Think like a Wildflower

DHEC stream team with Wingate University interns at Thompson Creek

Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

“Weeds.” I have never much cared for the term. It generally refers to plants people have deemed unworthy, and the idea of a weed is completely subjective.

Crowpoison (Nothoscordum bivalve)

Crowpoison (Nothoscordum bivalve)

In the Spring, wildflowers that are the first to bloom are often regarded as “weeds.” They bloom before the extravagant garden variations dotting the modern landscape and before other natural plants in the wild. These small flowers provide much needed nectar for early pollinators such as Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Moths, Bees, and more. They are the lifeguards of Spring. Without these early wildflowers, the pollinators and other wildlife would suffer. For example, native bee species have decreased drastically in recent years and rely heavily on early flowering Spring Ephemerals which are constantly removed by gardeners, landscapers, and maintenance workers.

Field Pansy (Viola bicolor) with a happy bee

Field Pansy (Viola bicolor) with a happy bee.

“Weeds” are the base of a fragile tower of cards that is our ecosystem. They are not a nuisance, they are not unworthy, they are something to be looked up to. An inspiration, not only because of their importance in the ecosystem but for their tenacity. Wildflowers are often overlooked, they are ripped up, sprayed, cut, and underappreciated constantly. People insist on chopping them down and yet they continue to grow.

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Not only do they grow, but they grow in the toughest places. Places other plants dare not venture; from disrupted habitats to city sidewalk cracks, they thrive. They are not afraid to stand apart from the masses and grow alone. They give it all they have got, breaking through barriers, and overcoming hardships. They are persistent, resilient, and most of all, worthy. So, next time you are feeling down… think like a wildflower and turn it around.

Author: Brianna Bergamini