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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Favorite Plant ... This Week is a Weed!

Hordeum jubatum, also known as Foxtail Grass and Foxtail Barley, rippling in the wind beside the road catching and reflecting the sun's light is an ubiquitous sight in Alaska  and brings back memories of my growing up years there.

Hordeum jubatum is a perennial plant species in the grass family Poaceae. It occurs wild mainly in northern North America and adjacent northeastern Siberia.


I thought of grass master Scott Weber  and wondered if he might need this in his garden; I certainly thought I should bring it into mine!


But then I learned about it's negative attributes.  "It is considered a weed because of this competitive ability and the dangers it poses to wildlife and livestock. While Foxtail barley may be palatable for animals in early spring before it flowers, its seed heads, when dry, are very harmful to grazing animals. The awns with upward-pointing barbs become easily attached and embedded in the animal's mouth and face, causing severe irritation, abscesses, and even blindness."  Alison pulls it as soon as she sees it because dogs and cats that occasionally eat grass can have the problems described above.

But it's so beautiful and looks incredibly soft which it isn't.


So, I guess this won't be introduced to my garden but I'll certainly enjoy it's pink tinted seed heads echoing the color of magenta fireweed blooming by thee roadside next time I'm in Alaska!
 
My favorite plant...this week is hosted by Loree at Danger Garden!

20 comments:

  1. You might look at Eragrostis -- Love Grass. It is suitable for animals to eat and the pink panicles are soft, not stiff. We have E. spectabilis growing wild here. It's like a mini Muhly grass, growing only 1-2 feet high but a real picture.

    Love Grass

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    1. Thanks for the picture and suggestion, Jean! It's a beautiful grass indeed!

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  2. It looks so soft and elegant, no wonder it is your favourite this week, it must look great as they sway with breeze and en masse too. But this beauty has a sinister streak, best left where they were and admired from afar :)

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    1. Ah yes, to love it from afar seems best!

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  3. I've seen a few Pins on Pinterest of garden designs using this plant! It sure does look good, such a pretty color. But it sounds like it has a lot in common with porcupines.

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    1. It is gorgeous and if you don't have grazing animals and can keep your cat and dog from eating it, no problem.

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  4. I've tried this from seed and had no luck. Maybe I should be grateful. I once planted our hellstrip with Mexican feather grass, before it was known to be a menace here, and getting into and out of cars meant your pant legs were covered with its "feathers," to the point of looking like bird legs, not human legs. Plants can look so innocent and then...bam!

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    1. I remember you talking on your blog about the tar and feathering you got from the Mexican feather grass. I bet it felt good to walk through it in shorts though!

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  5. Oh that is lovely, of course until you learn more about it (reminds me of a guy I dated years ago).

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  6. I love Hordeum...and also remember it from my time in Nebraska...so gorgeous...sadly, I don't grow it for the reasons you mentioned...too bad, it's so lovely.

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    1. Pity it has an evil side as it would look spectacular in your golden evening lit garden!

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  7. Even Loree can't embrace this kind of danger...but it sure is purty.

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    1. I guess beauty is more than bloom deep.

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  8. Pretty in pictures, if not in one's garden.

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  9. Whew, for a minute there I misread that title and thought I might see a post about that 'new' crop y'all have up there ! ;-)

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    1. A weed, not weed silly. I don't know nothin' 'bout that new crop that they're a growin' in these parts. It might be time to learn though if it's a legal and lucrative proposition. On the other hand, there are so many other, more interesting plants that I'd rather grow.

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  10. Beauty has a dark side. It does look nice though.

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  11. There's worse weeds to like - I know people who like and even help Class C invasives tree of heaven and russian olives to grow. Your grasses' seedheads do look cool!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.