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Home   |   Weed Walk 1   |   Weed Walk 2   |   Weed Walk 3   |   Recipe

Weed Walk: Plants of the edges and fields, contd.


True buttercup (Ranunculus acris) Poisonous
The buttercup babes are pretty but dangerous, especially when fresh. They make durable and pretty wildflower bouquets, but can cause skin reactions in sensitive individuals. Herbalists have used fresh buttercup poultices as an acrid counterirritant on sore joints and as a rubifacient (reddening agent) across the back to increase energy and blood flow to the lungs. Homeopaths use Ranunculus to treat those with skin diseases, joint pain, sciatica, and sinus problems.

  abortive buttercup  

Abortive buttercup (Ranunuculus abortivus)
This buttercup babe is an almost spooky plant with nearly invisible flowers, which haunts the edges of woods. I admire the way it stands proudly despite its lack of showy blossoms. What a lovely image of self-respect and self-love. “I am good enough just the way I am.”

 daisy fleabane  

Daisy fleabane (Erigeron strigosus)
I admit to a certain laxity as regards to this “pernicious weed.” I don’t eat it, though I suppose the flowers are worthy of inclusion in salad. And I don’t use it for medicine, though the name (bane = death) suggests that it would at least repel fleas or other insects. (I have not found it to be true.) But I do indulge it for a limited (long enough to flower, but not long enough to set seeds) appearance in the garden before feeding it to the rabbits. Botanical note: There are actually two daisy fleabanes; E. annuus has the same flowers but toothed leaves.

  golden alexander  

Golden alexanders (Zizia aurea)
A member of a daring and deadly family that includes carrots, dong quai, celery, dill, osha, and poison hemlock. Some members of the Apiacea gang cause moderate to severe skin rashes on contact; some make us sick (or kill us) if we eat them. Others offer a potent form of birth control, life-saving medicines, savory and aromatic seasonings, and delicious vegetables to grace our tables. Look for futher bulletins on this fascinating family as more members come into bloom.