It has been too hot and muggy lately to pull off the roadside and tramp among the weeds, not to mention rather dangerous, but that wasn't necessary to take a photo. All I needed to do was to walk out in my very back yard by the outbuildings and rusty farm implements to find similar images. Clouds of white above . . .
. . . and blue nearby. My favorite color scheme.
Most people would classify chicory, Cichorium intybus, as a weed, but there are very few flowers in the garden that have the true sky-blue color of this plant. Too bad it doesn't have prettier foliage, or gardeners would be adding it to their collection. Chicory has been used as a medicinal herb since the days of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, but most people think of its use in more recent times as a coffee substitute.
Normally, I wouldn't have this proliferation of chicory, but with the drought, we haven't had to mow the lawn for weeks, and this weedy wildflower has added color to the back yard. Notice the brown grass around this plant--don't you wish all our garden plants could survive the lack of rain like this?
The vision of white comes from the native Daucus carota, more commonly known as Queen Anne's Lace. Again, many people think of this as a weed, but it has to be my favorite weed of all and one that I never pull or cut down. In fact, some gardeners purposely plant this in wildlfower gardens, but I don't need to do that--I always have a plentiful supply.
Wild Carrot, as it is also known, has been used in the past as a medicinal herb, and some people have even eaten the root. But wildflower sources caution eating the leaves, which can be confused with the very poisonous wild hemlock. I may not have the wisdom of Socrates, but I don't think I would be tempted to try eating this plant:) While Queen Anne's Lace may have had some useful purposes, I think its main purpose is simply ornamentation.
It has to be one of the most photogenic
It's even attractive and interesting when not in bloom.
Although I wasn't able to capture a photo of either chicory or Queen Anne's Lace with an insect on it, both are attractive to various insects. Black Swallowtail caterpillars also feed on Queen Anne's Lace. Looking closely at the flower head, you can see that it is made up of a compound umbel, which terminates in smaller umbels, called umbellets. A rather complex structure for such a simple, common plant! No wonder I think it's so pretty.
I have been battling the weeds all summer long, but I have a soft spot for these two weedy wildflowers--they are welcome to stay--in my back yard!
For other wildflowers in bloom this very hot July, visit our gracious hostess and best friend of the pollinators, Gail at Clay and Limestone.