Sunday, July 19, 2009

Favorite Roadside Flowers

Notice I didn’t say “Roadside Weeds.” After all, as George Washington Carver said, “A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place.” Not only are lots of the roadside wildflowers in their prime right now, but this is one of the most popular times of year to be on the road.

I've driven past these flowers so many times without knowing their names, so I thought maybe I should correct that. Some of these flowers are considered noxious invasive nuisances. They crowd out plants that support diverse animal species and there are even plans to eradicate and control them in some places. Some, like chicory and Queen Anne's Lace, are among my very favorites. So much so that I've attempted to dig them up from the roadside and replant them in my garden--without much success. They're not happy being forced into situations, I guess. (Just like kids.)

Are you taking any road trips this summer? Keep an eye out for these!

Queen Anne’s Lace. (Daucus carota) on Korean Veteran’s Memorial Highway

My great-grandmother used to make pressed flowers from this. Also known as "wild carrot."

Chickory (Cichorium Intybuson) on Rt. 59

Dried ground chickory root is used as a coffee substitute- mostly in Louisiana.

Buttercup (Ranunculus repens) in the school courtyard. The buttercup in my yard has been in bloom almost two months now!

Tiger Lily (Lilium lancifolium) on Strawtown Road

Also known as a “Ditch Lily” because that’s where it usually grows.

Birdsfoot Trefoil (lotus corniculatus)on Sickletown Road

Often used as a grazing food for livestock.

Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus) on Palisades Parkway This one is also in abundance in our school courtyard.

Crown Vetch (Coronilla varia L.) on Snake Hill Road

Crown Vetch used to be planted for erosion control. Now it’s considered invasive.

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) near Rt. 303
This invasive weed can grow up to 10 feet tall.

What’s growing on your side of the road?


Anonymous said...

I love the combination of chicory and Queen Anne's lace by the side of the road and am always sad when it get mowed down.


Louise @ Buddy Garden said...

I have the Crown Vetch growing in my front flower bed. The flowers are pretty but they are very invasive. One time they engulf the entire evergreen bush.

Talon said...

Beautiful shots! It's funny how nature works - given perfect conditions stuff runs riot.

I love the Queen Anne's lace and the buttercups. They brighten up the roadsides so much.

Lynn P WMOMs said...

Have you ever cut queen annes lace and put it in a vase then put a drop or two of food coloring in the water. The food coloring moves up the steam and the flower changes color. We used to do that all the time when I was growing up in NY.

Joanne said...

Love the Queen Anne's lace, and seem to see that one often. It's so delicate looking. I can't believe the tiger lily is considered a weed!! I've always liked that flower, with its distinct orange color - Never a weed in my heart ;)

Lorilee said...

They are all very pretty. I've used several Texas natives in my yard, and some of them spread easily! I have had this happen with gaura and passion vine!

Gail said...

I have recently become an admirer of the native fleabanes (Erigeron strigosus ) I saw in the cedar glades...they were growing en mass and looked like boltonia in bloom...We don't see much loosestrife here but it sure is a noxious weed. gail

k said...

Beautiful flowers. I'm impressed I actually knew most of them! I'm glad to learn about fleabane. That's one I didn't know.

brigit said...

It's a shame they thrive well enough to become listed as a noxious weed. They are all so pretty.

June said...

I always leave a few Queen Anne's in my garden and don't "weed" them out. I love to gather them in the meadow for huge bouquets, lovely! But chicory is my favorite. I see it here and there in Maine but never on our place.

Thanks for the timely field guide!

Anonymous said...

A wildflower drive and photoes from last Saturday.

JGH said...

W- I agree. Why can't they at least wait until the blooms go away??!!

Louise, the vetch is all over the place here. Hope your evergreen survived.

Talon, if only perfect conditions were as easy to create on my own property as they seem to be on the roadside!

Lynn - I have heard of doing that with carnations but never QAL - we'll have to try it!!

Joanne - Iwould hope the tiger lily isn't a "weed" yet. Let's just call it a "wildflower naturalizing everywhere".

Lorilee, I'd love to see what a "Passion vine" looks like! Are the flowers pretty?

Gail, I loved the cedar glade photos you posted!

K, I always get the fleabane and feverfew mixed up, but the feverfew flowers are bigger.

Bridget, I don't think we're in any danger of seeing the last of them, even those being persecuted for being noxious.

June, you are so lucky to have the QAL growing wild - I keep trying but it doesn't seem happy in my yard.

Anon, loved your photos! Let me know when you put more up, ok?

Lzyjo said...

I love the roadside flowers! We have pretty dark blue almost royal purple bachelor's buttons I also love the black eyed susans that grow on the side of the road, and those big clovers with the red spikes, not sure that kind they are. I also love the Queen Anne's Lace.

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