Cool breeze and warm sun. And green all around me!
Spring is here, at last, and I've no need for that cumbersome coat! All along the edge of the road, out into the fallow fields, thick by the ditch bank and in our back yard — green! I know that this is a noxious weed, an invasive plant from Asia, but for this moment I relish green!
I walk in our back yard, and here I find not just green, but delightful, small purple flowers. And the plant has a peculiar odor, musky according to some people. It's not exactly bad, until I sniff my hands after touching it! I look at the stem with my hand lens and there are myriads of hairs, each with a tiny, shiny gland at the tip: the source of the aroma.
The purple petals are separated and are reminiscent of a cross, hence the older name for this family, Cruciferae. But you'll find it now in Brassicaceae, the scientific name for the mustard family which includes kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, turnips and a number of vegetables used in Chinese cooking.
The bright green leaves have slightly wavy edges and vary greatly in size ... some a mere quarter inch long but others nearly three inches long. The botanical label, Chorispora alludes to the slight constriction between seeds within the pod, and tenella refers to the slender pod.
I look at the pretty petals, each about one-quarter inch long but this pretty little blossom will bring forth a roundish seed pod, nearly two inches long. And as the season progresses, the seed pods and the stems become hard, almost like wire. By then it is a real problem for small pets and beyond the power of a ride-on mower! So if you find it in your yard, I strongly urge you to get rid of it before it matures! From a few plants, the many seeds will germinate next season and the purple mustard can cover large areas.
But before that, relish the lovely spring green!blog comments powered by Disqus