Giant Chickweed

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They grow close enough to the ground on short stems, and so even in the bluster yesterday, I could get a shot of chickweed–perhaps the most common and this year most successful spring wildflower. Most chickweed species are, well, weeds.

These particular little plants used to make for a nice field trip object lesson.

“How many petals?” I’d ask. “Ten” they’d say. And I’d pull off one of the five tiny V shaped petals to show them you have to investigate before you answer based on what seems to be true. Then I’d stuff the specimen in my mouth, chew and swallow. (As my ol’ buddy Euell Gibbons used to say, “many parts are edible.”)

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I really enjoy the nature lessons, almost as much as I enjoy the Tsuga episodes. Please keep these themes going strong.

  2. Fred, I have to echo “Anonymous” here and say what a pleasure it is to visit here, to view your images, read your words and learn from you.

    I often think you are pottering along with me as I ramble the rainwet woods in Lanark looking for fungi, infant trees and wildflowers.

    These chickweed specimens are glorious creatures, and I shall have to look for them on the Two Hundred Acre Wood – spring has quite a way to go here.

  3. great shot, fred. and i also echo the sentiments here….i enjoy the nature photos and facts…..

    a lot are familiar, but i don’t know their names…..

  4. I don’t know what I like more, your photos or the words that accompany them. I learn something with each visit. Thanks, Fred.