Wonderful Weeds

The continuing discoveries of a 21st century artist and naturalist …

I once heard someone describe a weed as any plant growing where it’s not supposed to be.  I like that definition because, while I’ve struggled in farm fields to keep weeds away from my vegetable plants, some so-called weeds are really quite lovely.  Given the definition above even a Morning Glory can be a weed – and they often are.

So the discoveries I’ve made below are about plants that have ‘weed’ in their common name.  I can’t include all of them in one post so I’ll likely have another piece on those I leave out today.

Touch-Me-Nots get their name from the sensitivity of their seed pods which, when touched, explode and disperse the tiny seeds within.

Yellow Jewelweed or Pale Touch-Me-Not

Family:  Balsaminaceae; Genus:  Impatiens; Species: pallida

 

Toucn-Me-Not - Yellow (or Pale) Jewelweed Patch

Toucn-Me-Not – Yellow (or Pale) Jewelweed Patch

Toucn-Me-Not - Yellow (or Pale) Jewelweed Single Blossom

Toucn-Me-Not – Yellow (or Pale) Jewelweed Single Blossom

Toucn-Me-Not - Yellow (or Pale) Jewelweed Duo

Toucn-Me-Not – Yellow (or Pale) Jewelweed Duo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange Jewelweed – Spotted Touch-Me-Not

Family:  Balsaminaceae; Genus:  Impatiens; Species:  capensis

The leaves crushed and applied as a poultice has been a folk remedy for Poison Ivy Rash if done quickly after contact dermatitis occurs. There is a component in the leaves lawsone, which are also sometimes brewed into a tea and frozen to have on hand at all times, is one explanation for the plant leaves’ reported antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.  (This also true of the Yellow Jewelweed above.)

Also, given that some studies now show sunscreens are really not effective beyond 50 SPF and need to be re-applied after activity or being in water one might want to consider this plant as an alternative solution. In aqueous extracts it has found to be effective – and might I add, natural –sunless tanning and sunscreen option.   

Orange Jewelweed - Spotted Touch Me Not

Orange Jewelweed – Spotted Touch Me Not

Orange Jewelweed - Spotted Touch Me Nots in the Sun

Orange Jewelweed – Spotted Touch Me Nots in the Sun

Orange Jewelweed - Spotted Touch Me Not Spots Very Visible

Orange Jewelweed – Spotted Touch Me Not Spots Very Visible

 

 

 

Orange Jewelweed - Spotted Touch Me Not Group

Orange Jewelweed – Spotted Touch Me Not Group

Orange Jewelweed - Spotted Touch-Me-Nots Gathering

Orange Jewelweed – Spotted Touch-Me-Nots Gathering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milkweeds

Common Milkweed

It is, as its name would suggest, the most common form of Milkweed in Northeastern North America.  Warning:  Potentially toxic – contains cardioactive compounds.

Family:  Asclepiadaceae;  Genus:  Asclepias;  Species:  syriaca

Common Milkweed Buds and Blossoms

Common Milkweed Buds and Blossoms

Common Milkweed Buds

Common Milkweed Buds

Common Milkweed Double Blossoms

Common Milkweed Double Blossoms

Common Milkweed Under the Sun

Common Milkweed Under the Sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swamp Milkweed

Note:  Also potentially toxic

Family:  Asclepiadaceae;  Genus:  Asclepias;  Species:  incarnata

Swamp Milkweed Bud Cluster

Swamp Milkweed Bud Cluster

Swamp Milkweed Buds

Swamp Milkweed Buds

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, while these plants are named as weeds, their beauty, variety and potential medicinal properties set them apart from what I consider real weeds like crabgrass.


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