Before the snow came I had taken these photos of winter weeds to share with everyone.
Burdock in the family Asteraceae.
Like a lot of our weeds they have medicinal uses. The oil form the root can be used as an application to the scalp to treat dandruff and delay hair loss. Gives a new meaning to the popular burr hair cut doesn’t it?
Teasel is a member of the family Dipsacaceae.
The genus name came from the word for thirst referring to the shape of the leaves around the stem when they first emerge. This cup-like shape collects water.
When I think of weeds and Christmas it is the teasel that I remember most. My mother would spray paint them gold and add them to our holiday wreath along with pinecones, and nuts. I have even seen them made into ornaments in the shapes of people and animals.
They are a good winter source of seed for finches. You might have noticed Goldfinch sitting atop this tall plant. A single plant produces 2,000 seeds. The taproot may go down as far as 2 feet below the surface. The first year of the plants life all you see is the basal rosette and then the next year the stalk grows and flowers and dies making it a monocarpic perennial.
Thistle is the name for a group of plants with sharp prickles in the family Asteraceae. I mostly associate it with this plant. Those prickles are the plants way of keeping deer and other plant eating animal’s form snacking on them. It would certainly discourage me. After taking these photos I had several attached to me.
You can see the thistledown in this photo. The seeds are carried off by the wind much like a Milkweed seed. If you feed birds I am sure you are familiar with these seeds that finches practically crave.
This winter when you see these weeds along the roadside or in fields remember how valuable they are to wildlife and how much fun they can be. Cut a few for an arrangement and enjoy their unique structures.
Merry Christmas and thank you all who participate in ABC Wednesday.