The summer wildflowers are in bloom now and the
beautiful powder-blue flower of chicory is enough to qualify it as the
“Oh!” The purists may say in their most
haughty manner, “chicory is not native . . . it came here from Europe .
. . we want a native as our state flower.”
Well, whatta you know, the peony, our state flower
“zince” the Indiana General Assembly saddled us with it 1957, is not even
a wildflower. From 1931 to 1957 it was the zinnia, another interloper.
It’s not wild either.
Generally, the folks of Indiana agree that our
state flower should be a wildflower.
You may consider the purist’s statement true if
you like, but when our forefathers brought chicory to this country many
things were new. And chicory has spread with the four winds to blanket
most--maybe all--of the land. In addition to its many uses (including coffee
from ground roasted roots), it is a breathtaking beauty at our roadsides
for all of our citizens to see.
Chicory is a funny “weed” and very durable, the
blossoms enduring and endearing for only the better part of one day before
being replaced by a new set on the same plant.
If our state flower should be one of long duration,
Chicory is a solid candidate for it is with us from early summer through
late fall (even after frost comes). Few flowers other than Queen Anne’s
Lace and the various Asters can make such a statement, and it takes a good
field guide to give them names (scientific or common). But Chicory is chicory
to everybody, (Chicgorium intybus to scientists).
As for the staying power of Chicory, I have had
a sturdy plant in a strip of grass near my mailbox (no doubt crab grass)
for many years. It fails to bloom in the early part of summer when the
lawn mower keeps it well pruned. But in late summer and fall (when the
lawnmower is used less frequently) it blooms its little head off, and I
Incidentally, Queen Anne’s Lace does not seem
to be doing as well as it usually does along the roadsides. But Poison
Hemlock appears to be going wild in places. You will recognize it by the
purple-splotched green stems.
So enjoy the beauty of Chicory--even if the legislators
Department of Natural Resources says those who use boats or other outdoors
paraphernalia in our lakes and streams can help control unwanted natural
Just clean your boat or other equipment you use
before hopping to another body of water. That, the DNR says, will help
prevent the interlopers.
Plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla
and others can make waters virtually unusable and cause property values
to plummet if spread. Creatures such as zebra mussels can clog drains and
pipes. Fish diseases such as the emerging VHS (viral hemorrhagic septicemia)
can result in large, widespread fish kills.
Simple steps can slow aquatic pests, the DNR says.
Just remove all plants from boats and trailers before leaving the boat
ramp; dispose of all unused baitfish, including fish parts, on shore (in
a garbage receptacle). Never release them in the water; dry the boat, trailer
and other gear, such as oars or skis, completely before going to another
body of water. This includes draining the bilge, live wells, bait buckets
and anything else that might contain water at the ramp.
"Indiana has some great aquatic resources; however,
they are threatened by invading species of plants and disease that can
destroy our natural resources and the recreational opportunities that come
with them," said Doug Keller, Indiana's aquatic invasive species coordinator.