Friday, August 15, 2008

Wildflower Friday

Today is Friday and I thought I would share some Native American Wildflowers with you. Maybe you have seen these flowers blooming along side of the road. This first one is called Chicory. The color is the best example of periwinkle blue I can think of. This plant grows the best in rocky ground like the shoulder of the road.

I did a search on Chicory and was very surprised at what I found. This is from the website:
The root of the chicory plant is long and thick, like the tap-root of the dandelion. When dried, roasted and ground, it makes an excellent substitute for coffee. There is no caffeine in chicory, and it produces a more 'roasted' flavour than coffee does. Many coffee producers offer blends with up to 30% chicory, which cuts down on the caffeine content of your cup. But many folk enjoy a cup of 'coffee' made entirely from ground, roasted chicory.

Another perk about chicory is that it's more soluable in water than coffee, which means you use a lot less of it when brewing. Very economical for someone on a tight budget.

Chicory also offers extra health benefits that you wouldn't normally get from your cup of coffee. It is reported to help cleanse the blood and improve the health of your liver.

Hmmm, You would have to be pretty desperate to dig up the roots and roast them. I do have a pioneer kind of spirit. That's going a bit far even for me. I'm glad I'm not a coffee drinker!

This flower is a Thistle. The bees are busy buzzing around and pollinating the flowers. It's great to see so many of them. I was a little concerned about the decline in the honey bee population. Anyway, you have to be careful around this flower. It has prickles all over it. They are sharp. I read somewhere that you can eat the young leaves in a salad. I'm not that adventurous.

The color is a very clear purple. The thistle seeds are a favourite food of goldfinches. This pretty butterfly is taking a drink of the nectar. I can't believe I was so lucky to get a shot of this!


Wool Winder said...

I grew up in Louisiana where chicory in coffee is very common, but I've never seen the flower before. Very pretty! Thistles are one of my favorite wildflowers, even though most people think of them as weeds. Nice shot of the butterfly!

Mim said...

Cool! My MIL is always asking what those flowers are. Now I can tell her. Think I would pass on the ones around here unless I found them out in the country. Too much herbicide sprayed, year after year.

We don't see as many bees as we use to. We've been talking about setting up our own hive. Scary!

Jennifer said...

I was turned on to a coffee roasted in LA that has chicory in it. It is very tasty! I remember reading about pioneers that roasted chicory instead of coffee since that could be expensive and not available. Same with the cowboys. What I did not know was that it was also a beautiful plant.

We also get local honey. I read once where a spoon of local honey a day can help with allergies since the bees pollinate stuff that I'm allergic to. I never remember to do it though. :) Great pictures.

whitestone said...

Thistle flowers are indeed beautiful. But if I spot one in my yard it never gets to the blooming stage. LOL. Love the Tiger has been hovering around my Tiger Lilies....hmmmm, never associated their "tiger" names before!

Quiltersal said...

I know about the thistle cause we have tons of them here in sw Missouri, but I didn't know what chicory looked I know! Thanks so much for sharing...I'm not much of an outside kind of gal so I 'do' outside vicariously thur folks like you!

Joyfulsister said...

I have to take Milk Thistle for my liver. It is used to detox the liver. I never saw the chicory. I love wildflowers I always picture living in the country going out picking wildflowers and bringing them home and placing them in a vase and display them on my tables. But for now I have to go to the florist lol.
Thanks for sharing these with me today..

Hugz Lorie

Eve said...

I live next door to New Orleans here on the MS Gulf Coast. Coffee with chicory is beloved there. A lot of my friends drink it but I just never develped the taste. However, I do love the pretty color of the flowers.
I love thistle flowers. The shape is so pretty and I do find butterflies on them a lot of times. They grow along the ditches out in the country here. Great shot of the butterfly!

susan said...

the chicory is very pretty. i have a huge "globe" thistle in my yard. when it is all done mark mows it down but it is very lovely this time of year and the huge black and yellow bubble bees love it

Renna said...

Thistles, I've seen, but I have never seen a chicory plant. Those flowers are lovely. I've heard of chicory coffee, but never knew anything about it until now. I'm intrigued, and I am a coffee drinker!

Anonymous said...

DH was just commenting on the chicory growing along one of the roads we walk. It is also very prevalent in the cemetery. Love the "blue", not a real common color in flowers. Nice pictures.