Saturday, June 30, 2012
Roadside Plants, that translates to MORE EXOTICS!
Birds-foot Trefoil is often mistaken for Pencil Flower, Stylosanthes. You have to look at the leaf arrangement to be sure. Cow Vetch is often mistaken for Alfalfa. Cow Vetch flowers grow in long, one sided racemes, and the flowers are elongated and hang down. Alfalfa flowers are shorter and occur in round heads at the top of the plant.
If you peel back the green leaves, you can eat the white center. Just remember that cattails are natural filters and absorb any pollutants in the water. Think about the water quality before eating. Cattails are used to filter out heavy minerals in reclamation sites.
How do you tell them apart? Broad-leaved and Narrow-leaved refers to leaf width, but that's a matter of perspective. Look at the fruit. Broad-leaved has very fat fruit, more like a Bratwurst. Narrow-leaved fruit is more like a Cigar. There's still a better way. Broad-leaved species have the male and female flower parts touching each other. Narrow-leaved has a distinct space between them. The above plant has very fat fruit, but yet has a small space between the top and bottom. Click on the photo. Perhaps this is Typha x glauca, the hybrid between both. I've never had anyone point it out, so I can't be sure.