Friday, May 18, 2012

Why is this a weed?

Philadelphia fleabane
Now that the drama of the fox kit and the heavy rains is over, I am returning to paying more attention to what’s going on in the woods around my cabin. In just a few days, the once glorious in non-native dame’s rocket is already starting to fade. Summer wildflowers are not yet in bloom, though a few of the summer-long bloomers are starting to appear.

Today’s photo is Philadelphia fleabane, which is just a fancier and more alliterative common name for common fleabane. Philadelphia fleabane is told from the equally common daisy fleabane by the pink flowers. Daisy fleabane boasts white flowers but other than the shade difference the two pretty much look the same.

As with many flowers that grow without “benefit” of cultivation, this one is usually considered a weed. How human-centric is that? Here is this lovely little flower that’s easy to grow and doesn’t require constant pruning or special food or frequent hauling of water, and instead of being grateful that it’s happy on its own, all we can think of is that it’s a weed. I just don’t get it. You’d think we’d be thrilled that it doesn’t need attention. Perhaps “gift” is a better word for it than weed. Or even “freebie.”

Why we humans value flowers that require constant attention and work over those that take care of themselves is a mystery to me. I have enough work to do, and when flowers appear without my having to do anything to encourage them, I’m thrilled. More beauty and less work suits me just fine.


Woodswalker said...


Elora said...

I love the fleabanes!! Have lots growing "wildly" in my yard...without "benefit" of all the things coddled never-grows get! to why we disdane such freely offered beauty? There's no profit in it. Literally. Nobody can sell what is so generously offered for no effort!


John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

My garden is full of flowers that have 'just appeared there'. "Philadelphia Fleabane" - didn't Elton John write a song about that?

Carolyn H said...

John: I suspect that from now on, whenever i hear that Elton John song, I will think of Philadelphia fleabane. Thanks for that!