The Herbitage

beebalmI have always believed that any plant is a “weed” until we find a use for it. Herbs, for instance, are basically just weeds. They grow in ground that hasn’t been prepared, under conditions that our pretty, hybridized show plants can’t tolerate. They are mostly drought proof, insect resistant, and deer repellent. Some of them spread like wild fire. They love benign neglect. They just happen to taste good and be good for us. But until we knew all that, they were, well, just weeds.

2 thoughts on “The Herbitage

  1. shinichi Post author

    They Are “Just” Weeds

    by The Herbitage

    http://theherbitage.com/2011/07/08/they-are-just-weeds/

    I listened to an interesting interview the other day on “All Things Considered” on NPR. British nature writer Richard Mabey has written the book Weeds: In Defense of Nature’s Most Unloved Plants and prefers to think of them as “vegetable guerrillas” and “forest outlaws.” He contends that we need to re-examine our beliefs about plants that we consider noxious or invasive – weeds in other words. Before we yank those pesky plants out of the ground, we should ask ourselves why they are there, and what can they do?

    I have always believed that any plant is a “weed” until we find a use for it. Herbs, for instance, are basically just weeds. They grow in ground that hasn’t been prepared, under conditions that our pretty, hybridized show plants can’t tolerate. They are mostly drought proof, insect resistant, and deer repellent. Some of them spread like wild fire. They love benign neglect. They just happen to taste good and be good for us. But until we knew all that, they were, well, just weeds.

    I have another book called Just Weeds, by Pamela Jones. It contains illustrations and narratives about 30 different plants commonly considered weeds – from Cleavers to Queen Anne’s Lace. Jones talks about the history, myths and uses for such plants. Yes, uses for plants like (gasp) poison ivy. Believe it or not, this nasty plant has medicinal uses.

    According to Jones, the poor Brits were the victims of inadvertent transport of the plant from ships returning from the Plymouth Colony. After about a century and a half of low profile, a Frenchman found himself miraculously cured of a herpetic skin eruption he had had for a number of years after being accidentally poisoned by the imported ivy. At least one physician began using ivy to treat other conditions with some success, but the plant understandably never did achieve any level of common acceptance for its medicinal value.

    Now, I’m not suggesting that you rub poison ivy on your skin rash, or that you cultivate the vine as I did when first moving to Virginia. It really is a very pretty plant, but after encouraging its upward twine around my mailbox post, I learned that pretty isn’t everything.

    Still, it may behoove us to stop and think a bit before indiscriminately labeling all plants we didn’t put in the ground ourselves as weeds. You never know, that plant may have uses yet to be discovered!

    Interested?

    Listen to the story on NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/07/07/137550209/weeds-in-defense-of-botanys-cockroach

    Check out the Just Weeds book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Just-Weeds-History-Myths-Uses/dp/0788161490/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310129146&sr=8-1

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  2. shinichi Post author

    (sk)

    The Herbitage さんは、どんな草も役に立つとわかるまではみんな雑草だという。

    昭和天皇は、雑草ということはないという。
    https://kushima38.kagoyacloud.com/?p=24744

    どんな草にも役割りはあり、人間の都合で呼び方を変えるべきではないということを言うのに、The Herbitage さんは、みんな雑草だといい、昭和天皇は、雑草ということはないという。

    Weeds と雑草とは同じものを指すのだろうけれど、Weeds という単語と雑草という単語から感じるものは違うのかもしれない。

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