Today I promised myself I’d get the front yard mowed. The front yard is small so doesn’t take too long to mow and it’s mostly in shade. But, I found I could not mow down the big patch of Fleabane blooming there.
Fleabane is a very pretty little wildflower in the daisy family. It blooms in the spring when the temperatures have warmed up. Here that’s usually March and into April. It’s a very easy-care perennial wildflower and it can make a pretty addition to any informal garden. It will bloom and produce fluffy seed heads all at the same time. I did, this year, transplant some to an ignored, neglected area in my back yard. Since Fleabane thrives on neglect and prefers being left alone, I’m hoping it will do well (and spread) under one of the big pecan trees back there.
In addition to being a pretty little wildflower, it’s also an interesting herb. First of all – the leaves are edible. Cook them like you would greens or spinach. The leaves are a little hairy so eating them raw would be a lot weird. Though, if you’re lost in the wilderness …
In times gone past, Fleabane was used to treat dysentery. A paste made from tallow and the bruised leaves was applied to cuts and wounds to help with healing. It’s been used with other herbs for headache, as an eye medicine to treat “dimness of sight”, as an astringent, a diuretic, an aid for kidneys and the treatment of gout. It was also used as a strewing herb or stuffed into mattresses to control fleas and other bugs. All that plus it is considered a protective herb – keeps evil spirits away.
And you thought it was just a weed.