The best $ I ever spent…

The mixed summer seeds were only 4 paks for a dollar earlier this summer at the-you guessed it-‘dollar store”.I like to get multiple packs of seeds to plant just to see what turns up-it’s that wildness thing I learned from H.D.T.Well this morning I was going down the steps to have coffee under my canopy-the locust tree-when I saw this beautiful little flower strutting her stuff in the morning sun.It made my day!I have no idea what it’s species is called but I really don’t care.Sometimes I think  we try to over analyze every thing-just enjoy the day!

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pic by td- feel free to identify!Emerson said the Earth laughs in flowers.

“Good fences make good neighbors”-Robert Frost.Giant ragweed-ambrosia trifida-is an annual growing 3′-12′ tall reproducing by wind pollination with 5000 seeds per plant.It prefers full sun to partial shade and moist conditions but can tolerate some dry periods.As usual found in disturbed areas,meadows,near rivers,thickets,and my garden.More later on that in a bit.While one usually thinks of hay fever associated with all ragweed-at one time it was used by our Native Americans as a grain crop 600 years ago.It is high energy food plant with 47% crude protein and high in oil content.Just not ready for prime time consumption again.Not surprising birds like ’em .It is found in 47 of 50 states skipping Nevada,Hawaii, and Alaska.Now back to tim’s weed patch-I have giant ragweed growing as a fence border to filter out the neighbors!

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You might have read this term…

Invasive species.From the National Invasive species Information Center is the definition:1.Non-native(alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and 2. Whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.The species here refer to plants.Invasive plants are introduced species that can thrive in areas beyond their natural range of dispersal.These plants are adaptable,aggressive,and have a high reproductive capacity and few natural enemies leads to outbreak populations.The following plant-aka weed- is an example of a invasive plant listed.It is Canada thistle-Cirsium arvense-known as Plumed Thistle(ex;Bull,Yellow,Swamp,and Canada)The plant can grow up to five feet high and has a purple flower.This weed hails from Europe with 92 species in N.A.Almost any part of the plant’s root stock can start a new plant making it hard to eradicate.The seeds travel through the air by bristly plumes or parachutes.

Like a lot of weeds-they have a plus side.Goldfinches love ’em!

 

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Follow up…The book”Common Weeds of the United States”-USDA-did not mention the previously listed cosmopolitan weeds that Richard Mabey had discussed.From a list of about 240 weeds in the book,the following are described as cosmopolitan:sheppards spurse,mayweed,and smallflower galinsoga.I am sure the scientists constantly discuss the definition!Now the real kicker…semi-cosmopolitan weeds-argh!Listed were spanish needles and horseweeds.You might have to connect the dots on that definition.The pics of the flowers are the cosmo weeds-wikipedia-sheppards purse:mayflower-gardenaction.co.uk;forestimages.org-smallflower galinsoya.

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Have you heard the story where the turkey was almost the symbol of the US?We lucked out there!Well chicory(Cichotium intybus) was almost my symbol.I just like this “weed”.It is sometimes called Blue Sailors,Blue Daisy,and Coffeeweed.It considered a perennial herb that reproduces by seeds and roots below the crown.They also have help from the honey bee.The flowers are sky-blue and sometimes white or rarely pink.These flowers open up in the morning and are close at night.As always in a mass quantity they are a cool sight.We can find them growing in fields,meadows,pastures,roadsides, and vacant lots.Some have considered chicory as a wildflower for it’s simple beauty.We might have to study that one further.In addition to it’s beauty chicory is useful as “food”.One can boil the young leaves and serve like spinach-gotta try this.The roots can be served like carrots however this has not been a hit.And of course it is used as a coffee substitute-Folgers did not catch on to this.Some folks may not see this plant in the Deep South or parts of the North Plains but everywhere else-including Canada-it shines on!

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This plant keeps Monsanto up at night…Redroot pigweed(Amaranthus retroflexus).It is an annual reproducing by seeds with 100,000-200,000 per plant and remain dormant for 40 years!They prefer rich cultivated soil but thrive in waste places as well-shocker!Some plants turn into tumbleweeds when they break off at the base.They can be poisonous to cattle as they accumulate too much nitrites.Now briefly back to Monsanto.Plants like our Pigweed have grown resistant to glyphosate(Roundup) through the heavy use to kill weeds in our cash crops thus creating “superweeds”.Now for the rest of the news.This weed is edible!Look out for the sharp spines.According to the “Edible Wild Plants Guide”-US Army-the young plants or the growing tips of older plants make a good veggie.A little more research here might be a good idea.These weeds continue to amaze us!

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A good stand of buckhorn-buckhorn plantain(plantago lanceolata L.).While this would be considered a “world weed”-200 species- about 6 species are widespread in the US-buckhorn and broadleaf.The example here usually is about a foot tall and is a pest in our yards.And of course they are found in in pastures,meadows-such a nice word-and waste places-my fav.The other common relative is the broadleaf or Dooryard plantain(Plantago major L.).You guess it ,the leaves are bigger.This is another weed foragers can put on the menu.According to the Department of Army Guide to Edible Plants-this plant can be used for food-young plants eaten raw and older plants should be cooked.Also the plant can be used to treat wounds and used to treat diarrhea.You just can’t beat that deal!

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A classic…definition of a weed:a plant out of place.Here it is in my wife’s planter-velvetleaf(abutilon theophrasti)-also known as buttonweed in some areas.It is a summer annual broadleaf plant and is very problematic for our commercial farmers.It hails from southern Asia and can get kinda tall-3+ feet.It’s towering height can snuff out sunlight to the cash crops.The seeds can hang around for 50 years!It does bloom from now through August with a yellow bloom.Hopefully I can get a pic.In addition to hanging around it is a strong plant with deep tap roots.The buttonweed however was not stronger than my wife!

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