This summer I'm having fun taking a close-up look at nature.
Here's a small, incredibly common flower that a lot of people can't stand. Can you guess what it is?
Here are some interesting facts about it:
- It's native to Eurasia, introduced to North America and Australia.
- The flower spike blooms bottom to top.
- The plant is wind-pollinated, which probably explains why the stamens stick out so far.
- It grows very easily in sunny disturbed soil. I've found it growing in cracks in the pavement.
- In archaeology its pollen has been used as an indicator of agriculture.
- It is very hardy and will come back again and again after mowing.
- Tea made from its leaves is an herbal remedy for coughs.
- In some states it's not listed as invasive because it only grows in disturbed soil and waste places.
- Chemical lawn treatments target these broad-leaved plants but force those lawns to be monocultures of grass.
(photo by Kate St. John)