"Look-At-Me" Weeds

I’ll never forget the first time I understood what was meant by a specimen plant. I had always associated “specimen” with my annual health physical. I learned that it meant a “look-at-me” plant, shrub or tree. Japanese maples are commonly referred to as specimen trees because of their distinctive forms and beautiful colors. My favorite specimen in the New Hope Farm garden is a butterfly weed. Aslcepias physocarpa (recently reclassified as Gomphocarpus physocarpa) has the unflattering common name “Hairy Balls.” The blooms are tiny, white, and easily overlooked. The eye-catching fruits are a little larger than a half-dollar coin and look like, well, hairy balls. Mine have nourished a wide variety of caterpillars this year.  The narrow plants reach four feet tall in full sun, and have not needed irrigation. Indeed, Look At Me.


Hairy Balls.JPG