Elephantopus tomentosus, an aster, is a lovely, if tiny, U.S. wildflower. But it is not the only miniature beauty among the wildflowers.
Blue Curls – A Truly Beautiful Wildflower “Weed”
It is outclassed (for me) by Trichostema dichotomum or Blue Curls. In fact, there are many attractive tiny wildflowers. Some are even more beautiful than their larger cousins. Sadly, most consider them mere weeds – mower fodder.
E. tomentosus is commonly known as “Elephant’s Foot”. Is elephant’s foot really a weed? Well, yes. After all the definition of a weed is, “anything that grows where it is not wanted”. An orchid can be a weed.
Elephant’s foot serves as food for certain wildlife. They would not call it a weed. Even from the human perspective, there appears to be medicinal uses for the plant. Of course, in time, other uses will certainly be discovered.
Oriental Lady’s Thumb
One plant it is conceded most of us would not want “on our property” is Polygonum cespitosum or Oriental Lady’s Thumb. This is one of a number of knotweeds, difficult for anyone but an expert to distinguish. These grass-like, pink-cluster flowering plants thrive in wet soil, such as that found in ditches along roadsides.
The pink clusters consist of brown seeds enshrouded in pink. The seeds are lobed and may show (on close inspection), a lovely wood-grain effect. Some collect the seed for bird food. They may even collect the grass and dry it with the seed still in the flower so the birds can have the pleasure of plucking the seeds for themselves. The second reference at the end of this article is decidedly worthy of your consideration.
What does this suggest? Whenever you want to stop and smell the roses, don’t forget to check out also the little ones, for “Good things come in small packages.” You might be surprised how many of such beautiful things there are!
Note: You might enjoy The Dandelion – What is It Good For? A Lot
- Science Direct: Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic Effects of Elephantopus tomentosus, Ethanolic Extract
- Wild Foods 4 Wildlife: Smartweed, Oriental Lady’s Thumb