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Name Those Weeds
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I've never taken much interest in the identification of flora. I've spent nearly my whole life in the countryside, amidst crowds of plants, most of which I can't address by name even if I do, vaguely, recognize their leafy faces. Last week, however, after Mary asked me about the flowers blooming all around the edge of the property, I decided to do some detective work on the Internet.

The plants in question are so common here in the northeast I hardly notice them. They are part of the background noise of the landscape. Looking more closely than usual, I saw small white flowers with yellow centers strewn across a sprawling tangle of stems. Nothing showy. They create a light drift of white at the edges of woods and roads and other places where snow lingers in the spring. Just weeds, really. Untidy, cluttering up every corner, a sign that summer has got out of control and Mother Nature had given up straightening her house for the season.

After a considerable search -- there are a lot of white flowers out there -- I finally learned that these plants go by the name of white wood asters.

Now they stand out from the anonymous vegetation. They may be unruly and unimpressive but some of them will still be around to catch the thin, cool sunlight when the leaves have fallen and gaudier blooms are long vanished.

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