6 FEBRUARY 1948, Page 14

The Worst Weeds If a vote were taken for the

most offensive of weeds, that perennial " kex " (called by some ground elder, by some " the alder-weed," by some gout-weed, by some bishop's-weed and by learned botanists Aegropodium Podagria) would probably win. Its roots not only run with speed and protect themselves under any stone ; they are also very long lived, like bits of thistle root ; and, to attribute yet another crime, they have a peculiarly deadly effect, like twitch roots, on other plants. In the past gardeners have despaired of any remedy less laborious than eradication, and this must be meticulous and slow. It is now claimed— and by the C.G.A.—that a thorough sprinkling with sodium chlorate can ensure a complete, almost easy, cure, and elsewhere the same chemical is said to be death to the thistle. As to this latter weed, it is now pretty well established that its mysterious appearances, especially in ploughed-up pasture, are due to particles of surviving root rather than to winged seed.