Exotic flowers in the yard today (a.k.a. weeds)

A few days ago, I showed the native plants blooming in the lawn.
Here are the non-natives in bloom at the moment.
I offer the list as an aid to neighbors who are learning their own yard.

First, the white Star of Bethlehem, above. It’s the only plant on today’s list I despise. It is a monster, and I’ve already ranted about it here.

Ground ivy / Glechoma hederacea

Native plants are by far the most functional for our ecosystem, OF COURSE, but these particular exotics are here to stay, so we should at least meet them. They are easy to meet. They are everywhere.

The more natives we plant, the less our creatures will have to rely on what they can scrounge from exotics.

Dead nettle (Lamium purpereum)

Deadnettle / Dead nettle is in the mint family (the square stem and flower shape are clues).

My friend Sherrie says her family calls them Monkeyflowers: “Turn the little flowers upside down to see why.”

And now I can’t stop seeing monkeys.

Mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica)

Mock strawberries LOOK like strawberries: I see leaflets of three, I see runners, and soon, I’ll see red fruit in the grass; just like really real strawberries.
How do I feel about Mock strawberries? My Tweet-length essay explains:

“Mock Strawberry” mocks.
Yellow blooms swell into chubby, red strawberries that beckon, bright in the lawn;
but when you eat one,
it will not taste like a strawberry.
It will not taste like anything.
You might as well chew air.
Dandelion / Taraxacum officianale
“Dandelion clock”

Enough has been written about the useful of dandelions to humans (except about how FUN it is to smoosh a yellow one onto paper and “paint” with it).

Dandelions get a bad rap, but they are year ’round sources of food for many animals.

Cutleaf Cranesbill / Geranium dissectum
Bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)

Exotic and invasive, bush honeysuckle costs our parks and natural areas tons of cash and sweat to fight. It leafs early (late January) and shades native ephemerals into submission,
it seeds like mad,
doesn’t offer good nutrition to animals,
exerts chemical warfare so other plants can’t grow,
and my favorite: it is a safe harbor for ticks. Nothing eats bush honeysuckle, so nothing eats the ticks who hide on it. Ticks stay safe while they wait for YOU.

(This isn’t the Japanese vine honesuckle, which at least is super fragrant and delicious. It’s coming: Lonicera japonica usually blooms in our neighborhood by May 1.)

Common chickweed (Stellaria media)
Mouse’s ear chickweed (Cerastium fontanum)
Money Plant / Honesty (Lunaria annua)

Money plant / Honesty.
Mustard family / biennial (babies sprouting now won’t flower till next year).

I keep drifts of this plant because
1) they offer pollen and nectar and
2) they just happen.
I’d have to work hard to make them NOT happen.

They happen in purple, too, which is fine, but the white are divine, and here’s why:

When I step out of the porch at night—just for a couple weeks, like right now—crowds of these white flowers glow in the moonlight, or even in no light. They fluff waist-high all around me, like I had put them there on purpose, like I had a real garden.
This kind of reception in my scrappy, redneck yard is MAGIC.

see the developing “coins?”

Am hoping nighttime pollinators (and the bats who eat them) can make use of these white blooms, too.

o o o


Of the above flowers, I happen to eat:
*Ground ivy (tastes like perfume, but in a good way).
*Deadnettle (very pretty on a salad).
*Chickweed, raw and cooked (but not the Mouse’s ear because it’s fuzzy like . . . a mouse’s ear).
*Mock strawberry leaves are okay thrown onto an already decent salad.

My favorite authority for foraging / edibility is Green Deane at Eat the Weeds.
Don’t eat anything in the yard unless you are 100% sure what it is…






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