Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wildflowers and Wildcrafting Wednessday

I was very excited to find two new blog-hops/linkies this week: Wildflower Wednessday, a place to celebrate wildflowers and  Wildcrafting Wednesday...a blog get together not just about gathering and using wild plants, but about all uses of herbs.  

Why am I so excited?  Because I mow around the wildflowers in my yard (the little gifts I didn't have to plant and cultivate).  Because there's tons of gardening linkies but this is the first I've found that celebrates the roadside flowers too!    Because it's hard to find others who look at the "weeds" in their backyard as useful, not just as something to get rid of.     Though I've been dabbling in wildcrafting since high school, I'm still very in-experienced, and I'm looking forward to learning from everyone.  And I'd love to find some other wildcrafters from Texas, too!

My back yard is fairly weedy.  I like to let some "weeds" (like dandelion) grow because they're useful, and others (like the Texas wildflowers I find) because they're beautiful.  But there's a lot of wild plants in my yard I haven't identified yet.  Some are "old friends."  Some are new neighbors, and  taking to heart the West Texas Gardener's warning to "beware of weeds bearing gifts,"  I'd like to know more about them before I let them take over my yard.  If any of you recognize these plants,  you'ld make my day if you help me identify them, or letting me know if they come with any unwanted surprises (like prickers or thorns), or any benefits (like medicinal or culinary uses). 

Know what any of these are?

Flowers smaller than a dime...texasflip on the Garden Forums
thought this was Oenothera biennis (a type of primrose), 
but I'm not sure.  Going to have to take a closer look at the 
plant and compare it to the pictures I googled.

Thanks so much any info you can give me on these plants!  Much appreciated!

These ones I had asked about were identified.
Thanks a bunch!  Haven't had a chance to look them up
to see if they have any uses or problems associated with them.

This is Sherardia arvensis or Field MadderOn Wikipedia it said
that the root could be used as a red dye. Thanks to Teri, from the Garden Forums for identifying this!

Ty from the Garden Forums identified this as a vetch (Vicia sp.).
According to wikipedia, though some types of vetches were once used as a food crop, many are toxic to humans.  I checked at the Texas Forager , and since I didn't see this listed as an edible, I'm avoiding it.  I can say from experience this one is pretty invasive...I left just a few of these plants in my yard last year and now they are covering half of it!  Really need to take a whack at them but I've been too busy trying to root out burr clover, my mortal enemy of the yard.

Ty from the Garden Forums and an anonymous poster helped me identify this as a sandmat spurge, possibly Euphorbia serpyllifolia or Euphorbia nutans. but I'm not sure because there's a ton of varieties of this and I didn't try to go through them all.  If it is that one, wikipedia said the Native American's used this medicinally.  This plant has a really unusual feature I discovered last summer.  The seed pods EXPLODE!  Last summer I was walking where a bunch of these were growing, and I kept hearing a popping sound.  Then I actually felt some of the seeds pop onto my leg!  The picture above was taken just before then.

(Oh, and the flowers at the top of the page are Wild Primrose...which is actually edible!  You can eat the flowers and new greens. Haven't tried the flowers yet.  The greens aren't bad, but I hate to take much for fear of having less flowers later.) 


  1. I will study these photos Gale and get back to you! Welcome to Wildflower Wednesday, I am so glad to meet another wildflower enthusiast. ....gail

  2. Good information. I have been thinking about learning more about weeds. I appreciate all the tips and links.

  3. Anonymous9:03 AM

    I think the vetch is likely hairy vetch. It is a common weed/forage food here in texas. It is very vigorous, and will easily spread, but will die out as it gets hot. Cows like it, but for some reason, black colored cows can possibly get sick from eating too much of it.

  4. I spent two years in the Hill Country and we went back to California last summer. I sure miss the wildflowers. The flowers two years ago were amazing, we saw so many pretty areas of wildflowers.

  5. I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation

  6. Anonymous12:27 PM

    I think a better name for the Euphorbia is E. nutans based on the large leaves and what looks like a little hair on the stems. Also, I think the Oenothera is probably O. laciniata. Hope this helps!