A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac


August 27, 2013
Emilie Phillips

The goldenrod is blooming in the yard. I noticed a few pretty purple flowers blooming in my yard, and lots in some other fields. The combination of yellow and purple looked really pretty, so I went looking to figure out what it was and how I could get more. This would be one place where Google is not the best resource. “Purple flower” just doesn’t get great results. I eventually identified it as purple loostrife, an invasive. So instead of planting more, I need to pull it up from my yard. Bummer. From what I found in my search, if I want a native fall blooming purple flower that likes dry open meadows, I should plant joe pye weed. Not nearly as showy, but worth considering.

The other thing that blooms when the goldenrod does is ragweed. Tyson’s allergies have kicked up into full swing, so I figured while I was out weeding for purple loostrife, I should also pull the ragweed. Of course, the first step is to know what ragweed looks like. This time Google provided many more answers — string to image being much more its forte. However, a pile of pictures of varying quality (and some of goldenrod), does not make it easy to recognize a plant. A real plant identification book listing key features and structure works better. In any event, I finally found something in the yard whose leaves and flower kind of matched the internet photos. The bad news is that it covered the yard. The other bad news is it is hard to spot. As you would expect for a flower whose pollen is wind born, the flower is not very showy.

I managed to pull all the flowering purple loostrife in the yard, but I did not even clear the small portion of the yard to the east of the house of ragweed. I am pretty sure there is more purple loostrife that has not bloomed yet. I saw some plants without flowers whose leaves looked similar to the flowering ones. Also, after pulling a ton of plants that I guessed were ragweed, I went back and looked at the internet photos again and the common ragweed photos match very closely with what I was pulling.


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