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.
Common Milkweed-Asclepias syriaca-is a perennial plant that blooms June-August and grows 2-5 ft. tall.The flowers are rose-pink with ball-shaped clusters and the leaves are oval with rounded tips.As the norm, milkweed is found in roadsides,fields,gravelly soil(new description I learned).While the study here are the pods-recent history has seen a decline in milkweed that has been in tandem with the decline of the monarch butterfly.To continue, milkweed can be seen in various stages of beauty as the seasons progress.The pods are fairly large with warty-I like this-exteriors and develop a parachute of seeds.Cool arrangements can be created from milkweeds using stems or no stems.
pics above-td;arangement:crabtreegardens.worpress.com;thanks to “Pods wildflowers and weeds in their final beauty”-Jane Embertson.
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
Weeds in their final beauty is the result of the plant producing pods-vessels that contain the seeds.The beauty here is Common Mullein-Verbascun thapsus-Briefly it blooms June-Sept. growing 2-6 ft. tall.it is found in poor soil,roadsides,disturbed areas-my fave.This weed has been watched by me for 2 years-start to finish.The plant stand in contrast to it’s environment.It’s massive nature would create a beautiful arrangement.
pics above-td,arrangement pic-natural-designs-studio.com
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
I have been watching this plant since last year since it presented it’s self as very noticeable.A large leaved plant with sage like leaves and somewhat hairy that stayed close to the ground.Well this year it took off.The weed-Mullein(Verbascum thapsus) is a biennial.The first year a rosette-a cluster of leaves growing close to the ground-of soft greenish woolly leaves and the second year a 3- 7 foot flowering stalk grows upward.It has a deep taproot to help tolerate dry periods.Common in pastures and fields with wide distribution in the U.S and Europe..Another species is the Moth Mullein and looks nothing like the Common Mullein.It seems like these weeds always have had uses humans had found.For example:Roman torches,lining for shoes,and a cure for leprosy and evil spirits.Hey-who knew!
note on the flowers-they do not all open at the same time-so not real showy.Thanks to “Roadside Plants and Flowers”-Marian S. Edsall for info.
If you look in the index of plant books you will see a lot of “wild” plants listed.One listed is wild parsnips-Pastinaca sativa-another escapee from domestication.This plant even looks like a weed-jagged leaves,spiny stem,umbrella yellow flowers growing here and there.But it’s a rough job and somebody has to do it.The wild parsnip lives two years-first as a rosette of leaves-keeping low to the ground to develop a taproot system.The second year a hollow grooved stem grows 2-5 ft. high.The weed looks like a yellow flower version of Queen Anne’s Lace or Cow Parsnip.One final note-do not touch this plant-this plant will burn you causing blisters and discomfort-maybe not as long as poison ivy but you will know it.I told you it even looked like weed.
Thanks to :www.dni.wi.gov and iastate.edu.pic by td
What’s that weed? I am going to be honest I have been missing this common weed.Sometimes it just the simple things that makes one think-that was too easy.I also thought I knew this plant and even thought it was in my yard until my last post.I saw this weed In an area I go to discover the weed world and did some research and eureka-Creeping Charlie-Clechoma hederacea!Also known as ground ivy,gill,alehoof,cat’s foot,field balm.There are probably more.Charlie is a perennial that is a member of the mint family.It like moist areas and some sun-exactly where I found it.This creeper comes form Europe and is found in all of the U.S. except for the Rockies.In addition, this weed has had a busy past.It has been used to flavor beer,the Roman’s used it for inflamed eyes.In the 1500’s it was used for indigestion and as a tonic.Info seems spotty on it’s medicinal use but was used none the less.i know we spend a lot of time and money trying to eliminate this weed,but I read it smells good when mowed-that is my kind of weed!
Thanks to about.com for help.
Yellow Hawkweed-Hieracium caespitosum-resembles the good ole dandelion(my symbol).It got me excited!The hawkweed has clusters of small,yellow dandelion like flower heads on top of mostly leafless stems.The stems can grow up to 3 ft. tall with long narrow leaves.It expands by rhizomes,seeds,and stalons.And of course it is a perennial thriving in disturbed areas-roadsides,pastures,gravel pits-a new area for me,but I like it.Distribution seems all over the place for the U.S.with 56 species in the U.S. and 700 all over.This weed just sticks out and is a pleasure to see.
Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with nature herself.Walden