Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Crazy, Man, Crazy

Walking the dogs in the mornings is becoming more enjoyable as the cold winds have died down, the grasses are greening up, and the birds are back. The birds have added a wonderful audio component to our walks for the last couple of weeks. Each morning we are treated to a symphony of Turkey gobbles, Meadowlark whistles, Ring-necked Pheasant squawks, Field Sparrow songs, with the occasional honks of Canada Geese flying overhead thrown into the mix.

Along with the grasses turning green there are numerous plants starting to appear. One unknown-to-us-plant is now growing in such abundance that my husband decided to pluck a sample of it to bring home and identify.

After perusing our copy of WEEDS OF THE WEST he discovered that the plant we found growing in such great numbers is Silky Crazyweed.
"Even though silky crazyweed is much more toxic than Lambert crazyweed, all livestock species can be poisoned by eating plants in this genus. Horses never recover once they are poisoned. Cattle gain weigh slowly and often have abortions, while sheep abortions are common from eating these plants. Livestock generally avoid eating crazyweed until feed is scarce, but once they have eaten it, they seek out the plants.
Non-standard name: locoweed."

Locoweed! I could not believe it, locoweed was big in my imagination as a child. I was actually looking at the plant that was portrayed as a villain and a danger to horses and men in at least one episode of all the TV westerns- and some of the b-western movies- I watched as a kid. Heck, locoweed even showed up in the cartoons I watched. Just look at what locoweed does to Popeye in this excerpt from Rodeo Romeo (1946):

Locoweed is just crazy, man, crazy.

No comments: