(Contenido disponible en Español está marcado abajo)
Dandelions, Queen Anne’s lace, and other “weeds” are often thought of as nuisances. Many people do their best to get rid of them in their lawns and gardens, but they’re actually important! Let’s learn about some of these often overlooked plants.
¡Plantas, Plantas, Plantas!
(Disponible en español)
Our educators created a fun poem to help describe the differences between plants and why they’re so important! Educator Lucero recorded herself reciting it in both English and Spanish! You can click here to watch her read “Plants, Plants, Plants!” (“¡Plantas, Plantas, Plantas!”), and click here to download the poem and learn it yourself!
Dandelions weren’t always thought of as weeds. At one time, they were prized for their beauty. What’s more, they serve as a vital food source for pollinators in early spring. Dr. Doug recently spoke to WTTW about their importance. Click here to learn more.
Guiding Question: What are some other flowering weeds that you can think of? Do you think that they help pollinators and other insects? Why or why not? What can we do to help them?
Studying misplaced plants
One of our mid-20th century scientists, Anna Pedersen Kummer, spent much of her time studying, and defending, weeds. In fact, she curated an entire exhibit about them. We still have many of her specimens in our collection. Click here to listen to Dawn talk about some of these pieces. Want to learn more about Anna’s work? Click here to read a 1939 leaflet all about weeds written by Anna herself.
Making Connections: Why do plants grow in such different places? It has to do with how their seeds travel and where they land. Click here to check out Marjorie’s reading of “Flip, Float, Fly” all about how seeds travel.
Why do you have so many specimens?
You’ve probably noticed that we have lots of different specimens of the same species. Why is that? Click here to watch Dawn explain and highlight some of our plant specimens.
Guiding Question: What do you notice about the way the plants are preserved? Why do you think they’re preserved that way? What do you think scientists might do with them?
The poetry of nature
We recently asked our friends at Poems While You Wait to share their favorite nature-related poems with us. Click here to check out their full list of recommendations. Have a favorite that you want to share? Send it to us!
Behind the Scenes
Dawn, our senior director of collections, has been pressing flowers with her family…including those teeny flowers we might otherwise miss or disregard as just weeds! Have you been pressing flowers, or creating other nature-themed crafts? Be sure to share your creations with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!