Thursday, January 5, 2012

Spring pretend

With days like yesterday and today, it's easy to wish even more than spring was TOMORROW! Even a pair of frisky red admirals (above) were flitting about this afternoon. With the recent rains, volunteer henbit and other nuisance natives (and nonnatives) are flourishing. Yesterday afternoon, I got out and pulled henbit from our front beds. For now, it can grow elsewhere for the benefit of bees, butterflies and other insects. When she visited Tuesday, my mother asked about henbit. Time to get out the books!

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) is the common name for a cool season weed, originally from Europe. It's also called dead nettle and is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Howard Garrett in Howard Garrett's Plants for Texas says he likes the plant, "but if you don't, mow it down." According to Delena Tull's Wildflowers, Trees and Shrubs of Texas, "the young tender plants of both species [Lamium purpureum, East Texas species] are edible raw or cooked; unlike most mints, these do not have aromatic leaves."

And with yet another new year already here, I've decided to wage war against invasives in our Wildscape. The lantana (pictured above) was here before I moved into the Pink House in 2002. It struggled to survive last summer's drought and wasn't as hearty as usual. Though not listed at Texas Invasives, many biologists, native enthusiasts and other experts frown on Lantana camara and consider it to be highly invasive. So out it goes.

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