Small-flowered galinsoga (Galinsoga parviflora) is a pretty little annual plant native to South America which, after conquering Spain, Great Britain, and then France, continued its eastward breakthrough to the rhythm of the Napoleonic troops, which explains our neighbors from across the Rhine the appellant Franzosenkraut which translates to “the herb of the French”. Since the end of the 18th century, it has been perfectly naturalized in France today but disappears with the first frosts.
Classified as a “weed,” the slender-rooted galinsoga has erect or recumbent and straightened stems, branched, almost glabrous, with small, opposite leaves, oval, toothed and pointed at the tips.
From mid-May to October, small white daisies (0.5cm) with a yellow heart follow one another making the galinsoga very pretty, but elongated brown achenes follow the flowers leading to an unbridled production of seeds which can count 4 generations over a year, or 8000 seeds on average, which can remain dormant for 2 to 3 years in the soil! This is why its expansion in the vegetable garden can quickly become a nightmare for the gardener who will, at the slightest hoe, reactivate the germination of dormant seeds which will compete with the seedlings whose emergence requires a little time.
In its defense, galinsoga is edible, and is one of the essential ingredients that give its flavor to the Colombian national stew, theajiaco. The plant, with a taste similar to artichoke or Jerusalem artichoke, can also be eaten raw added to salad. Its nutritional benefits are also showing a lot of interest in terms of iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, vitamins A and C.
- Family: Asteraceae
- Type: annual
- Origin: South America
- Color: white flowers with a yellow heart
- Sowing: yes
- Cutting: no
- Planting: spring
- Flowering: May to October
- Height: 5 to 50 cm
Ideal soil and exposure for galinsoga
Galinsoga thrives in hot and sunny situations, sheltered from cold winds, in fertile, cool and well-cultivated, slightly acidic soils: vegetable gardens and market garden plots are perfect for it.
Date of sowing and planting of galinsoga
Galinsoga is spontaneously reseeded as soon as the seed finds heat and humidity: generally in May, the emergence is done. Only 2 months after sowing, it can already produce new seeds which will be disseminated by wind, water, human and animal activity. No need to sow it!
Advice on how to get rid of galinsoga
If your vegetable garden is invaded by this “weed”, several options are available to you to eradicate it, depending on the situation:
- pass the thermal weed killer that will the galinsogas without disturbing the soil that could potentially rise to the surface;
- mulch the soil which deprives the galinsogas of light, which therefore cannot germinate;
- pluck by hand or cut with a hoe before flowering and / or fruiting;
- sow rye, a suffocating green manure, in the fall so as not to leave the soil bare;
- practice false sowing by sowing galinsoga in May, hoeing it as soon as it emerges to eliminate it before sowing the good vegetable seeds;
- do not leave galinsoga plants on the ground or leave them in the compost, the seeds may sprout.
Harvesting, conservation and use of galinsoga
The young shoots and flower buds are harvested as and when your cooking needs, raw or cooked.
Diseases, pests and parasites of galinsoga
Galinsoga is resistant to everything and knows no diseases or parasites.
Location and favorable association of galinsoga
It is a plant which is, of course, delicate to cultivate in the vegetable garden! To consume it in the kitchen, it is better to collect it from a neighbor or friend who has it in his garden …
Recommended species and varieties of Galinsoga for sowing in the garden
Genre Galinsoga has 2 species: the small-flowered galinsoga (Galinsoga parviflora) and ciliated or hairy galinsoga (Galinsoga quadriradiata syn. Galinsoga ciliata), very close, also edible, but the stems of which are hairy especially on the part of the twigs near the inflorescence.