Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wholesome Wednesdays: Wildflowers

Watch out, Texas.... wildflower season is coming! Watch out for those wild super-corgis, too!

I like a bit of silliness now and then.
Wildflowers really are essential to our native ecosystem. They nourish bees and beneficial insects with their nectar and pollen, as well as birds and small critters when they go to seed. Many of the wild 'flowers' are also healthful herbs. Echinacea (or purple cone flower), chickweed, cleavers and more are all weedy, flowering herbs with powerful health benefits. Not to mention honey: my husband is especially partial to wildflower honey, i prefer clover honey. Honey is full of nutrients and is nature's anti-allergy tonic: the bees do the work of gathering all those pesky allergens together and processing them into a delicious elixer that will boost your immune system and help you cope with the pollen that floats through the air.

This website can get you started with identifying the useful wildflowers from the pretty, but best left alone varieties. In this day and age of bottled, packaged, pilled, and sprayed medicines we often forget that most of those medications are just man made variations on nature's  remedies. Take a few moments to ponder those 'weeds' before you pull them and toss them into the compost. They may have some wonderful and nurturing quality. Some common weeds and wildflowers with the best bang for their bloom are:
  • Dandelion greens: digestive and liver tonic
  • Chickweed: too many benefits to list! High in fatty acids, healing, weight loss. Can be eaten or used as a poultice
  • St. Johns Wort: mood leveller and more
  • Echinacea: Harvest that precious root of the purple coneflower to reap the benefits of this miraculous herb. All around immune system booster

There are too many beneficial herbs and flowers to list. Wildflowers are beautiful and delight us every Spring with their miraculous colors, they hold the dry late Winter soil down during Spring rains, they nourish wild creatures and our an essential component to our ecosystem. Wildflowers aren't all necessarily native. We can thank Lady Bird Johnson for contributing to the beautification of Texas' roadsides and the eventual spread of so many wildflowers across our state. They certainly fit nicely into our vast landscape.

What's your favorite wildflower? (I'm partial to these little coreopsis). 

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