Weeds are a thorn in everyone’s side. As soon as the temperatures heat up here in the Fort Worth area, those devious buggers start sprouting up, taking over our lawns. But did you know that many of the weeds that grow amongst your outdoor property are actually edible? Many are consumed and used for medicinal purposes in other countries. Sounds crazy, right? Take a look at some of the most common weeds found in our Forth Worth area lawns, how they are eaten, and what makes them, well sort of special.
Chickweed is an annual broadleaf weed that germinates in the fall. It grows to be around a foot in height and has hair covering its entire length. It produces tiny white flowers throughout the growing season. Its oval-shaped leaves grow in pairs fairly apart from each other. The flowers somewhat resemble the flowers of carnations. It is very unappealing in your backyard, but it was traditionally used as a healing herb. It is edible and from what we understand, it actually tastes good. You can eat it both cooked or raw, and its stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds are all edible. It can be used raw in sandwiches, added to stews and salads. According to sources, if cooked raw, it tastes like corn silk. If cooked, it tastes similar to spinach, but the texture is different.
Health nutritionists consider it a super plant containing vitamins C, B, and A and well as a host of other vitamins and minerals. In other countries, chickweed has been used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for digestive support, kidney support, and skin treatment. It has a long history of being used to fight skin afflictions such as eczema, psoriasis, and a cooling and drying agent. Chickweed gets its name because chickens eat it. If chickens think it’s tasty, maybe we will too.
A perennial broadleaf weed that usually sprouts in the fall in warmer climates such as here in central northern Texas. Surprisingly, clover is actually a part of the pea family. It houses small dense balls of white, pink, red, or yellow flowers and leaves off a distinct scent. This short-lived weed is often used for livestock feed. You can add its raw leaves to salads or saute and add to dishes for a splash of green. It is noted that young, fresh, white, pink, or red clover is the better tasting. The leaves, however, are more of an acquired taste and not for everyone. You can roast the flowers or put them in tea, and nutritionists say it is high in phosphorous, calcium, protein, beta carotene, and vitamins B and C. While this one sounds nutritiously promising, taste-wise, I’m not entirely sold.
Henbit is a member of the mint family. An annual broadleaf weed that sprouts in the fall, it grows through the winter and early spring. It is commonly confused with purple deadnettle (which is also edible) because it has greenish to purplish square stems. It can grow to be 16 inches tall and sprouts flowers that are reddish-purple with darker coloring in spots on lower petals. While it is a member of the mint family, it does not have a distinct mint smell. Like chickweed, henbit gets its name because it was first brought to America as a chicken feeder. All of the above-ground parts are edible. The stems, on the other hand, are quite tough. Despite it being a part of the mint family, it tastes nothing like mint. Most people describe it as having a sweet and slightly peppery flavor. Others say it taste like kale.
This weed, while obnoxious when found in your lawn, is crazy nutritious. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In other parts of the world, it is often used for its medicinal qualities. It can help reduce fever, relieve constipation and treat achy joints. Many people drink tea from henbit because it acts as a stimulant and excitant, which helps relieve stress and anxiety. Now that one, I may have to try!
Last but not least, the despicable dandelion. Dealing with dandelions can often feel like playing Whack a Mole at a carnival. You never know when it’s going to pop up its bright yellow head. But yes, it too can be eaten, and it has a tremendous amount of health benefits. The entire dandelion is edible from root to flower, and it can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves can be added to salads, sandwiches, and teas for flavor. The roots can be used as a coffee substitute. Dandelions contain a large number of minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. They include high amounts of vitamins K, A, B, C, and E and are full of antioxidants.
The vast number of benefits dandelions are said to contain are endless, including reducing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, fighting cancer, and supporting healthy bones. There are dozens of recipes containing dandelions online and many people drink dandelion tea for its gut-healing powers.
If you’re like me, you’re not quite ready to run out into your backyard and pull these vile weeds and start eating them. Most of us are too busy, and none of these weeds have been tested by our Federal Drug and Administration task force. We’re not knocking on the health benefits or even those who eat these plants. But for those of us who are still looking to rid our well-manicured lawns of these bothersome weeds, you need help from the professionals at Gro Lawn.
Gro Lawn understands that weeds can make any lawn look non-uniform, which ruins the aesthetics of your yard. That’s why we provide weed control services. Weeds can rob your grass of vital nutrients, including water. Gro Lawn will not allow that to happen. We offer lawn care programs for the most common grasses in Texas, Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia, including service to knock out weeds. Learn more by calling us today at 1-817-447-7711 or contacting us here. For more tips, ideas, and crazy facts, check out our other blog articles. Then get to know us more intimately by following us on Facebook or Twitter.