One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower. For example, purple aster was selected to plant in the Wildlife Habitat; however it reproduces abundantly and requires weeding. If a dandelion grows next to a pepper plant in a classroom bed, it is taking nutrients and water from the pepper plant and is called a weed, yet dandelions might be valued as a nutritional salad ingredient at another site.

At Atkinson, it is best to play it safe and only eat plants that have been cultivated in the classroom beds. While some may know how to identify lamb’s quarters, chickweed, mallow, purslane and wood sorrel for tasting, there is a chance that a plant might not be properly identified.

Three Weeds

Scientific plant identification is based on the morphology of flowers and fruits, but other features may come into play. It is helpful to have a hand lens when identifying plants.

Oregon’s Official Weed Management Department lists the three weeds pictured below on their list of noxious weeds. All are currently growing on Atkinson’s grounds.

Himalayan Blackberry
Rubus procerus

Wear gloves, as this plant has prickly stems. Dig deeply to get roots out. Do not compost.

Canada Thistle
Cirsium arvense

Canada Thistle

An aggressive perennial weed with a deep underground root system. Dig out deeply when young. Be vigilant; it may take 2-3 years to get rid of. Do not allow to go to seed. Best weeded by older students or adults. Do not compost.

Field Bindweed
Convolvulus arvensis

This plant looks like morning glory. It has an extensive root system. Dig or pull these out with great care, as small pieces of root left in ground will take root again. Do not compost.

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