I was looking the other day at a section of my yard that is rather ugly, trying to decide what to do with it, when I noticed a new weed that I had not seen there before. Rather than pull it out, I used the app, Picture This, recommended by another Friends of Irving Gardens member, Jim Widener, to discover the name of the new weed. Picture This is a mobile application for a minimal monthly or annual fee, available for both Apple and Droid phones, which uses the phone’s camera to help you identify plants, shrubs and trees, My new weed is actually a perennial, the botanical name, Viola sororia, or Common Blue Violet, known for its purple flowers. According to Picture This, it is an important source of food for many birds and mammals, in the wild. It is considered to be an ornamental in some gardens and lawns but a weed in others. Its purple flowers attract a wide variety of pollinators and insects, including butterflies and bees which help the plant to reproduce. Aphids are drawn to it which attract birds like chickadees. I plan to encourage it to grow in the ugly area and pull out the Chickweed which is already becoming invasive. Now if I could just disguise the old bush stump that in this same area.
(Source: Cressler, Alan for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=VISO )