For everyone with a less than perfect lawn

Why We Must Learn to Love Weeds


The best-known and simplest definition of a weed is "a plant in the wrong place," that is, a plant growing where you would prefer other plants to grow, or sometimes no plants at all.

But it's a coarse definition and raises the question of what is the "right place" for a plant. It would be hard to imagine a more proper location for ash trees than natural, temperate woodland, but foresters call them "weed trees" when they grow among more commercially desirable timber—and, perhaps, because the ash's effortless regenerative power puts in the shade the forester's harder-won achievements.

And the criteria for weediness can change dramatically with time. An early settler in Victoria, Australia, remembered how a fellow Scottish immigrant changed from being a nostalgic botanical reminder of the old country to an outlawed invader: "One day we came upon a Scottish thistle, growing beside a log, not far from the stable sheds—a chance seed from the horse fodder, of course…. This was carefully rolled in a piece of newspaper and put under a stone. In a few days it was in a beautifully pressed condition and was shown round with great pride. No one thought that, some 20 years later, the thistle from Scotland would have spread in the new land, and become a nuisance, requiring a special act in some shires and districts to enforce eradication from private properties."

Comment: And the Dandelion:


If you put aside all the Danelion's negative qualities, it really is an amazing plant. Its leaves can be used for salad or brewed for tea, they can be used to make wine, and their roots can be dried and ground up as a coffee substitute. They're high in vitamins and pottasium, and have a lot of medicinal properties. The problem is that Dandelions, a non-native weed imported from Europe, have developed such a knack for survival.

More on: Dandelion: A Pesky Weed or a Beneficial Flower?

1 comment:

  1. In Phoenix, marigolds are flowers, not weeds. I remember my parents back planter at one time was all marigolds.


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