Rue-Anemone, Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), Native
Rue-anemone (Anemonella thalictroides) bears delicate white flowers that resemble
wood anemones or windflowers
(Anemone quinquefolia) but has leaves that suggest
tall meadow rue (Thalictrum polygamum). In
any case, all three plants are members of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). The flowers
can have five to ten petals. Rue-anemone blooms in woodlands, such as those at the Walkup
and Robinson Memorial Reservation, in early spring.
Native American made a tea from the root to treat diarrhea and vomiting. The root is sometimes
considered edible but may in fact be toxic.
Crown-Vetch, Pea family (Leguminosae), Alien
Clusters of purple-and-white blossoms of crown-vetch (Coronilla varia) bloom in attractive masses
in sunny spots along roadsides in June. This vine grows beside some of the old dirt roads leading in to
the Assabet side of the Andrews-Nourse conservation area, as well as along Lyman Street behind Burger King.
In some locations crown-vetch has been planted as a ground cover along interstate highways. Also know as
axseed, crown-vetch is in the pea family and benefits the soil by adding nitrogen.
Asiatic Dayflower, Spiderwort family (Commelinaceae), Alien
As the name suggests, Asiatic dayflower (Commelina communis) comes from Asia and bears flowers that
last for a day or sometimes only a morning. It may have been imported as an ornamental, since the flower's
two bright blue side petals are quite striking. Their resemblance to mouse ears has earned the plant another
name, mouse flower. The small white bottom petal can easily go unnoticed.
The plants have become widespread as weeds, growing in yards and waste places. They bloom from spring to fall
and sometimes serve as ground cover. The reclining stems root from the nodes where leaves grow.
The young leaves and stems of Asiatic dayflower can be used in salads or as cooked greens. The leaf tea has
medicinal uses in China, where it has provided a gargle for sore throats. It has also been used there to
alleviate symptoms of various infections, including flu, tonsillitis, and urinary infections.