Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Gads, I love weeds! It's getting worse, too. Anymore I shun the cultivated flowers that used to be so interesting. The stuff of florists have come to seem almost plasticized to me. It is through no fault of their own, it is just that weeds have such a natural charm and beauty that they put their hothouse cousins to shame. Look at this luscious chickweed!
Yesterday I was burning a little bit outside and wanted to stay nearby to make sure the fire was safe. That caused me to roll around in the weeds a little bit, so I went for the camera. That lying on the ground thing makes for a great angle! Chickweed is for some people, very difficult to identify. The flowers above are perhaps 4X larger than in real life. Those little buds are about the size of seed beads, and the leaves are maybe 1/2" long. It grows like a mat on the ground. Once it is identified, they never have that problem again. They say, "Ooooooohhh!"
Here we have some catnip and Lily, our resident feline has been having a great time with the new crop. It can be somewhat difficult to be sure it isn't a different mint - and early in my foraging days I could confuse it with stinging nettles - but it has a distinctive scent and doesn't sting. hah.

This robust mustard is (I think) black mustard. The seeds will be black in color. The leaves are delicious when mixed with other wild greens in salad.
Red Dead Nettle... called dead because it carries no sting. I am not aware of any pressing medicinal use for this plant, nor have I eaten it. But how can one not love the delicate flowers though,and the way this plant can turn spring fields into purple vistas? Ok... maybe farmers can not love that, now that I think about it. If you look closely, you'll see both varieties of chickweed. The thicker, darker, hairy leaves are mouse-ear chickweed, also edible and used interchangeably with the "regular" stuff.
This one needs a little research. The flowers have four petals which lead me to think mustard, however the leaves hug the stem where they are attached and have that bluish green color reminding me of wild lettuce.

Sweet violets are starting to make an appearance in the fields. This year perhaps we'll make some violet syrup for market.

The Shepherd's Purse is already forming the little purses. They are seed pods and they rattle in the wind after drying. The seeds can be used as pepper as can a close relative that also grows nearby - penny cress or pepper grass.
This is just the big picture while lying on the ground. Look at the variety that lay before me!


Laura said...

Love love love these luscious pics! Wish I was laying amongst such treasures as well! :)

nettlejuice said...

Those beautiful yellow flowers are yellow rocket and the buds are edible, like broccoli. We are loving them right now. See our photos here...

Love the photo of dead nettle. I like to call her archangel though. It just seems more respectful. I recently posted about her here...

I couldn't agree with you more about the weeds. I'm getting to the point where I almost cannot bear to mow the very small patch of grass we have because I don't want to mow the speedwell and archangel flowers among the grass. I can see where this is going.

nettlejuice said...

Just realized that yellow rocket is a folk name and won't really tell you what plant you have there. Without being able to really see the leaves clearly, I think you have field mustard there (brassica rapa). We call them yellow mustard and broccoli rabe. Definately identify it yourself though, and try a bite of those buds!

Unknown said...

Oh, I'm so glad to find someone else who loves weeds! My family thinks I'm crazy because I love all the native wildflowers - the ones they all call weeds. Violets, asters, goldenrod, ironweed, fleabane, chickweed - I can't get enough.

Wonderful photos!

Gail said...

great pictures Tina. My shepherds purse has not put on its stems yet, but it is in with the lettuce, a perfect place to be use when gathering for a salad.

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Terri said...

Wonderful shots and thanks for the info on what is in my yard.

Patricia said...

Great photos, looks like you had a fun day. My neighbor don't appreciate my love of the natural state of affairs, they much prefer manicured lawns.
Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings