Thursday, September 15, 2011

I was scooped

I wanted to write a post about weeds, but thought “that’s dumb.”  Then the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a two page article titled “Lovely trespassers on native territory.”  So here goes.
When I think of Utah weeds, I think bind weed and myrtle spurge. Bind weed winds its way up and chokes any plant it touches; myrtle spurge is a beautiful chartreuse green in the spring and later a pretty blue/green.  But it will take over if you don’t fight back, and has damaged the Salt Lake foothills. 
Ohio has its weed problems as well, but as a kid I loved three common Ohio weeds:   Goldenrod, Queen Anne’s Lace and Blue Weed.  
In Utah, I actually paid for Goldenrod so I could plant it in my garden. I doubt that anyone in Ohio actually plants it, and if they do, they don’t pay for it because Goldenrod covers nearly every spare inch of Ohio roadside.  My mom was allergic to Goldenrod but we alway brought her bouquets anyway.
Most Ohio kids have at some time put bunches of Queen Anne’s Lace in water with food coloring; the colored water is drawn up the stem and tinges the white blossoms.  Queen Anne’s Lace, also called wild carrot, is a frilly, victorian-looking flower and I once brought  a plant back to Utah.  It didn’t make it, so I tossed the leftovers in my compost heap;  its offspring sprout in my yard every year.  You can’t keep Queen Anne’s Lace in a single spot, as I stupidly thought I could do, so I pull it.  I don't want to create another myrtle-spurge-type problem.  
Blue Weed has beautiful, pastel flowers that last a single day -- but those flowers are on long, rubbery stems that really whipped at my legs when I was a kid. 
The Plain Dealer article said eight thousand of the of 250,000 plant species are considered weeds.  A weed can be just a plant out of place, but  they are classified as noxious if they damage the economy and local resources.  The USDA web site 
has Queen Anne’s Lace on Ohio’s noxious weed list.  Both bind weed and spurge make the Utah list.
Jim goes by Goldenrod at the Wellington Reservation, one of our favorite places to walk.  Wikipedia says Goldenrod gained acceptance as an American garden flower in the 1980s, but was popular in England before that.  It also says that Ohio son Thomas Edison experimented with Goldenrod to produce rubber, and that the tires on a model T given him by Henry Ford were made from Goldenrod.  Was I reading Wikipedia on one of those days when people made things up?

Queen Anne’s lace is also called wild carrot and does smell like carrot.  Each flower has a single dark red spot in the center; legend has it that Queen Anne of England (1665-1714) an accomplished lace maker, pricked her finger with a needle and created that spot of scarlet  
Blue Weed is also called chicory, and is a coffee substitute -- but I think I'll go to Starbucks. I also read that you can eat the leaves -- but they are so tiny that you would not have much of a salad after an afternoon of Blue Weed picking. 

1 comment:

  1. What a delightful life you are living! It all sounds so wonderful. At times I don't think I will ever relax enough to muse over weeds. To me, I see goldenrod as a color of business paper, Queen Anne's Lace as a name of a lovely novel I would want to read on the weekend and Blue Weed is the mood I have on Monday morning when I come into the office.

    Your blog is a day dream of my life in a few years.


    Diane Rosander