NATIONAL WEED APPRECIATION DAY – March 28 | National Day Calendar

GR: Today is National Weed Appreciation Day. Yay weeds!

The following is from the National Day Calendar. The weeds mentioned are present in D-H and everywhere else.

“Did you know that some weeds are beneficial to us and our ecosystem?  National Weed Appreciation Day is observed on March 28 of each year, and it is a good day to learn more about weeds and their benefits.

“Humans have used weeds for food and as herbs for much of recorded history. Some are edible and nutritious while other weeds have medicinal value.

“Do you remember as a small child the fun you had with dandelions? Well, these bright yellow flowers serve a purpose.  Dandelions are a food source for insects and some birds.  Humans eat young dandelion leaves and enjoy tea and wine made from the leaves and flower.  The Native Americans used dandelions to treat certain ailments.  Nutritionally, dandelions contain a source of vitamin A and C, calcium, iron and fiber.

“There are also other edible and medicinal weeds, some of which include: Yellow Dock/Burdock: The taproot of young burdock plants can be harvested and eaten as a root vegetable. Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring before flowers appear.  The flavor of the young stalk resembles that of an artichoke. It is a good source of dietary fiber and certain minerals, including calcium and potassium. It is also used as a medicinal herb.

“Lamb’s Quarter: (also known as goosefoot) The leaves of lamb’s quarter are excellent added to lettuce salads or cooked and used as a replacement for spinach. Lamb’s quarter seeds are also edible. They are a good source of protein and vitamin A.

“Amaranth: (also known as pigweed)  Amaranth species are cultivated and consumed as a leaf vegetable in many parts of the world.  The leaves can be cooked, and its seeds can be harvested and cooked the same as quinoa. The root of mature amaranth is a popular vegetable. It is white and usually cooked with tomatoes or tamarind gravy. It has a milky taste and is alkaline.  It is high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, K, B6, calcium and iron, and the seeds are a good source of protein.

“Purslane:  It may be eaten as a leaf vegetable, but is considered a weed in the United States. It has a slightly sour and salty taste.  The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. Purslane may be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried or cooked as spinach is, and because of its sticky quality, it also is suitable for soups and stews.   It is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Purslane can be found growing in all 50 states.” Source: NATIONAL WEED APPRECIATION DAY – March 28 | National Day Calendar

This article by Marcus Schneck describes more weeds found at Coldwater Farm in Dewey-Humboldt and elsewhere.

Eat your lawn on National Weed Appreciation Day

One-fifth of world’s plants at risk of extinction: study | The Japan Times

The survey by Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, said 21 percent of species are under threat. The report, the first of its kind, is intended to become a global reference point for the study of plants.

The study, which estimates there are a total of 390,900 plants known to science, found farming to be the biggest extinction threat, representing 31 percent of the total risk to plants. Logging and the gathering of plants followed at 21.3 percent, with construction work attributing for 12.8 percent of the risk. The threat of climate change and severe weather was estimated at making up 3.96 percent, although scientists said it may be too early to measure the long-term effects.

Other threats came from invasive species, dam-building and fires.  Source: One-fifth of world’s plants at risk of extinction: study | The Japan Times

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Closed-canopy forest.

GR:  We tend to focus on animals.  However, plants are the primary producers upon which all animals, including humans, depend.  This study gives us an extremely valuable starting point for evaluating the status of plants.  I suspect that further analysis will show that there are more plant species at risk than the 21% indicated here.  I think this is because the effects of climate change are not yet fully understood by many scientists.  For instance, several recent studies (here’s an example) found that most forest trees will disappear this century.  With them will go many of the understory plants and, of course, the animals.

Nature News Digests

GarryRogersNature News Digests:

Plant Lives: A timely coincidence

Plant Life: A Brief History. Frederick Essig. Oxford University Press, 2015 [https://global.oup.com/academic/product/plant-life-9780199362646?cc=gb〈=en&; http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199362646.do]

A phenomenon I thought only applied to buses was that you wait for ages for one of them to arrive and then two turn up together. Well, a similar thing has happened recently in the world of plant biology book publishing. The two tomes are Armstrong’s How the Earth Turned Green: A brief 3.8-billion-year history of plants [http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/H/bo16465693.html]* and the one I write about today, Essig’s Plant Life: A brief history (hereafter referred to as Plant Life). That’s not a problem, merely an observation. Hey, I like books about plants so I am definitely not complaining! But what also struck me about these two is how similar they are (but more on that later).  Sourced through Scoop.it from: aobblog.com

GR:  Biodiversity applies to plants as well as animals.  In fact, if there were no plants there would be almost no animals.  This is a great review of a book that will tell you all about plants.

Farmers Fields as Nature-conservation Areas

Highly productive agriculture and the protection of biodiversity are hard to reconcile? A joint project involving BASF, farmers and agronomic experts reveals how modern farming can help to protect ecosystems.

Source: www.basf.com

GR:  This story is misleading.  Yes, farmers could do a better of protecting natural margins of their fields.  They could also quit spreading artificial fertilizer and pesticides and pick up their hoes.  Of course, they will argue they can’t do that and produce enough food for all the hungry people.  The number of hungry people is growing.  And this means that farms must grow and natural areas and wildlife must fade away.

Protect Native Plants and the Wildlife They Support

HB2570 municipalities; vegetation requirements; prohibition (Mitchell) prohibits cities from requiring native plant salvage and also from requiring the planting of native vegetation.

There are many reasons this is a bad idea. Encouraging the salvage and planting of native plants can help save water and ensure more resiliency in the vegetation. Some non-native plants contribute to public health problems, such as severe allergies. Limiting these plants is an important goal of local communities. Further, it is critical that non-native invasive plants be limited as these can cause harm to neighbors’ private property and to our parks and wildlands, plus harm agriculture, wildlife, and more by spreading to create unnatural fire conditions and out competing native plants.

Please modify and send the message below and ask your representatives to oppose this ill-conceived bill to limit local communities’ ability to protect native plants. . . . Source: secure.sierraclub.org

GR:  Ignoring the effects of a development would make it cheaper to destroy native habitats. Of course, developers want that.  I doubt the savings would amount to much for individuals that use the developments, but the cost in natural vegetation and wildlife will be a lasting expense that we will all feel.

Leafsnap: An Electronic Field Guide

Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves.

See on aobblog.com

Chinese orchids are in trouble, here’s how to save them

Orchid species suffer thanks to their use in Traditional Medicine. Most conservation efforts don’t work but some scientists have an unconventional proposal.

See on conservationmagazine.org

February Berry-Go-Round: Botanical Warfare

Welcome to the February 2014 Berry Go Round Blog Carnival

February 2014

February’s Subject:  Botanical Warfare:  Parasites, Stranglers, Chemists, and Thieves

Plants often appear passive, but even a massive redwood began life down there in the duff scrambling for scarce resources.  Fully grown, the trees must still defend against parasites and diseases.  Many plants are aggressive predators and invaders, and all plants have traits that improve their chances for survival and reproduction.  This month’s blog carnival posts offer examples.  Go here for previous carnivals. Continue reading