Common Groundsel goes by many names - Old-Man-In-The-Spring, bird-seed, grimsel to name a few.
It is an introduced species to North America and has spread invasively across the country - most likely due to it being used as food for pet canaries as was the trend to keep them.
This plant begins to bloom and spread its seed in early spring and continuing into late autumn sometimes producing three to four generations in one season!
Animals large and small will eat this weed (except horses and sheep who are much pickier). It is safe for smaller animals to eat but can cause liver damage in horses and cattle.
As with many introduced species this one too comes with a laundry list of claims to fix this, that, and another thing, here are some...
- Groundsel was good for wounds as had been caused by being struck by iron.
- As a remedy for chapped hands, pour boiling water on the fresh plant, the liquid then forms a pleasant swab for the skin and will remove chapping.
- For gout it was recommended to 'pound it with lard, lay it to the feet, and it will alleviate the disorder.'
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Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who spends her time exploring and learning about the unique history and nature in North East Ohio. She lives with her fiancé and cat in Wooster where she also works at a bookstore and grows and cans her own vegetables. When she's not doing that, yoga and embroidery (not at the same time) are other things she enjoys.