Happy Weed Appreciation Day!

March 28 is National Weed Appreciation Day.

What is a weed?

A definition:  a plant that is not desired where it is growing.

A perspective: “A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Most folks view this common plant as a weed:

Common Dandelion

Truth to be told, that was probably the first “wild flower” most of us observed as a child.  My mother was not likely the first to receive a bouquet of these on Mother’s Day from a grubby-handed tyke!

There is a substantial amount of curious information associated with Common Dandelion.  Here are a few examples:

Dandelion flowers are photosensitive, which means they bloom during daylight and close in the evening or in gloomy conditions.

Folklore:  Some believe that brewing a strong roasted dandelion tea helps promote one’s own psychic powers.

Edible uses: Dandelion leaves can be added to a salad or cooked. Flowers can be made into a jelly. The root can be made into a coffee substitute.

Medicinal uses: The latex-containing sap is a styptic and combats acne, boils, diabetes, eczema and warts.

Wildlife value: Flowers provide nectar and pollen to honeybees and other beneficial insects, particularly important in early spring when they are one of the relatively few plants in bloom.

Interestingly, there are a number of species of wildflowers whose common name contains the word “weed.”  Such as –

Butterfly Weed

Common Milkweed

Hedge Bindweed

Mayweed

Mouse-ear Chickweed

Pokeweed

Prostrate Knotweed

Quickweed

Rattlesnake Weed

Sneezeweed

Spotted Jewelweed

Swamp Smartweed

Thimbleweed

Regardless of whether or not you feel that the word “weed” is pejorative when referencing a certain plant, I’m content to know each as simply another species of wildflower.

With that being said, join me, won’t you, in raising a glass of dandelion wine…or…cup of coltsfoot tea…or…shot of knotweed-infused vodka, in celebration of National Weed Appreciation Day!?!

Happy trails!