American burnweed (Erechtites hieraciifolius) is an annual summer weed. It is native to North America and is a member of the aster family. It is a fast-growing weed that can reach heights up to eight feet.
American burnweed is usually found in landscape beds, vegetable gardens, and other areas with disturbed soil. The plant is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions. It is one of the first species to colonize open ground. The plant has finely toothed, long elliptical leaves when young. As American burnweed matures, the margins become more heavily toothed and can exhibit lobes, taking on a much weedier appearance.
American burned flowers are a pollen source for beneficial insects such as tachinid flies, native bees, and wasps. However, the plant is also a host for the tarnished plant bug, a piecing-sucking insect that can damage small fruits and vegetables, often causing misshapen fruit and aborted blossoms.
American burnweed is easily hand pulled and can be discouraged in the landscape by applying a 3-inch layer of medium to coarse mulch. For more information on mulch options, please see HGIC 1604, Mulch.