Since having such a wet rainy season, as compared to the previous several rainy seasons, I have seen many more species of wild plants growing, specifically wildflowers. Normally I’m not interested in growing flowers, I don’t want just a pretty face, I generally require any plants I plant and tend to do something useful for me, it needs to be edible and/or medicinal…
These wildflowers have really been catching my eye, the reds, the yellows, the blues and violets, even some oranges and other colors of the spectrum, I figured if I collected some seeds, being careful not to disturb the rest of the plant and not take ALL the seeds, leaving plenty to reseed and for any critters to eat, I could seed my property with some natural wild plants that wouldn’t need any care, they would grown on their own and reseed themselves without any help from me.
One of the plants I noted earlier this summer was a vining plant, with largish violet/purple trumpet shaped flowers, the vine and flowers were very attractive, this was the first year I recall seeing this plant growing nearby. Every week I would stop and inspect the seedpods, they needed to be completely dry before I picked them.
Finally the seed heads were ready, I carefully picked my way to the plant, and carefully pulled half a dozen dried seed pods from the plant, there were hundreds there so I wasn’t causing any harm, I placed the seed pods in an envelope, writing on the envelope what the plant and flower looked like.
I noticed the plant had a sticky white sap, I was careful not to get too much on me. Within a few minutes of picking these seed pods, my fingers began to tingle, when I got home, I washed my hands very well and the tingling stopped. I had tried to look up this plant before and the closest I could find was (perhaps) a datura, though it wasn’t exact, the seed pods looked nothing like the ones in the pictures, everything else seemed the same. Nonetheless, this plant obviously displayed some seemingly toxic behavior, I decided I would not plant this one on my property, with the dogs and potentially other critters (and people) coming into contact with this plant, well I just couldn’t take the chance.
I feel comfortable with the other plants I collected from, I had no reaction from the others. So bottom line here, be aware of what you are collecting, besides being careful not to decimate the plant and seeds, leave plenty to reseed and for the other critters to eat. Be aware of any potential toxins in wild plants. For me, this was a lesson learned….
Legal stuff: I collected these seeds from what is considered private property, in the community where I live, but it’s not on property that is owned by an individual, it’s on “common” land within the private community. I have heard about laws against picking wildflowers or collecting seeds in Texas, well it’s an urban legend and has no basis for fact. There is considerations one should take however when collecting plants or seeds, be considerate, don’t destroy the plant, don’t take ALL of the seeds, if you want/need more seeds from a particular plant, then collect from other locations/plants, don’t trespass on private property (get permission).
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