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Dog fennell

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

A native weedy plant, Eupatorium cappilifolium has the common name of dog fennel as supposedly the peculiar smell of crushed stems and leaves is attractive to dogs – although dogs, in my experience, are often attracted to rather unpleasant types of smells. In overgrazed pastures or poorly cared for fields, it can become the dominant weed – cattle won’t eat it and it limits crop yield. Occasionally, if I’m lucky, I’ll pass by a field where flattened somewhat twisted remnants of this plant are standing and I pull over and collect them. These stems have become fasciated – the growing point had some injury and started growing sidewise instead of straight – in this case probably the result of herbicide damage from attempts to control it. If you then color them with dark shoe polish, they become dramatic focal points in arrangements.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.