Monday, August 31, 2009

Ragweed

I have been hard put to find anything good to be said about this plant. It does not have showy flowers or foliage. It does not attract bees or butterflies or hummingbirds. It blooms in August-September and it can make people with allergies, especially hay fever, suffer. It originated in the United States and is said to have been used by Native Americans medicinally and perhaps as a food although I have not found information on the ways it was used. I could say that I do like the spikiness of the flower heads and stop at that.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jewelweed or Touch-me-not

Is this not exotic looking? The name Jewelweed comes from the "jewel like" look of the water drops that collect on the leaves. The flowers are rather small, perhaps an inch in height and a view from the side would show that they are elongated. This plant is also known as Touch-me-not, touching the ripe seed pods will eject the seeds up to three feet. They are beautiful, growing en masse out by the culvert. Bees and Hummingbirds like them. The juice from the leaves and stem have been used to control the itching of poison oak and poison ivy. Please click on the picture for a closer look at the "jewels".

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Velvetleaf

This plant first appeared a year ago under the Crap Apple tree. It is roughly three feet tall now and has very large heart shaped leaves that do feel remarkably like velvet. Velvetleaf originated in India and was brought into North America as a fiber crop but with no efficient way to remove the fiber from the stem the plant lost its' appeal as a producer of twine and cord. The crown shaped pod on the plant will turn brown this fall and holds kidney shaped seeds.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cellar

If you click on this picture and look closely you'll see more than one weed, especially the three leaf "let it be" poisonous one and Virginia Creeper is there as well. More on these later. This is an old "root cellar", so called because it was used to store the fruits and vegetables that were processed from the summer garden. This one, according to an old gentleman that used to live in this area, was constructed by a woman in 1922 (the date is in the grout work) and it was a contributing factor in my purchase of the land. There are other stories about it as well and I will tell those in another post.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Caterpillar (Monarch)

This little beauty is having a tasty snack on a weed growing up by the pond, but it's favorite food is milkweed. This creature will change into a green chrysalis studded with gold dots and in about 4 weeks will emerge as a Monarch butterfly. It will probably spend the winter in Mexico but some Monarchs have flown as far as Australia. In the spring they return, laying their eggs along the way for the beginning of a new generation. Photo by Shannon Gritton.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trumpet Vine

Trumpet vine sports clusters of beautiful orange-y red flowers that attract hummingbirds, but wait, don't rush out to take a cutting or look for seeds. This plant is very invasive. It has also been called hell vine and cow itch. Drinking the milk of a cow that had eaten trumpet vine could cause itchy skin for some people.
I have books on my Shelfari that will give you more information on the very interesting histories and habits of weeds. I hope you will look for them at your local library or book store.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chicory

I have always liked this plant. It is probably best known for it's use as an additive to coffee, which uses the roots, after they have been dried, toasted and ground. The leaves can also be used in salads. I have a small patch of chicory that I leave standing just to enjoy the beauty of it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Foxtail

A beautiful day here in Kentucky. Cool, in the 50's this morning and a very heavy dew overnight.
Foxtail, originated in China, one of Kentucky's most troublesome weeds.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Passionflower


Passionflower A beautiful and exotic looking vine. Named by seventeenth century Jesuit priests from Spain and Italy. It is native to the United States and is growing in the back field and it is so beautiful that to destroy it might make one feel sinful.