Neophytes were introduced to these shores after the discovery of the New World in c.1550 on purpose as an ornamental or food plant. But many are also arrived accidently through wool shoddy, and in more recent years with oil-seed, bird-seed and agricultural seed.
“On enquiry he found that wool waste (“shoddy”) was unloaded at the sidings and delivered to local farmers for use as a manure, and when this was followed up foreign weeds were found to be plentiful in their fields. By 1952 he had found 112 species of wool aliens in Bedfordshire (Dony, 1953) and was in touch with the firms near Bradford that despatched the “shoddy” -in that year he went to Yorkshire and in Bradford, Morley, Heckmondwike and Kirkheaton found over 40 species.”
The Wild Flower Key describes just the 5 best-known species in the Nightshade Family:
Lycium barbarum or Duke of Argyll’s Teaplant
Datura stramonium or Thorn-apple
Hyoscyamus niger or Henbane
Solanum dulcamara or Bittersweet
Solanum nigrum or Black Nightshade
Atropa belladonna or Deadly Nightshade
Pictures with gratitude from Mike Poulton, Matt Summers and Wikipedia Commons. FBBC added behind the common name below in the contents when the plant is described in the Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country.
Please note that this is an educational blog and not a guide for medicinal use. All plants in this family are poisonous!! Many poisonous plants are however also often employed as medicine in a much reduced amount of course.
I don’t really want to repeat what this brilliant website says, as my weekly blog wants to highlight the positive things about those weeds!
Weeds are also just being ‘themselves’; one of the many native plants of these Isles! They grow in soil and habitat in which they naturally like to grow in and often we are actually helping them greatly by providing a pleasant environment to thrive even more!
The more I work with all kinds of plants, in my daily life and work, the more I appreciate them, and this even includes ‘WEEDS’, or our native plants as I prefer to call them; or even wild flowers as many are pretty as well as useful…. Or ‘PRETTY USEFUL’!!
This weekend we will have Remembrance Sunday here which is always the nearest Sunday to Armistice * Day (on 11-11). This was signed at 5 am on the 11th November, 1918 to be precise but all the fighting ceased at 11 am, so exactly 100 years ago!
*Armistice means: a Ceasefire or suspension of hostilities or also an agreement made by opposing sites to stop fighting for a certain time or a truce.
Papaver, also ‘pappa’, is the Latin word for food or milk and ‘rhoeas’ means red in Greek.
To talk kindly about the weeds in my blog, we first need to identify those weeds of which many people despise…!
A useful place to find this information is on the RHS website please see here. You can also find out how to tackle them. It mentions over 20 most troublesome weeds, for which I will hope to do a write up in the coming weeks.