SCI-NY: Winter in NY and the Little Plant That Could.

Join us in The Bullpen, where the members of the Scientific Inquirer community get to shape the site’s editorial decision making. We’ll be discussing people and companies to profile on the site. On Wednesday, February 22 at 5:30pm EST, join us on Discord and let’s build the best Scientific Inquirer possible.

Ah, common chickweed. I stumbled upon this lovely plant out of sheer curiosity. There it was, a lone patch of summer green on an otherwise barren, brown, and rock hard stretch of frozen dirt in front of a building. What grass-like plant has the audacity to grow during the middle of a NYC winter? (Admittedly, it’s been a warm one.) So I took a snapshot and asked SEEK by iNaturalist what I was seeing.

And now I know.

The humble weed grows in abundance in lawns and gardens across the world. While it may not have the glamour of a rose or the majesty of a tree, common chickweed is a plant that deserves our attention and admiration.

Firstly, let’s talk about its appearance. Common chickweed has small, delicate leaves and white, star-shaped flowers. It grows low to the ground and can form dense mats that cover entire areas of lawn. Some might consider it a nuisance, but I like to think of it as a natural carpet that brings a touch of wildness to our manicured landscapes.

But what’s so great about common chickweed, you might ask? Well, for starters, it’s edible! That’s right, you can pluck those little leaves and add them to your salad for a tasty and nutritious boost. Common chickweed is high in vitamins C and A, as well as minerals like iron and calcium. In fact, it’s been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, from coughs and colds to skin conditions.

Of course, I should note that you should only eat common chickweed if you’re absolutely sure it hasn’t been sprayed with any chemicals or pesticides. If you’re unsure, it’s best to stick to store-bought greens.

But common chickweed isn’t just good for eating – it’s also good for the environment. Its shallow roots help to aerate the soil, and its dense growth can prevent erosion. Plus, it provides a habitat for small insects and animals, which in turn can help to pollinate our gardens and keep pests in check.

And let’s not forget about the folklore surrounding common chickweed. In some traditions, it’s said to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. It’s also been used in love spells and other forms of magic. Whether you believe in these things or not, it’s hard to deny the charm of a plant that has been woven into the fabric of human culture for so long.

Of course, there are some downsides to common chickweed. Its rapid growth can be frustrating for gardeners who want a pristine lawn or flower bed. And if left unchecked, it can spread and become invasive. But with a little bit of management – like regular mowing or hand-pulling – common chickweed can be kept under control.

In conclusion, common chickweed may not be the flashiest or most glamorous plant in the world, but it’s certainly worthy of our appreciation. From its delicate appearance to its nutritional and environmental benefits, there’s a lot to love about this humble weed. So next time you spot a patch of common chickweed in your garden or lawn, take a moment to appreciate its unique beauty and contributions to the ecosystem. Who knows, you might even decide to try a bite!

WORDS: The Biology Guy.

IMAGE CREDIT: Scientific Inquirer.

ON SALE! Charles Darwin Signature T-shirt – “I think.” Two words that changed science and the world, scribbled tantalizingly in Darwin’s Transmutation Notebooks.

Success! You're on the list.

DAILY DOSE: America has a serious STEM problem that threatens its competitiveness and solutions are wanting.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN. America's declining math scores are a threat to …
Cheap and efficient catalyst could boost renewable energy storage
Storing renewable energy as hydrogen could soon become much easier thanks to …

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: