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Plantidote of the Day 2012-10-23

twig's picture


Unidentified weed

A bit of a departure from Plantidote's usual beauty shot. I think the plant above is a weed, but, if the past is any indication, I could be wrong ;-) Whatever it is, I love the tiny flowers which look more like small brushes (about 1/2" diameter) than traditional blossoms (click on the image to enlarge it for a better view). And that image is not of a spent flower, like a dandelion when it turns poofy. As you can see from the bud just to the right of the flower, these little blooms don't start as flowers and turn bristly -- that's just how they are. Overall, it's quite a nice little plant, about 8" high with arching leaves and dainty, if odd, flowers. Maybe someone will recognize this plant and set the record straight. We'll be waiting ....


Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

Many times each spring, I see unusual plants coming up here and there in the garden. I grow lots of things including many that re-seed.
So, with great hope and expectation, I protect and groom numerous plants that turn out to be big nothing-burgers or worse, an invasive plague.
A weed.

But that doesn't deter me, I am still always looking for those found treasures.
Heck, that's half the fun of gardening...the hope.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

It's just mind-boggling how many odd little things pop up in the yard. Where do they come from? There's a tiny succulent-looking thing in one of the avocado pots that I didn't plant. And I've never heard of succulent reproducing via spores, so what is this -- a mutant of some kind?

It's so much fun and so interesting seeing what will come up next. As long as a plant doesn't turn out to be poison ivy/oak -- or invasive -- I'll take care of it, figuring they all have a purpose, even if I don't know what it is.

Submitted by lambert on

This year, for some reason, I had a great wave of thistles!

They were along the street, so I just decided to leave them there as a fence (one benefit) and also perhaps protection against deer.

Then it turns out they have beautiful purple flowers (a second benefit).

And it also turns out that IIRC that, like sunflowers, they pull poisons out of the earth.

So all these benefits from a weed!

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

to post one of these days. They have so many medicinal properties and yet people rip them out, poison them, etc. Crazy!

Thistle flowers are gorgeous. And some thistle plants are medicinal, too, like milk thistle, very good for the liver. I did not know they can detoxify soil -- wow!! We should be harvesting all these plants, or at least using them like you did as a barrier, compost, etc. not eliminating them from the landscape.

Submitted by YesMaybe on

A lot of grocery stores even sell them. Friggin' awesome and incredibly nutritious.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

some ridiculous amount of money.

But you gave me an idea -- I'll see if any of the farmers market people have them and do a story with how to prepare them as tea, salads, sauteed, and whatever else works. That might be fun!

Submitted by YesMaybe on

When I was in Pittsburgh they usually had them at the Giant Eagle (at least in the two stores near my apartment), which is the big chain over there. They were usually around $2.50 a pound. More than turnip/mustard/collard/kale, but not extreme. I'd often just mix several of them together.

As far as preparation, they're rather bitter, so cooking (or sauteeing, I guess) them is a good idea. I wouldn't put them in a salad unless I knew the people it was for were into that.

Submitted by YesMaybe on

The Japanese eat the roots, and I saw a bunch growing in a friend's yard in Pittsburgh (though he didn't know what it was). It's super easy to grow, hell, it'll grow whether you want it to or not.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

I know what burdock is (I was on a macrobiotic diet for a while and burdock is big in macrobiotics), but it never occurred to me to grow them. Cool! The taste is probably not to everyone's liking, but it's not bad when you get used to it. They're supposed to be very healthy, but the details escape me at the moment.