Some people define a weed as ‘a plant in the wrong place at the wrong time’. This is a reminder that all plants have value. When we add the idea that many so called weeds have medicinal or food value, clearly it is time we all reconsidered our attitude to weeds. It is time we learnt more.
I must put my hand up and declare my ignorance. Only gradually over the past few years have I come to know the value of a few weeds; very few, starting with dandelions. But I did nothing about it; my problem was that there are a number of weeds with similar flowers and I was never sure which plant was genuinely a dandelion. I was afraid I might poison myself. There are lots of options (see here and here) and clearly none of these are poisonous. Even so, I feel nervous – possibly showing signs of my upbringing to be suspicious of any plant other than the mainstream; those which sell in shops. It is time I learnt more and broke free.
One way to begin to treat weeds as serious contenders for food or medicinal purposes is to name them. From that can come more knowledge. To that end a group of enterprising weed enthusiasts have been adding to the landscape. You can read their story about naming here.
I am going (post virus) to buy some chalk! In the mean time I need to learn more weed names, and begin to understand their value better. Friend C, who has studied herbs for years, has promised to allow me to join her when she forages for herbs (these might be called weeds by others) and I very much look forward to learning from her.
Meanwhile if you are a weed enthusiast, please send me your weed photos with their names. That will be a great help in my self-education – please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org