I finally identified this wild plant as Mullein, not from thumbing through a field guide, but with one quick internet search for a plant that ‘looks like corn’. Its visual profile resembles corn, but with velvety leaves and a flower spike, it’s not like corn at all and is a member of the Snapdragon family.
Some people love these plants and grow them in flower gardens. There are many varieties. For herbalists, Mullein are known as a source of traditional remedies. For me, the young plants, even younger than shown in my first photo, are quite attractive. As they mature location becomes a factor. They are so huge that sometimes a towering stalk can feel like an obstruction–in the fall the stalks become hard wooden sticks.
Mullein is also known as: Velvet plant, Verbascum Flowers, Woolen Blanket Herb, Bullock’s Lungwort, Flannel Flower, Shepherd’s Club, Hare’s Beard, Pig Taper, and Cow’s Lungwort.
My haiku is in response to Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Challenge #106: ‘sing’ and ‘flower’. ‘Bumble’ means to make a buzz or hum. I am fairly certain (from peering at a field guide) that the wild flowers in the photos are ‘Viper’s Bugloss’.
Butterfly Flower, Silkweed, Silky Swallow-wort, Virginia silkweed, Common Milkweed. These are all names for the same plant, known where I live in southern Canada as Common Milkweed. The only common aspect of this plant is that it can grow everywhere, even on a gravel driveway—as shown in the photo I took this weekend.
In recent years milkweed has gained attention as a plant to cherish if we want to continue seeing monarch butterflies. This is why I nickname it ‘Royal Milkweed’. Its leaves are monarchs’ cradle. Monarch butterflies carefully lay their eggs on the undersides of broad milkweed leaves so their progeny (caterpillars) may feed on the green flesh and white sap–no other food will do.
Milkweeds also flourish behind my garden, where every spring sprouts emerge from rhizome roots. Their perfume is intoxicating.
Milkweed flowers are amazingly beautiful–comparable in their complexity to orchid flowers (says Wikipedia).
Milkweed is a plant of many contrasts, some of which I have noted in these haiku: