6 Weeds with beautiful flowers

A weed is "any plant that is unwanted and grows or spreads aggressively," says the Indiana University/Purdue University article, "Controlling Weeds." We may spray chemicals to prevent or kill weeds. The alternative is to spend endless hours pulling or digging weeds from our yard or flower garden or vegetable garden. So why is it that some weeds bear beautiful flowers? Does that not urge us to plant them, or if we see the weed sprout up uninvited, to allow the flowers to mature? This list of six weeds with beautiful flowers includes one that I used in my landscape design.

Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), also known as star flower or summer snowflake, is a perennial bulb that has the misfortune of being poisonous if eaten. The plant, which is a member of the lily family, grows about 12 inches tall and blooms in late spring.

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota), which is also known as wild carrot, grows to about 3 feet tall. I remember as a child pulling stems of Queen Anne's lace to give to my mother. This weed grew in abundance along the country road on which we lived. The fragrance of this wild flower is not pleasant but the flat, lacy blooms are beautiful.

Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.), also called field daisy, is another wild flower that I collected along the road side. Looking similar to a Shasta daisy, the oxeye daisy grows to 1 to 3 feet tall. Oxeye daisy reproduces through expanding rhizomes and through self-seeding so it is easy to see how this wild flower could spread quickly.

Yellow Rocket

Yellow rocket (Barbarea vulgaris arcuata) grows 1 to 3 feet tall and produces yellow clusters of blooms. There are good reasons why this lovely wild flower carries the label of "weed." Yellow rocket has a long taproot, the ability to produce as many as 10,000 seeds per plants, and seeds that can remain viable on the soil for several years.

Dame's Rocket

Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) enjoyed a year in my flower garden, growing along a picket fence. Dame's Rocket is shown in the picture above. I would have allowed it to go to seed had I not heard from a neighbor that the plant was classified as a weed. The stems grew to almost 4 feet tall, which exceeded expectations by 12 inches. The variety I had produces purple flowers. Other varieties are available in white or pink.

Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.), also known as bouquet violet, is a perennial that blooms from July through September. Despite its pretty blooms, I would not cultivate this weed as it grows too easily. Purple loosestrife is capable of producing up to 2,000,000 seeds per plant each year. In addition to self-seeding, even the mown cuttings of purple loosestrife have the potential to root. It is a shame that something so pretty is so wicked to the landscape.