Pink lady "slappers" growing in a Nova Scotia forest. The author thinks they can be a nuisance. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

A lexicon of wildflowers

When they are attractive, we call them wildflowers, but whatever their common name, they can be a nuisance.

The growing season is upon us, and also the season, alas, for weeds. When they are attractive, we call them wildflowers, but whatever their common name, they can be a nuisance. Here is a list of some of the ordinary wildflowers to be seen in local gardens. Take precautions against them now and you’ll be rewarded with a happy and tidy garden.

Flowering splurge (financius spendiforum): An invasive annual, especially if planted near a bank. Can seriously deplete the resources of the garden.

Kvetch (Whinus): Commonly known as nagflower. Although it seems to promise showy bloom, it is an annoying weed never quite suited to its garden location, yet never quite willing to be transplanted elsewhere.

Ladies slapper (Feminus rudica): Surprising and stinging, almost rude in its coloration. Best suited to the back garden.

Grab Grass (Snatchus lawniata): Like the ladies slapper, a startling weed best left to itself.

Climbing bedsheet (Percaleia sweatus): A summer annual, particularly annoying when air conditioning is not working.

Lox-eyed daisy (Bagelia v. delicatessia): Blooms strongly in the morning. The flower is in a variety of colors from a smoked salmon pink to a creamy cheesy white to a buttery yellow.

Stonecrop (Rockus): A strictly New England wildflower with a delicately colored grey or white (sometimes bronze) smooth or jagged low flower. It comes in hybrid varieties from the small (R pebbleia) to large (R boulderia). Transplants easily but reseeds freely and may become invasive.

Bleeding heart (Corus liberalis): Blooms generously when the cause is just. Flowers tend to become prostrate and fall all over themselves. Needs support. 

Cone flower (Icecreamus spec.) A good choice for children’s gardens. Does well in sunny and cool weather but tends to get a little drippy in intense heat. An Italian import, Icecreamus x gelatio, comes in a wide variety of sophisticated colors.