Walking past bare fields to get to the woodland trail, we couldn’t help but notice all the weeds growing in the place of corn or soybeans. On this walk we saw chickweed, purple dead nettle, speedwell and henbit among the ground covers flowering in the sunshine of the day. As you drive down the highway and see barren fields, the ones with a haze of purple on the ground are home to purple dead nettle.
Chickweed flowers have five narrow, white petals with a unique feature. Each petal is cleft or split down the middle. The Common Chickweed, Stellaria media, that is photographed here, appears to have ten petals because the cleft is so deep.
There are over a dozen kinds of chickweed and they’re all edible. Gather up the tender stems and flowers for a salad or just add a few sprigs to a lettuce salad. Lettuce has been growing for about a month now out in the garden, so it’s time to enjoy it. Some chickweeds have fuzzy leaves and they’re better eaten after cooking. Boil the leaves for five minutes and serve as greens.
The fields around here will be planted just as soon as the tractors can get past all the rain and mud. According to the forecast it doesn’t look like much planting will done this week.