If you’ve ever taken a walk down a country road and found yourself surrounded by colorful bobbing heads of blooms you cannot immediately name, you have likely encountered one of the many weed flowers. In almost every area, there are numerous native plants, some considered weeds, which would make perfectly acceptable additions to any flowerbed collection. These hardy plants offer ease of care and striking appearances.
Thistle is one of the easiest flowering weeds to recognize because of its jagged, spiny leaves and purple to pink flower heads that look like shaving brushes. Thistle grows from a rhizome and can be a perennial or biennial. The many varieties range in height from 2 to more than 6 feet. Not a good option for well-traveled areas because of the spines, in an out of the way corner, the plant can make a striking statement.
Joe-Pye weed is a perennial that offers flower heads filled with small groups of purple-to-pink blossoms on tall stalks. According to the University of Massachusetts Extension, the Joe-Pye weed is a member of the sunflower family. This herbaceous flowering weed can reach 10 feet in height, adding visual interest to the back of flowerbeds or when allowed to grow in a wildflower garden or field.
Speedwell comes in many varieties and runs the gamut from annual to perennial, depending on the location and type. Speedwell can be used as a ground cover, and the plant has small, dark-blue flowers. According to the Oregon State University Extension, purslane speedwell is the variety native to the United States. The plant may have ivy-like leaves, oblong, rounded or heart-shaped leaves.
Queen Anne’s Lace
Queen Anne’s lace, also known as wild carrot, is a biennial. The plant reaches a height of 1 to 3 feet with large heads of small white flowers atop. The large taproot resembles a carrot or parsnip. This flower makes a light, airy addition to informal gardens. Care must be taken with Queen Anne’s lace as the plant can cause a skin reaction in some people.
Morning glory is a popular choice in flower gardens, but wild forms also fill fence rows and fields around the country. Pitted morning glory has smaller flowers than types available as ornamentals, and these trumpet-shaped flowers attract butterflies. Beware of the weed getting into your vegetable garden space. According to the University of Tennessee Extension, it can become invasive.
- University of Tennessee Extension: Pitted Morningglory
- University of Minnesota Extension: Thistle Control
- Oregon State University Extension Service: The Speedwells
- University of Massachusetts Extension Weed Herbarium: Spotted Joe-Pye Weed
- University of Minnesota Extension: Annual Grass and Perennial Weed Identification
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