Herbaceous Plants: Plants without woody tissue in their stem.
Wildflowers: A non-cultivated wild flowering plant.
Weeds: A plant that is not where it should be. Any plant can be considered a weed if it is growing somewhere that it is not meant to be growing.
Grasses: Green plants with jointed stems, long slender leaves, and stalks of clustered flowers.
Sedges: A plant that is like grass, but has solid stems and grows in tufts in marshes.
Rushes: A grasslike marsh plant with hollow rounded stems (have been used in chair seats and mats).
Classification definitions From: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Parts of a Flower:
Cross Section of Stem:
*Any references to edible or medicinal uses of plants are meant solely for the purpose of education and not as a reference for using the plants. Please do NOT collect or eat any plants in the parks! Collecting plants could disturb the ecosystem as well as potentially cause a danger to yourself if ingested. Even safe to eat plants may have been sprayed with pesticides, and many safe plants have deadly look-a-likes.
Yarrow has alternate fern-like leaves that grow around 3-5 inches in length. Yarrow grows up to 3 feet tall. White (sometimes slightly pink) flowers are clustered together in compact clumps at the top of the stem.
Yarrow has a long lineage of medicinal uses and folklore. Remnants of yarrow were found in a burial site of a Neanderthal grave along with other medicinal herbs.
The name Achillea comes from the Greek hero Achilles who was said to carry yarrow with him into battle to heal the wounds of his soldiers. The story goes on to say that Achilles received yarrow “that grew from the rust on his spear” from a centaur named Chiron who showed him how to use the plant.
Yarrow represents both healing and war in the early Victorian language of flowers.
Yarrow is still used medicinally today for stopping nose bleeds (hence its common name the nosebleed plant), aides stomach cramping and digestion, breaking fevers, externally used for sores, including a number of additional uses.
Doctors used to use mashed yarrow root and whiskey as an anesthetic for surgeries.
The dried stalks of yarrow are also used in I Ching divination.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Plant Database, “Achillea millefolium”
Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism: Jacqueline Brogle, Certified Herbalist, “Yarrow Throughout History”
“Growing and Using Healing Herbs” by Gaea and Shandor Weiss.
Wikipedia: “Achillea millefolium”
Rosemary Gladstar's Garden Wisdoms: Yarrow
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium):
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus):
Biennial plant. First year of growth in a rosette stage of leaves close to ground. Second year flowers in a tall stalk of yellow flowers. Leaves are soft with small hairs.
One common name of Mullein is pioneer toilet paper since Mullein has soft leaves which are perfect for when you have to go on the go…
Mullein is a great survival plant since its leaves have soft hairs that are great tinder as they catch fire easily, and the stalks can be used as a hand drill for starting the fire.
One of the first references to Mullein was in Homer’s Odyssey where Ulysses was given Mullein by the gods to protect him from Circe.
During funeral processions in ancient Rome, Mullein stalks were used as candlesticks after dipping the stalks into tallow.
Mullein leaves and flowers have been used medicinally in teas for the treatment of respiratory ailments such as asthma and chest infections.
Identify That Plant“Common Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus)” Angelyn.
Griffin, Judith. Mother Nature’s Herbal. 2nd ed., Llewellyn Publications , 2009.
Art & Nature Center: “It's Torch! It's a Medicine! It's Mullein!” Waldron , Laura.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale):
Dandelions have a distinctive hollow stem which secretes milky white liquid. Leaves are smooth surfaced and irregularly jagged, but the leaf shape can differ quite drastically from extremely jagged to moderately jagged. They have yellow ray flowers.
Though many people view dandelion as an obnoxious weed, dandelion seeds were brought to North America intentionally from Europe by the settlers as dandelions were used as medicine, food, wine, dye, and coffee.
Dandelions also have ecological uses, being a nectar source for bees, forage for rabbits, and seeds for small birds.
Dandelion has a long list of purported medicinal uses, one being the ability to aid in digestion due to Dandelion’s bitter properties.
Invasion Biology Species Summary Project, Columbia University: “Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale)” by Hourdajian, Dara.
Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine: “Dandelion.”