Sunday, January 22, 2012

Springtime Flowers

Our weather here in Texas has been on again/off again with temperatures. Today it is 77 degrees, cloudy and windy. What I detest most about this time of year is the dreariness of it all. But today I found some color in my backyard.

This sweet little blue flower, commonly known as speedwell (Veronica arvensis) can be found throughout the US. It is native to Europe and is one of the earliest plants to bloom in the spring. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs).

Common chickweed (Stellaria media) is also native to Europe and found throughout the US. The five petals (corolla) of this flower are deeply noticed so it looks as if there are 10 petals. The fruit sticks to clothing, hair and skin thus carried and deposited everywhere. The plant is one of the ingredients of a symbolic dish consumed in the Japanese spring-time festival, Nanakusa-no-sekku.

And then there is the common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). The deeply toothed leaves give the plant its name in Old French: Dent-de-lion means lion's tooth. Each flower head consists of hundreds of tiny ray flowers. Dandelion leaves are edible and should be collected in early spring, when they're the tastiest. Harvest again in late fall. Some people eat the greens from spring to fall, when they're very bitter. Others boil out the summer bitterness (and water-soluble vitamins) in two changes of water. I guess it is all a matter of preference. Flowers are edible or can be made into wine (now we’re talking).The modern French name for this plant is pissenlit (lit means bed). Ahem, the root and leaf tea act as a gentle diuretic.

So small but so pretty - I had to use an old glass ink well for my arrangement!

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