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Thursday, July 20, 2017





Thursday, 8:30 AM.  69 degrees F at the ferry dock, 58 on the back porch.  Wind NW, light with slightly stronger gusts.  The sky is clear with some haze, the humidity 83%.  The barometer is steady, now at 29.92" of mercury.  The  high  tpday will be around 80, then the temperature will fall through the weekend, with mixed skies and chance of a thunderstorm on Saturday.  It looks like it will be a nice summer day.
   Buddy and I had a close encounter ast night with the large coyote I mentioned a few posts back.  He ran right past us, at full speed.  Actually I don't think Buddy even saw or smelled him, but he startled me. It doesn't seem to be aggressive so I don't think I will be concerned about it at this point.
   Tansy, Tannecetum vulgare, (vulgare meaning common) is in the Sunflower Family, the Compositae.  Its golden yellow flower heads are a cheerful addition to the summer landscape. The name Tansy is of uncertain and ancient origin.  The species is European, probably coming to North America with agricultural seeds, and now is naturalized over much of the North American continent.
    The garden variety  millfoil, Achillea millifolium 'Moonshine' and the common tansy,Tanacetum vulgare, are easily confused at first glance.  Both have heavily dissected leaves and bright yellow flower heads, and grow to about the same height.  But the former seldom escapes the garden , and the latter is mainly a roadside plant (which should be kept out of the garden as it will take over).  Both have somewhat similar foliage, but the Tansy leaves smell rather medicinal when crushed, and the Achillea leaves have a strong rosin odor.  The individual Tansy flower heads look like golden buttons, and in fact "buttons" is its common name in England.  The individual flowers in the flower heads of the Achillea are minute and closely crowded together in an umbel.
   Tansy's aromatic leaves were used to strew over dirt floors in the Middle Ages.  It had many herbal uses in the past, particularly for stomach complaints and worms in children.  The dried root is said to be a remedy for gout  but I have not  tried it (I am pretty careful with herbal self-medication).  
   My recorded blooming dates for Tansy are: 7/11/15; 7/15/12; 7/22/11; 7/13/10; 7/21/09, so this year's bloom date  is right about on average.
   Tansy is on the Wisconsin DNR prohibited list of invasive plants.  However, it is everywhere, couldn't possibly be eradicated, and as far as I can see does little harm and is very colorful.  But you don't want it in your garden, because it spreads so vigorously, and I suppose it could be a problematic weed in farm fields.  In any case, I think worrying about things like Tansy is pretty much a dilettante luxury.

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