Noun: A wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.
In weed ecology some authorities speak of the relationship between “the three Ps”: plant, place, perception. The term weed is a subjective one, without any classification value, since a plant that is a weed in one context is not a weed when growing where it belongs or is wanted. Indeed, a number of plants that many consider “weeds”, are often intentionally grown by people in gardens or other cultivated-plant settings.
A mass extinction is generally caused by some abrupt disruption to the entire planet’s environment. This results in major changes in habitat worldwide, and most endemic species, specially adapted to a single habitat, cannot survive in the new habitats. Thus only weedy species survive, and they dominate the planet in the immediate aftermath. Cockroaches, for example, have survived several mass extinctions. The current Holocene extinction event, then, could lead to a planet inhabited entirely by what are known today as weeds. The fossil record indicates that after mass extinctions, a weed-dominated planet persists for five to ten million years before life re-diversifies. – from Wikipedia
A list of common weeds: Burdock, Dandelion, Milk Thistle, Sorrel, St. John’s Wort, Sumac, most legumes, marijuana, wild carrot, and white clover. If you know anything at all about diet and health you will recognize all of these as being medicinal, edible, and/or nutritious.
In life, we could easily refer to those three “P’s” as People, Place, and Perception. Think about it for a minute in terms of immigration, marriage, culture, and globalization. I had a discussion with my friend a few weeks back about perceptions of the kind of people who are appropriate to marry and why. His philosophy – which is not a bad one – is that someone with a similar background will have a similar view point and there will be fewer arguments. But there is another way of looking at relationships too…
I tried to impress upon him the idea that relationships do not exist in a vacuum. As society changes it is also sometimes a valid strategy to look outside your traditionally cultivated crop of marriageable women. Because people with experience different than yours may have strengths different than yours and qualities more conducive to a rapidly changing environment. I was reminded again of that conversation when I found this book.
Value is, more often than not, based in bias and conditioning rather than fact. In fact, I think it is safe to say that the concept of “value” is completely a psycho-social construct. My advice today: Be careful when weeding out people or things in your life just because the common perception is that they are uncultivated, useless, unwanted, or unlovable.
We all believe that we observe reality, things as they are, but what actually happens is that the mind interprets what the eyes see and gives it meaning. Like pigs, if plants sprout through garbage they become a kind of litter themselves, a weed, at least in the mind of the beholder. Weeds are seen as sharing the dubious character of their habitat, they become the victims of ‘guilt by association’. But weeds have a character of surviving everything from tsunamis to the passing of millennia. – Amazon.com
Dandelion Greens with Currants and Pine Nuts
- About 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 lb. dandelion greens, ends trimmed, roughly chopped (about 2½ qts.)
- 1/8 tsp. each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp. each dried currants and toasted pine nuts
- Lemon wedges (optional)
1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring, about 30 seconds.
2. Add dandelion greens in batches, turning frequently with tongs. Increase heat to medium-high, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, turning with tongs, until greens are wilted and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
3. Add currants and pine nuts and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with about 1 tbsp. more oil. Serve with a squeeze of lemon if you like.
Per serving: 113 Cal., 62% (70 cal.) from fat; 2.7 g protein; 7.9 g fat (1 g sat.); 11 g carbo (2.9 g fiber); 96 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
3 more ways with dandelion greens (Hey! Free food!):
1. Sauté with spinach and layer into your favorite vegetarian lasagna.
2. Toss in a salad with sliced apples, blue cheese, and toasted walnuts.
3. Add chopped greens to pasta during the last minute of cooking, then mix with Parmesan and toasted almonds.