Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Old Friends of The Flowering Kind

Joe-pye weed on the banks of Michigan's Rife River
 photos by Jonathan Schechter  July/2012

The relentless heat of  late July has two old friends in full bloom.
One likes its feet (roots) wet, the other dry but both are plants rich in memories for me.
Joe-pye weed sends me back to the river banks of the meandering Winooski River in Vermont, where my introductions to the herbals, the edibles and the mysterious plants of nature flamed my desire to know more in my early hippie days at Goddard College in Plainfield Vermont.  Joe-pye weed has a rich herbal history and is named after a New England native healer that went my the name Joe-pye. The herbal history and varied uses are too long, and perhaps too controversial for my newspaper sponsored blog but it suffices to say I smile when I see this old friend of mine.

Common chicory added brilliant splashes of pale blue after the last light rain to the dry meadows and roadsides of northern Oakland County and most everywhere else in the Midwest where this dry footed plant thrives.  On occasion I add the young bitter leaves of this old friend to salads--that is before the blooms open.
 But now that chicory is at its peak the roots draw my attention.
Chicory has multiple uses for humans but my favorite is baking the roots as a coffee substitute.
And keen eyed observers will note that new blossoms open almost every day. You won't find that in a text book, but just a fact gleaned from watching my blue petaled old friend.


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