early before other plants. A wonderful flowering plant.


November must be the time of year for hebe to bloom as I've noticed a few covered with purple flowers






white hebe

I don't know why I never took notice of hebes before but this year (2017) I'm seeing a lot of them. I guess when not so much is in bloom they stand out. Actually I think this one is the same as one above.


Honeysuckle leaves

I'm fascinated (and annoyed) by plants that have differently shaped leaves on the same plant. It can make identification very difficult. This new shoot on the honeysuckle has some very different leaves on it.

honeysuckle leaves

a piece of the honeysuckle broke off, good chance to show it up close

honeysuckle leaves

Thank you to Jacqui who suggested this self-seeder was honeysuckle as well.

Nov 2015

April 2016 it has another stem and I repotted it. It is looking more honeysuckle-ish.

Hollyhock seedling

I know these seedlings so well. Until those textured leaves appear the first leaves can be mistaken for different things, esp annual mercury.

hollyhock seedling

below are some hollyhock seedlings from seed I collected - a better, if less controlled, result is from the hollyhocks self-seeding themselves

it was taking so long I threw in some free tomato seeds I got from Heinz so the other seedlings are tomatoes, far left verbascum thapsus which self-seeded and the very small symmetrical seedlings (also self-seeded) on the top row look like snapdragons

hollyhock seedlings



iris sprouts

Japanese Anemone

Japanese anemone

Japanese anemone leaves, similar to wood avens although they are a completely different family and genus. Some find this plant invasive. Mine's in the shade so maybe that keeps it under control.

I saw this white Japanese anemone at Christ Church Gardens, Spitalfields (14-9-2017). It's what I think of as a "Frankenstein" plant; they appear to be put together from different plants. There's a mallow there amongst the Japanese anemone. If you don't realise there are 2 plants growing together it can be confusing, especially if you're trying to identify something.

white japanese anemone

Jasminum beesianum

This is in the garden next door, in flower May 2017. Thanks to Debbie (on FB) who identified this.

Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa)

jerusalem sage Phlomis fruticosa

Lupin seedlings

very distinctive leaves making id easy, or at least once the set of leaves after the seed leaves appear

lupin seedlings

I don't know exactly what happened to the middle seedling on the top row below, looks like the leaves were bitten off, assume by a pigeon but no other damage evident

lupin seedlings

Lycium barbarum (goji berry/wolfberry/Duke of Argyll's Tea Tree)

Reader Kate shared these photos of a shrub she is finding invasive. Thanks to the RHS forum for suggesting the goji berry id. It is known under various other names as well.


this has flowers in late winter


The mahonia (on the right next to the half-barrel) was here when I moved in so I don't know what variety but always yellow wonderfully scented flowers in the winter.

Viewed from the other side, bottom left is a small self-seeded mahonia. I've not seen one self-seeding - didn't know they spread like that. The large mahonia is just beyond the evergreen.

back garden

close-up of that shrub


Milk Thistle

I love thistles, especially milk thistle with those great flowers.

1. I gathered seeds from this seedhead

milk thistle seedhead

2. excellent germination

milk thistle seedlings

3. these two self-seeded, those small true leaves on the right seedling are the first indication of what plant it is

a close-up of that seedling a few days later

milk thistle seedling

4. the full-grown plants with those great flowers which bees love

milk thistle



another type of mint in the bottom pot (nepeta top pot and pot to the right)

a month later, a type of mint with that distinctive smell

Morning Glory

1. middle of August

2. couple weeks later, partly eaten by something

3. looks like bindweed or morning glory, I did have morning glory in that position a couple years ago, maybe it self-seeded

4. definitely morning glory

morning glory


Thank you to the RHS forum who helped me identify this as nemesia, a garden flower which I've never grown so wasn't that familiar with it. I saw this in central London (Sept 2016) growing in a crack between paving stones and was quite curious. I thought it must be a weed to grow and survive in those conditions but turns out is a garden escapee.

pink flowered weed

Nepeta (catnip/catmint)

the usual nepeta (garden catmint) from the garden centre (Nepeta faassenii) has purple flowers and is sold as a garden plant but it's still attractive to cats - my cats love it


close-up of the flowers


 "catnip" (nepeta cataria) with white flowers which I grew from seed, some cats like it and some couldn't care less! just when I was trying to establish this Jeffrey went mad for it

cat with catnip

close-up of the flowers



this is the purple-flowered nepeta after the flowers have wilted but wanted to focus on the leaves (on the right some lesser knapweed flowers), also see the nepeta photos above under Mint


this pot has nepeta in the middle but masses of willowherb seedlings, one with a pink flower bud on the right


another nepeta sprout

this nepeta self-seeded in a pot

Nigella seedlings

nigella seedlings very early

then those distinctive leaves appear

nigella seedlings

Oenothera (also see evening primrose on the Weed page)

this self-seeded, I thought it was verbena bonariensis as the leaves looked like it to me but suddenly this flower appeared, later identified as oenothera, just from that one plant I have masses of oenothera plants self-seeding, it's taking over from snapdragons and nigella as the most prolific self-seeder

this photo was taken end of August 2014

this photo was taken November 2015, another oenothera self-seeding with snapdragons and nigella in the cyclamen coum pots


I found one of my pots completely full of oenothera and wanted to dispose of them today and found the roots incredibly strong and dense. These self-seeding plants are turning out to be incredibly invasive.

the oenothera continues to self-seed (August 2016), tolerable as an unexpected flower


Pale Flax (Linum bienne)

I saw this along Regents Canal middle of May 2017.

pale flax

Passion Flower

mid-August this self-seeded between the paving slabs on the patio next door, my neighbour on the other side has one, cutting of which is shown below

end of August and it now has more passionflower-like leaves

still growing between the paving slabs

Peanut, not really a weed but it has appeared in my garden unexpectedly, since I started putting them out for the squirrels.

peanut seedling

Cape Figwort/Fuschia (Phygelius capensis)

phygelius capensis

phygelius capensis

Potato, not really a weed but it has appeared in my garden unexpectedly, next to the compost pile.

potato plant

potato flower

potato flower

potatoes on the compost pile have gone mad



no idea what variety, I saw this round the corner from me in a walled carpark


Ranunculus come as those claw-like tubers/corms (will check the exact term) which you can just see slightly above the soil - not that they should be visible but those have just ended up that way, I planted some last year or the year before but they were a total failure and they did not grow - maybe I planted them too deep? I don't know. I had spectacular results with them a few years ago. I don't know what I did differently. will find a pic



I'm afraid I don't know which one specfically




close-up of a rudbeckia bud


Russian Vine (Fallopia aubertii)

This trailing shrub is growing over the wall near the bus stop round the corner from me. I'm afraid I'm a little late photographing it as the flowers have mostly turned into seed pods. Thanks to Michael (on FB) who identified this.

viewed from the other side it can be seen how extensive it is

an even wider view 11-9-2017

russian vine

It was difficult getting decent close-up pics in that situation so I had to take some flowers off and bring them home to photograph.

flowers with 3 inner white petals and 3 outer petals with green stripes, 8 stamens (some anthers have broken off)

all the anthers on the left flower have broken off, the green seed is forming in the middle

3-sided seed pods.

Salvia Amistad

a beautiful flower, shame about the scaffolding (Whitechapel 14-9-2017)

salvia amistad

Scabious seedlings

scabious scabiosa seedlings

scented leaf geranium

I now have another unknown seedling which I'm wondering is another ivy leaved geranium, I will have to pot it up and see

this photo was taken end of Sept, the previous one below was taken in March

ivy leafed geranium

at one point this was in the weed guide as an unknown weed but as it's developed it's clearly a scented leaf geranium, which I did have at one point in the garden but it died, I didn't know they self-seeded but they must do as it's clearly here in one of my pots!

scented leaf geranium

sea holly (Eryngium)

end of October small plant from last year, never flowered, not sure what the secret is to getting them to flower

sea holly

in another pot, this is a small plant from this year which did not flower, shown in situ in the next pic

sea holly

Oct 2015 the pot below has 3 sea holly plants, two flowered (the ones with the tall flower stems), one has not

sea holly

April 2016 that pot above with the 2 sea holly that look like they will bloom again this year, wondering what will happen with the one at the bottom

sea holly

Silverbush (Convolvulus cneorum)

thank you to Mike (FB) who ID'd this




Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata)

I had this in the weed gallery but didn't know what it was. I saw it again this week along the canal so decided to try again to research what it was and I think it is skullcap.

I took this pic in 2015.


I took this pic today (20-5-2017). I hope it will have more flowers soon and I'll be able to get a close-up of the flowers in focus.



snapdragon (I use that common name for antirrhinum)

I planted one packet of seeds a few years ago and now have them self-seeding everywhere, every pot I have seems to have snapdragon and nigella

 sea holly

snapdragon seedlings

these snapdragons look a little different, not sure why, I have lots in pots but not many actually in the ground and these have lasted the winter there


a snapdragon has self-seeded itself on the path, oxalis around it, blue flowers are green alkanet

Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)

I saw this round the corner in a neighbour's front garden. I don't recall the flowers. Compared to those bright red fruits sure they were not very noticeable.  I'll have to look out for them in the spring and take a photo.

strawberry tree arbutus unedo

close-up of a fruit

arbutus unedo







Great mullein (Verbascum thapsis) is in the Weed Guide but, of course, there are lots of other varieties of verbascum people grow in their gardens for the flowers. I had some seeds in a special offer mixed packet of perennials a few years ago. I didn't know this plant so for a while it was in my "unknown" category. Eventually it grew extremely tall (one of the tallest plants I've had in the garden) and produced white flowers. I see now why I didn't put this pic on my site - an awkward size pic of an awkward plant.


















close-up of the flowers, they were all along the upper part of the stem


I think this recent (6-2016) seedling might be from that plant.

possible verbascum

The next year (2017) I continue to have seedlings although I haven't had verbascum flowers for 2 years, they do look quite similar to polyanthus but when they shoot up from the middle it's clear they are verbascum. I have planted them in the garden next door and will take a photo.

verbascum small plants

Verbena Bonariensis

self-seeds easily, smallest seedling:

verbena bonariensis seedling

taller seedling in the middle surrounded by violas and foxglove on the right

pansy seedling

verbena bonariensis

verbena bonariensis has square stems

verbena bonariensis

verbena bonariensis





This grows quite tall and thin so difficult to show the entire plant with the flowers
















flower close-up:

verbena bonariensis flower


I first planted this as a green manure, after one of the times the garden next door was destroyed with building work. I love those purple flowers but it's quite small. I pulled this up by accident when I was attempting to make room to plant the small hollyhocks (see Seeds).


Periwinkle / Vinca (Vinca major)

I have two distinct types of vinca in my front garden. This one has larger flowers and leaves.


this one has smaller flowers and leaves


between them they cover this shady flowerbed


Viola/pansy seedlings

this is the earliest viola seedling, a pair of leaves after the seed leaves

viola seedling

close-up  of a seedling from another sowing

pansy seedling

Wild Basil (Clinopodium vulgare)

Pink flowers in a ring around the stem, also shown in the background of one of the sea holly pics. I had a lot of difficulty finding out what this was but while looking through my wildflower book last night (9-10-2016) looking for something else I saw this and immediately saw a match, surprising as some of the drawings in that book are not in enough detail. I previously thought this was a phlomis. I saw Turkish Sage (also a phlomis but with yellow flowers) on Gardeners World (8-7-2016) and those flowers around a stem looked so unique I thought it must be a phlomis, tuberosa was the closest I could find but after seeing this in the wildflower book and the distinctive way the leaves flow down from the flowers I knew it was wild basil.

wild basil

wild basil

wild basil

wild basil



do get in touch if you recognise any of these, thanks

julie at or


this is very familiar but I can't place it right now


Unknown White-Flowered Shrub

This is in bloom in February. No scent that I can smell.


Unknown tree

This was in the walled carpark courtyard. The red are rose hips I think from a rose that's growing through it. I've seen what looks like the same kind of tree with orange berries in a different location.

close-up of some of those branches


a Damn Yellow Composite

I have recently come across the term DYC (damn yellow composite) and this is an excellent example of one. I cannot identify it. To me, this looks just like chicory but I cannot find that chicory ever has yellow flowers. (If you have any further info, please do get in touch, julie at, thanks).

common hawkweed

close-up of the flowers

common hawkweed



Blackberry / Bramble / Campanula ???

back in my garden, between these two pics I hope this is clear, looks a bit like blackberry, a bit like campanula, will have to wait and see

is this the same? looks a bit different, blackberry?


Rosebay Willowherb ???

end of June 2017

When this first appeared I thought it might be veronica, now it's looking like a dock but not sure and if it is dock I don't know what kind, kinds I see don't have leaves opposite but this one definitely does. A morning glory self-seeded with it and is climbing up it.

morning glory climibing up unknown

after the flower faded

those distinctive curved leaves at the top, they mean dock to me but maybe other plants have them but I don't know what they are

end of August 2017

The pot is tiny and I really want to see this bloom so I've planted it in the ground at the back of the garden out of the way. I have other similar seedlings so want to establish once and for all if this is rosebay willowherb. (honesty and iris foetidissima to the right, campanula to the left)

possible rosebay willowherb


tree stump with fungus, seen East London 14-9-2017

tree stump with fungus


white fungus Hardy Tree, St Pancras Old Church, close-up

white fungus Hardy Tree

general view of the fungus

white fungus Hardy Tree St Pancras Old Church


small seedling in wall, end of Sept 2017


Flax from bird seed??

This is looking like flax but I'm not sure and if it is flax, not sure which one specifically. It appears to be self-seeding under the bird feeder from bird seed. These buds are from beginning of November.

flax from birdseed

flax from birdseed

this is a flower from June, different from the pale flax I saw along the canal earlier this year (2017)

flax from bird seed


Muscari ?

I like to identify the smallest seedlings. I think these 2 pots are muscari but I'm not certain.

muscari seedling

another view of the seedling above, left below

another view of the seedling above right

muscari seedling

the small plant below left has similar shaped leaves, which I also think is muscari

muscari seedlings

similar shaped leaves below left, which is clearly muscari as it has buds

muscari seedlings


confusingly these muscari seedlings just have straight grass-like leaves/stems

muscari seedlings

muscari seedlings