Monday, August 18, 2008

"100" -- More Roadside

62. The way I learned MILKWEED was by going out with my mom and my grandma, looking for milkweed pods that had already gone to seed, popped open, and dried. I think they used them for craft projects. I don't know that I ever saw milkweed flowering until about 10 years ago when I we went on a flower-ID binge. When we were at Luwisomo one summer, it was just the right time for milkweed to flower, and we started looking for caterpillars. Monarch butterflies feed only on milkweed. We happened to find a chrysalis that was getting close to being done, so we brought it in and watched and waited for the butterfly to emerge. That was cool!

63. The flowers on GOATS BEARD are not remarkable. They look like dandelion or hawkweed, except that there are points that make it look a little more "starry" than the others. The time you recognize goats-beard, though, is when it goes to seed. The seedhead is reminiscent of a dandelion puffball, except it's airier. And bigger. The seedheads on goats-beard are the size of a baseball.

64. CURLY DOCK doesn't have burs like burdock. Instead it has a flower stalk that is a spiraling pillar. It will be green early in summer, but by this time of year curly dock is identified as the very dark brown, twisty weed along the roadsides.

65 & 66. One of the most beautiful sights in the world is a long ribbon of CHICORY and QUEEN ANNE'S LACE growing together in a lovely intertwining of blue and white. The kids taught me that chicory roots were used as a coffee substitute during the Civil War. And I taught them told them that Queen Anne's lace is also known as wild carrot. For those who have a hard time telling the difference between yarrow and Queen Anne's lace, the QA lace will have the small purple dot in the middle of the flowerhead, and it will make the "bird's nest" to protect its seeds from rain.

1 comment:

  1. SO - why does chicory love, love love the three feet swath on either side of the highway, just off the shoulder? Driving down a country lane, the pretty blue chicory borders the shoulder and then BANG! it stops! Why, I wonder? Does it like salty soil? Or gravel?