Monday, July 21, 2008

Common Chicory

A native perennial noted for its showy, sky blue flowers, chicory leaves are harvested from the wild as well as from home gardens, for use as a bitter, spicy salad green and as an ingredient in a number of kitchen recipes. Large-rooted varieties are cultivated in Europe and elsewhere as a coffee substitute and additive. Each day during the bloom period, all flowers open promptly in early morning and close en masse in late afternoon.

Scientific name: Cichorium intybus
Italian common name: Cicoria
English common name: Common chicory

Wild Teasel

From mid-summer and throughout winter the large seed heads of this tall herbaceous native add considerable drama to the local countryside. The dark pink flowers of teasel attract bees and the seed heads that follow are a food source for some birds. Once used as a natural comb for raising the nap on fabrics, especially wool, the mature seed head is now a favorite for dried flower arrangements.

Scientific name: Dipsacus fullonum
Italian common name: Cardo dei lanaioli
English common name: Wild teasel

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mille grazie !

Thank you University of Arizona Plant Science summer interns Claire Heinitz and Janon Al Failakawi for your excellent work on the Gangivecchio Nature Trail, the organic vegetable garden and plant care throughout the project !


This small spiny animal is a nocturnal visitor to Gangivecchio where it is welcomed for its role in garden pest control. Although officially classed as an insectivore it eats many other things--including pet food. Hedgehogs are native only to the Old World and they have changed little over the last 15 million years.
Scientific name: Erinaceus europaeus
Italian common name: Riccio
English common name: Hedgehog