22 January 2012
This time of year, there are a few weeds that make themselves quite well known around here. The first is this beautiful little mint-like weed is called henbit, Lamium amplexicaule, and a quick search will teach you that its the bane of lawns and landscapes. This one is a non-native to the U.S. but it is widespread.
you can eat it too.
Here's another winter-spring weed that will take over quick called bedstraw, Galium aparine, often called cleavers.
Williams also says that in old times the plant was known for its powers, and that it is still employed in country lore as a purifier of blood. He himself seems to have made up a tea of the stuff to use as a spring tonic in lieu of sassafrass. He says its also a host for many butterfly species, but I haven't yet confirmed.
The only real problem I see in the garden is that it spreads in very thick (but weak) mats and could compete for light and water resources with other spring emerging plants. So, I do control it to a certain extent. I don't feel the need to eradicate it, but I'll pull back the larger growths of it just to give our other plants the benefit of warm spring sun and moisture.
What's the different between a weed and a wildflower? Some people have so many bluebonnets growing in their gardens they might consider them weedy (but desirable). This year, I finally have one bluebonnet coming up from seed.