Ralph Waldo Emerson described a weed as a plant whose virtue has not yet been discovered.

I remember as a child discovering the virtue of poison ivy. I found that I was not allergic to it while most other children were. I was in a boarding school and as the youngest there I started to be bullied by the other boys. I soon learned that they would leave me alone if I walked into a patch of poison Ivy or carried a few leaves of it with me.

Generations of humans have gone trial and error to learn which plants to use to eat or treat particular ailments. While some cultures have relied on written records to pass down what they learned about plants. Other cultures, for instance, Southwest Indian tribes, with no written languages, depended on oral histories to convey information about the plants through the centuries. I suppose that when they came across a new plant they came up with the saying, ”Let Mikey try it.”

Some plants we consider weeds until they bloom and then they become wildflowers. We hate weeds but love wildflowers. I had a neighbor who missed pulling up some weeds in his front yard and they turned into beautiful Penstemon wildflowers much loved by hummingbirds. Since then he has allowed them to flourish in his garden.

With this year’s abundant rainfall we should have a wonderful wildflower season. As I write this in late February I am already seeing plenty of buds on the Desert Globemallow, Lupine and the Mexican Gold Poppy.

The spring flowering season in the SaddleBrooke area (Arizona Upland subdivision) runs from end of February to mid June reaching its peak from mid March to April. The appearance of wildflowers depends on the amount of rain that fell during the previous winter and the timing of the moisture. About once every decade the desert experiences a "super bloom," with such a profusion of flowers it literally transforms the landscape. I am hoping that this will be a “super bloom year.” So get your cameras out!