“Each phase of nature,while not invisible,is yet too distinct and obtrusive.It is like a silent but sympathizing companion in whose company we retain most of the advantages of solitude, with whom we can walk and talk, or be silent,naturally,without the necessity of talking in astrain foreign to the place”-Thoreau,Nov 8,1858.
While not invisible,this winter winter annual-henbit(lamium amplexicaule)-is poking it’s head out to get started on next spring.the winter annuals germinate when the soil is cool,live through the winter then bloom in the spring(or even the winter),and then die off after blooming.Henbit-also called Dead Nettle-that likes moist soil and waste places-that is my kind of weed.Introduced from the Old World,henbit grows to be about 2 feet tall with a purple top with 4-angled leaves.It is part of the giant mint family.As in most cases the weed provides cover for birds/animals and helps prevent erosion.
Each phase of nature,while not invisible,is yet not too distinct and obtrusive.It is there to be found when we look for it,but not demanding our attention.It is silent but sympathizing companion in whose company we retain most of the advantages of solitude with whom we can walk and talk, or be silent,naturally,without the necessity of talking in a strain foreign to the place.November 8,1858.
pic by td
The “tumbleweed” you see tumbling along most likely came from russian thistle-Salsola tragus.it is very spiny when mature,however it is not a true member of the thistle family but hails from the goosefoot familyIn true weed fashion, the dead weed moves along looking for a wet place and parks it-while scattering 250,000 seeds-til spring..While Russia is the home of this weed, it arrived in a flaxseed shipment in North Dakota in the 1870’s.As weeds do,it was in 16 states in 20 years and invaded Canada as well.The tumbleweed is very problematic in the American West where the dead plant can gather to the size of a Volkswagon and causing all kinds of havoc-fires,erosion,nuisance.Albuquerque,N.M. makes a snowman out the rolling balls every Christmas!Can’t beat em join em! I knew I would find a uses for this weed.
thanks to:wikipedia,”Weeds”-a Golden Book,National Geographic-Dec 2013 and cdllandtrust.org.pic by td.
This weed stood out like a sore thumb today-brilliant purple in the autumn sun! Redroot pigweed-amaranyhus retroflexus L.-also known as careless weed among others.Quick facts:taproot reddish-pink;flower clusters dense;plants have a rough texture;native to southern U.S.(note spreading all over);annual spreading by seeds-up to 150,000;can produce two generations in a season;aka “superweed”-highly resistant to herbicides:found in farmers fields,roadsides,disturbed land(home to this plant in study).The pods are a deep purple and would make a beautiful arrangement just by itself! “Weeds are flowers too,once you get to know them”-A.A.Milne.
pics by td research-“Weeds of North America”-Richard Dickinson and France Royer.
Pampas grass-Cortaderia selloana-is a large perennial grass native to S.A.that can reach 10′ tall and 6′ wide.In late summer the tall white plumes make a statement towering above the foliage.Pampas grass is not fussy where it grows,surviving both wet areas and dry areas.It is used to help control erosion and is versatile in coastal areas.The plant can be found in different species used as an ornamental and is prized for being used in arrangements.I found this plant in a waste place just a swingin’!
pic by td
This is the definition of a pod-nature’s seed containers-from the book “Pod’s-Wildflowers and Weeds in Their Final Beauty” by Jane Embertson.The pod-the seed container and the final stage of production-produce a wide variety of shapes and colors.This wide selection of pods allows us to continue to observe the growing cycle of plants.In addition the pods and the dried plants allows the opportunity to create arrangements for even more beauty.An example below is Queen Anne’s Lace.The dried heads look like birds nests.
Queen Anne’s Lace-Daucus carota-pic by td
At least in my neck of the woods(or weed patch) the ox-eye daisy-Chrysanthemum leucanthemum-or field daisy continue to add beauty to a otherwise low color display from my weed patch 2.0.This plant is considered by some a wildflower and others a weed.I am calling it weed only because it fits the traditional “plant out of place” definition.Ox-eye daisy gets in the pasture where it is difficult to eradicate and cows do not like it’s bitter taste.This weed comes by way of Europe and belongs to the same genus as Chrysanthemun and Shasta Daisy along with 160 other species.A long lasting flowering plant, adding beauty from May to October.Like my dandelions, the ox-eye is not a single flower but a cluster if many tiny, tubular florets-each a perfect flower.Hey now the fun stuff! Remember the “He loves me,he loves me not,he loves me” refrain?This was the flower used to establish the state of our love life.the refrain was from Goethe’s “Marguerite”and by the way-this weed is also called Marguerite.
flower by td,Goethe from Wikipedia,research from “Suburban Wildflowers”-Headstrom and “Roadside Plants and Flowers”-Edsall.
Morning glory-Ipomoea hederacesa Jacq.-Ivy leaved norning glory-also known as morning glory and granny vine, is lot of weeds growan annual reproducing by seed that is native to tropical N.A.The other genus is Convolvulus which is the bindweed genus(i hope i got that right).All total there are 600 species with colors including blue,purple,red,pink or white.Morning glories are found in old fields,waste places and has wide distribution in the U.S,This plant can be a bugger in orchard and vineyards.Like a lot of our weeds they have had another life besides clogging up the landscape,In this case it was a 19th C. remedy for constipation.The pic here is from a pile of ruble near a construction site where a lot of weeds grow.Believe it or not there is a tomato plant growing in the ruble.I love this place!
Tall Sunflower-Helianthus giganteus-grows to the towering height of 10′.While the sunflower genus contains about 100 species, this one is a perennial with distribution mostly in the eastern part of the U.S.growing in wet areas,meadows,pastures.This plant was not more than 3′ from the bull thistle in the previous post and when it was not bowed over was standing as tall as the bull thistle!-must be something in the water!pic by td.research:gobotany.org
The Bull Thistle-Cirsium vulgare-growing 5′ or more,in this case this weed was about 10′ tall.While a weed at best, the purple flower stands out in a crowd.The thistle is a family of about 200 species growing in disturbed areas-pastures,roadsides,ditchbanks and is an aggressive grower outperforming it’s rivals.The thistle has wide distribution through out the world.It is a biennial herbaceous plant with mostly purple flowers-sometimes white-and flowering now.Bull thistle reproduces by seed distribution.As the case many times, a weed has fans of some nature-in this case the goldfinch.The bird uses the the thistledown for lining in it’s nest.
research from:’Roadsides plants and Flowers”-Edsall;pic from audubon.org