One such "weed" would be jewelweed or impatiens capensis.
"One of the sepals (outer parts of the flower) is modified into a large, pouch-like structure with a long spur, which gives the flower a pleasingly artistic shape. Its interesting shape, bright orange color, and decorative red-orange flecks make the jewelweed flower irresistible to people and pollinators alike," posted Kent Karriker in a Plant of the Week article for the U.S Forest Service on its site www.fs.fed.us.
"Seedlings sprout in early spring and reach maximum size by August. Flowering begins in mid-summer and continues until frost kills the plant," Karriker continued.
Jewelweed has also been used in Native American medicine.
The sap is said to relieve itchy skin.
While jewelweed attracts a variety of pollinators from hummingbird to butterflies, it doesn't seem to attract goats. Thus it gets a "meh" and a one star out of five rating.
Joe-Pye weed is a 3 to 6 feet tall unbranched native perennial plant bearing branched flower stalks at the top, according to United States Department of Agriculture website. An article titled “Joe-Pye Weed – A great butterfly plant with an unusual name” posted on www.soitgrows.com, explains the plant’s name.
“The plant is named after Joe Pye, an American Indian herbalist that used the roots in a concoction which cured typhus fever,” the article said. It went on to say that “some tribes also used Joe-Pye Weed as a diuretic to treat urinary infections and stones.
I have seen the goats eat Joe-Pye weed so I'll give it a three out of five rating as they don't bother to go out of their way to munch on it. However if they were butterflies, it would likely get a higher rating.
Another weed is New York ironweed. (Top photo on this blog.)
A post on www.wildflower.org said "New York ironweed is a tall, clump-forming perennial, growing five to eight feet in height."
The flowers are a lovely dark purple. The post went on to say the plant is common in wet open bottomland fields. The fact that the weed likes wet places may explain why I haven't seen any in my vicinity this year. The dry summer seems to have stunted their growth in my immediate area.
This weed won't get a goat rating as we haven't come across any this year.
The next weed on the list is pokeweed. We have a couple of pokeweed "volunteers" in the backyard.
Pokeweed is usually about 6 to 10-feet tall, but may in some instances reach 21-feet tall, according to David Taylor in a Plant of the Week post for the U.S Forest Service.
Taylor went on to post a warning that "the entire plant is poisonous causing a variety of symptoms, including death in rare cases. The berries are especially poisonous. ... The fruits are important food for mockingbirds, northern cardinals, and mourning doves."
A post on www.goatworld.com echoed the sentiment, "Pokeweed is very pretty, but toxicity is low. The goats NEVER eat the berries or leaves, but they do rub their horns on the trunks/stalks. The birds love the berries, and it does not seem to effect them."
I guess it is good that Kyle and Kennedy don't seem to express any interest in this weed. This gets a goat rating of "bleh" or zero out of five stars for being poisonous.
Though not necessarily weeds, my last two wildflowers in this post sported mid-summer blooms.
The first is turtlehead which is named for the shape of its flowers that sort of look like the heads of turtles.
According to a Plant of the Week post for the U.S Forest Service by Patricia J. Ruta McGhan, "turtlehead is also known as balmony, bitter herb, codhead, fish mouth, shellflower, snakehead, snake mouth, and turtle bloom."
McGhan said the plant favors damp ground and can grow to a height of two to three feet.
"Turtlehead plants are used in natural medicine. Traditional practices create a tonic from this plant that is claimed to be beneficial for indigestion, constipation, and stimulating the appetite. It is also an anthelmintic (de-wormer) and a salve from the leaves may relieve itching and inflammation," McGhan posted.
In contrast to the wet loving turtlehead, milkwort will grow in dry, sandy or rocky woods. These tiny flowers can be pink, white or purple. There are several species of milkwort. It's so tiny that the goats haven't even noticed it. They may have crushed some inadvertently though. As a result, milkwort doesn't receive a goat rating.
"The leaves of Common winterberry are not shaped with sharp teeth like other hollies and are not evergreen. The purplish green foliage turns black, in fact, with the first frost," according to a post from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on www.wildflower.org.
"These shrubs are either male or female--a trait typical of the holly family," the post continued.
While birds seem to be able to eat the berries, they are listed as having a low toxicity for dogs, cats and horses. As for goats, the jury is still out. Kyle and Kennedy have nibbled on them with no ill effects. So the goat rating on this is four out of five stars, but I will have to take this rating down to zero as I will now not allow the goats eat this shrub.
They receive a five out of five star rating from the goats and now the dogs who are sampling acorns too.