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This is a picture of the roadside in front of my house, next to the mailbox. Some interesting things grow there. The soil is very acidic, and behind the blueberries, the ground dips down to a bog so it is also very moist.

I have been interested in edible wild plants for a long time, but identifying the rest is a fairly new interest. I have not ID'd all these plants, but let's hop the garden gate and I'll tell you what I know.

Right out in front is the thistle, Cirsium vulgare, which is considered a noxious weed by the PA Dept. of Agriculture. It is a biennial, growing a low rosette of leaves the first year and a tall flower stalk the second. Deer and rabbits eat the leaves, bees and butterflies gather the nectar and pollen, many birds eat the seeds. It needs lots of sun so doesn't invade the bog or woods. Since it benefits so many creatures, I leave it alone.

Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) - the early Spring leaves are delicious. :)

A tiny white daisy which I haven't ID'd.

Ferns - since there are something like 65 different ferns native to Pennsylvania (and they all look alike to me!), I have no idea what kind grows all over this hillside. It is not a fiddlehead. The deer do not eat it. The wood frogs live under the ferns, as do snakes, salamanders, toads, anything and everything. A popular habitat.

Common chickweed (Stellaria media), related to the pink and carnation family, is an annual in this climate. It is a real pain if it gets into a flower or vegetable bed as it spreads like crazy in the softer soil.

Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea), very common but it is an introduced species. It is also an early Spring salad green. Later, May - July here, it has very pretty purple flowers that look a little like a ladyslipper orchid.

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), another early salad green loved by all the creatures.

Plantain (Plantago major), rabbits really love this. It is also good for treating mosquito bites.

The background is wild blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) AKA high bush blueberry and locally known as Huckleberry. Everything loves blueberries! And it is very pretty all year round - lovely flowers in early Spring, bright blue fruit and dark green leaves in the Summer, red leaves in Fall, and red stems all Winter.

There are the other plants and grasses that I haven't identified and a small red oak (Quercus rubra) seedling.  

Please post your pictures in the comments!
(Sorry about the poor quality of my picture. Photography just isn't my thing.)

Originally posted to Most Awesome Nana on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 07:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Backyard Science.

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