Thursday, June 05, 2008
I have a clump of tansy, tanacetum vulgare, in the back 25; I've found it to be a great magnet for bugs despite references to its insect repellent qualities. When it blooms, its heads of button shaped yellow compound flowers attract swarms of nectar feeders. A fair amount of leaf eaters have expressed appreciation for the plant, too, such as leafhoppers, grasshoppers, katydids, and spider mites. Predator species take advantage of the plant's attractions and so lots of them stalk among the fernlike foliage. I don't believe my tansy, considered a noxious weed in some corners due to its tenacious perennial root system and readiness to self-seed, has ever been troubled by caterpillars. The plant has been used as medicine historically, notably to control intestinal parasites. Please note tansy is toxic and like all plants should never be eaten willy nilly or without precise knowledge as death or sickness can ensue. The tansy hasn't bloomed yet but this leaf was beautiful enough glowing in the afternoon sun.