Wildflowers or Weeds?

The other day, I read an interesting blog article about edible weeds in the garden. Although I was unsure if I’d eat the weeds in my garden, the article did cause me to take a closer look at what was actually growing in my yard. I was surprised at the diversity of flowers I have growing and took pictures to see if I could identify them all. Four hours of Google-searching later, I think I figured them out.

WHITE CLOVER

Two flowers were so easy to identify, I didn’t need a Google search to do it. The first is the most abundant one in my yard.

White Clover

White Clover

Although most people consider clover a weed, I don’t. I wish my entire yard was covered in it! It’s always green; it’s softer on my bare feet than the terrible broad leaf grass that grows here; and its flowers draw the bees to my garden. It’s also a nitrogen-fixer, which helps my compost pile. (I put the grass/clover clippings into the compost bin every week after mowing.) Finally, I read that it is edible, not only for chickens, but also for humans. I may get daring and try it in my next salad.

DANDELION

The other common flower I have is the dandelion.

Dandelion

Dandelion

Dandelion leaves are edible, and my Italian family used to add them to salads when I was young. I didn’t think twice then about eating them. Because they are very nutritional, I should consider eating them again.

The other flower pictures I took, I had to research to identify. Because I am not a botanist, it took me hours to find pictures that looked similar to the ones I took. Also, I had to identify them strictly by the flowers because I have so many weeds growing together, it was difficult to tell which leaves belonged to which plant! However, I think I have these identified correctly, but there is a chance I don’t. So, please feel free to comment below with any corrections!

COMMON CHICKWEED

This was one of the edible weeds I read about in that blog article.

Common Chickweed flower

Common Chickweed flower

As mentioned above, you can see in this picture that there are leaves from different plants behind the flower. The chickweed leaves are the small ones next to the flowers. The leaves, flowers, and stems are edible, but I’m not sure I want to try it.  Then again, it can be dried for making tea and is used as a weight-loss aid. Maybe I should rethink this one.

FLORIDA BETANY

Yes, I definitely consider this one a weed!

Florida betony

Florida betony

Also known as rattlesnake weed, this grows all over my yard and throughout my garden beds, and is almost impossible to get rid of. It grows from white tubers that look like rattlesnake rattles; if you don’t get the tuber, you will never get rid of the plant. The flowering plants in the picture are from weeds that grew in a dirt pile. I didn’t know that they would flower if you let them go. The plants in the rest of my yard and garden don’t last that long!

YELLOW WOOD SORREL (OXALIS)

This has a pretty flower and shamrock leaves.

Yellow Wood Sorrel flower

Yellow Wood Sorrel flower

If you look closely, you can see its trinity of heart-shaped leaves to the bottom left of the flower. The leaves and flowers are edible, and are supposed to be refreshing on a hot day because they have a lemony taste to them. However, people with gout, kidney disease or stones, or rheumatoid arthritis shouldn’t eat this because it is full of oxalic acid. Even healthy people should partake in moderation. I might consider trying this one.

INDIAN MOCK STRAWBERRY

When I first moved into my house, these tiny berries were one of the first things I noticed in the front yard. I had never seen them before.

Indian Mock Strawberry

Indian Mock Strawberry

Indian Mock Strawberry flower

Indian Mock Strawberry flower

Based on what I’ve read, the fruits ARE edible; but unlike regular strawberries, they’re bland-tasting because of a low sugar content. However, the fruits and leaves are nutritional, and the leaves make a good tea. I’ve seen the birds eat these. Not sure if I’m willing to try it.

HAWKWEED

At first, I thought this was a dandelion – until I looked more closely.

Hawkweed flower

Hawkweed flower

Come to find out, it’s a relative of the dandelion. Well, there you go. The leaves are edible, like a dandelion, but are very bitter if eaten after the flower stalk forms. Guess I won’t be trying this one any time soon.

CAROLINA GERANIUM

I have no idea why this is called a geranium. It doesn’t even look like one to me.

Carolina geranium flower

Carolina geranium flower

I’ve noticed the distinctive leaves of this plant all over my yard, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen the flower. (It’s amazing what you’ll see when you start paying attention.) It’s quite invasive and has a deep tap root. It seems I’ll have to live with it.

BLUE-EYED GRASS

I spent the longest time trying to identify this one. There are quite a few different types of this plant, and I’m not sure which type this is.

Blue-eyed grass flower

Blue-eyed grass flower

This flower is my favorite! I have them scattered in my back yard underneath my sweet gum tree. They’re beautiful! I wish I had more. With my research, I discovered that the roots and the plant have been used in teas for stomach and intestinal disorders. Because there are several varieties, I’m unsure if that applies to all or only specific ones. So, hold off on the tea of this one unless you’re sure.

Well, what do you have growing in your yard and garden? Wildflowers or weeds? Like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder.

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UPDATE: For a few more wildflowers found in my yard, see “Wildflowers or Weeds Part 2.”

2 comments on “Wildflowers or Weeds?

  1. We have enjoyed catching up on all of your latest posts tonight! You have a great blog and it is very informative. Keep up the good work!

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