Saturday, August 04, 2012

Looking Down On a Lawn

A lot of people, if they could see it, would look down on the nature of my backyard lawn. It at least meets one of the criteria of a lawn, in that it is regularly mowed. When looking down on a lawn, or "lawn", one might as well identify the plants growing there. Warning: The photographs you are about to see may appall those who take pride in a lawn's appearance and pedigree. There is True Green, and then there is the Green Truth, herein depicted in unflinching detail.

Broadleaf plantain (Plantago major),
 a mixture of white clover and violet (human grazers will find the violet leaves and flowers more tasty than turfgrass),
 wood sorrel (each leaflet is heart-shaped, while clover's are round). Wood sorrel has a taste made sour by oxalic acid, and is different from sorrel.
If mock strawberry, an inedible strawberry from India, is allowed to spread, it creates a kind of green pavement, growing low enough to survive beneath the mowing blades.
Three-seeded mercury, along the edges of the lawn.
Lest anyone think the lawn entirely devoid of grass, there are patches of Japanese stiltgrass, with its broad leaf blades--the same annual species that carpets woodlands--
and nimblewill, a blueish green, narrow-bladed grass.
The yellow-green blades that become prominent in lawns in late summer are nutsedge, another non-native.
Nutsedge is very easy to pull out, but if allowed to grow to maturity, it looks like this.

Another prosperous weed that has made surprising inroads into the lawn this year is heal-all, a prostrate plant in the mint family that likely originated in Europe (rudely left out of the photo shoot).

All of these excel at playing Lawnmower Limbo.

1 comment:

  1. I live on Pine St. and definitely have most of this greenery in my lawn too. Thanks for identifying them.