Two Very Different Plants


By Jannie Vaught

Cowpen Daisy and These are two of the many items on my list of learning more about. Went to Texas A&M Uvalde extension online. Cowpen Daisy, aka, Golden crown-beard, Family: Asteraceae. Annual, Origin: Native. Season: Warm. Cowpen Daisy can be found in various disturbed soils of the Edwards Plateau And the South Texas Plains. Upright to sprawling annual that reaches a height of one to four feet. The leaves are coursed toothed and measure two to four inches in length. The yellow flower heads consist of numerous disk flowers and approximately 12 ray flowers and blooms from April to October.

Cowpen Daisy was used by Native Americans and early settlers to treat skin diseases and spider bites. I found a true native plant that is beautiful to look at doesn’t have barbs or thorns and seems to bloom with happy yellow flowers endlessly. Now I learned it is a skin tonic and good for spider bite as a compress. I have encouraged its many patches in my yard and garden area. I cut and dry some of the flowers for medicinal use extracted in oil or alcohol for topical use only. When the frost has claimed it I chop and drop it where it stands and lay some straw mulch over it to let it break down and return to the earth and let the many seeds in the remaining flowers settle in for the winter and start new in the warmer seasons.

Next topic, Johnsongrass. I wanted to learn more about this invasive grass, and its origins. So I went to Buckeye Yard & Garden Online. Ohio State. Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepence) is a perennial grassy weed from the Mediterranean region. It was exported worldwide for erosion control and now can be found growing in every continent except Antartica! Guess it doesn’t like glaciers. Its common name references Alabama plantation owner William Johnson who sewed seed in his river- bottom land sometime in the 1840’s to control water erosion.

Oops a very bad idea!

A prolific seed maker and also spreads through rhizomes making colonies and can be introduced via contaminated crops. At the Web site Hay & Forage Grower. Another two-faced forage. There is a good article by Mike Rankin. This grass goes from a preferred grass when young for steers and a deadly poison when old and has a high level of( hydrogen cyanide) under stressful conditions. Thus the Two-face forage. The good forage and the bad forage. It is invasive in crops and field and appears to be getting resistant to roundup.

Extension specialist warns producers to keep cattle off pasture with Johnsongrass for at least a week following a frost. Given a choice, most livestock producers would prefer not to have to deal with Johnsongrass because its such a difficult species to keep under control. However, in many cases, that horse has left the barn and keeping the species in check has become the next best alternative. Grazing strategies, pasture renovation, herbicides( it is reported it is becoming resistant to roundup) and mechanical clipping can be effective control tools.

There you have it.

Two very different plants one a beautiful native flower and another an invasive species with two faces, the good and the bad all mixed together in this thing we call the outside world. Hope your cutting down that johnsongrass as it is now in full seed head.

Out growing green with Jannie