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This huge plant is probably an allergy sufferer's worst nightmare. It has some ecological value to various moths, but otherwise is less important than Ambrosia artemesiifolia (Common Ragweed). Giant Ragweed can be distinguished from other Ambrosia spp. (Ragweeds) by its palmately lobed leaves; other Ragweeds have leaves that are pinnatifid or bipinnatifid. The name of this genus of plants refers to ambrosia, "the food of the gods" in antiquity. This seems like a strange name for a group of unattractive plants, unless it refers to the value of the seeds of certain species from a bird's point of view. Return

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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