Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Robin’s Plantain

robin's plantain growing in western nc

I discovered a wildflower I’ve never seen, or at least never noticed, in my backyard last week. At first glance I thought it was Fleabane, but a closer inspection showed the petals were a lovely lavender color instead of white.

fleabane growing in western nc
I grabbed my Wildflowers & Plant Communities book and discovered I was right in the first place, the plant is a member of the fleabane family. I didn’t realize fleabane can range from white to the pale lavender of the plant I found.

Robin’s Plantain is one of the common names that belongs to the plant. All fleabane is said to ward off fleas but I’ve never tried using the plant for anything.

The lovely grouping of wildflowers sprung up at the edge of the backyard near Wilma, our beloved beagle’s grave.

Wilma was the dog we had before Ruby Sue. She’s been gone nearly 15 years now. She was a true beagle and lived to chase rabbits. One evening when no one was at home the coyotes waited on her while she ran her favorite rabbit trail out the ridge from the house. I took her to the vet but there was nothing he could do, she died before morning.

Wilma would never eat if someone was watching her. You could lay a steak beside her and she’d just sit patiently until you left before she picked it up. After the coyotes got her we were all so upset and even Pap said he ought to lay in wait till they came back down that trail.

Funny how a group of wildflowers can take you down a road of remembering.

Tipper

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    RB
    April 27, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Coyotes are one of the reasons our animals only go out in runs or kennels. Plus almost any wildlife can carry rabies, and there’s something that runs through the sandy farm fields behind us that’s much bigger than a coyote but is smaller than a wolf. The prints it leaves in the sand are canid but HUGE, and we sure don’t want any of our critters tangling with it.
    Prayers everyone’s having a safe week, and a good one too.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    April 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Oh Tipper! It would be so great to make that SUNDAY MORNING! Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ken
    April 26, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Tipper,
    Donna Lynn played “The River of Jordan” by Chitter and Chatter for my Birthday. When she asked what I wanted to hear, I just told her something by Chitter and Chatter. And I told her it was Our First Lady’s Birthday as well as mine and she said it was also Carol Burnett’s. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Happy Birthday to Ken and his first lady. My first and last lady is in the kitchen right now microwaving her some dinner.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    April 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Yes, and as the years add up so many things in life will take you down the memory road. It seems your blog does this every morning because it is more near my growing up years than anything else I encounter through the day. It often seems my brain is like an old file cabinet, and when I pull out a certain file there is another file close by I need to review. Sometimes we don’t even know why it reminds us of really good or bad things in our memory.
    We all have loved our fur babies, and they become close family members. Sometimes these stories turn out well. Once my little dog Buffy ran into the road and was hit by a pick up truck. I was beside myself as I grabbed my blood soaked pooch and had somebody drive us to the vet. I clutched her closely and hoped she did not go into shock. With some medical training I looked into her eyes, and they were bright with no sign of shock. The greatest news ever, as the truck had only managed to cut her stub of a tail half off. He quickly stitched it together and we went home. I enjoyed her for several more years.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

    I was about 8 or 10 years old my older brother Harold got a beagle pup. A sweet little dog he was but he must have been the runt. He was small and had sort of a pot belly on him. Harold said he looked like he needed some Tums so we took to calling him Tum. Tum wasn’t much of a rabbit dog so was always close by. His belly precluded him from chasing faster game but snakes were no match for him. Tum became our snake dog.
    In those days all the boys had an axe and usually carried it whenever we were in the woods. Daddy had a double bitted axe which he sometimes carried on his shoulder but he wouldn’t let us carry ours that way. Ours were single bitted pole axes and he made us carry them at arms length with our hands right behind the head.
    One day we were out with our axes and Tum was along. Daddy wasn’t with us, so I was carrying my axe with my hand about half way of the handle and was swinging it back and forth. I guess little Tum had stopped to sniff something along the trail, I was too busy talking and not paying attention to what I or Tum was doing. Anyway I heard a yelp and turned to see Tum at my left heel with a bad gash in his head. I guess he was catching up and one of the swings of the axe caught him right in the middle of his forehead.
    If there was a vet in 50 miles of our place I don’t know where he was and besides that we didn’t have any money to pay one. So we carried Tum back to the house and patched him up the best we could. We tended him night and day for a couple of weeks until he started to show some improvement. He got to where he could get around a little bit but his head was still awful swelled.
    Then one day Tum came up missing. He was known to wander around a bit but he was always home by feeding time. We whistled and hollered for him but he never came in. We tried to find him but it was too dark by then. I prayed that night that he would be home in the morning but it was not to be. We looked for him for days before we finally found him. He was way back upinunder some weeds that had fallen over not more than a couple of hundred yards from the house.
    I don’t know for sure that Tum hadn’t ventured out too far and was trying to get back home but I suspect he knew he was dying and had found a private place. Animals are like that. They will prolong their own agony to protect their family. Their instinct tells them that scavengers will come after they die and so try to get as far away from their home as they can.
    That has been more that a half century ago and I still feel guilty for killing my brother’s little pet. I know it was an accident and I didn’t mean him any harm but stupidity is no excuse. I learned a valuable lesson that day but I wish there could have been an easier way.

  • Reply
    Ken
    April 26, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Tipper,
    That Lavender plant looks just like a daisy to me, only with purple pedals. I’ve had more dogs than you can count, and those memories… I love dogs, they’re my Best friends.
    Today is Melania Trump’s birthday (our First Lady), it’s also mine. …Ken

  • Reply
    Shirl
    April 26, 2017 at 9:05 am

    This is the time of year when a small red flower blooms in the mountains where I grew up. I was such a tomboy when I was young and couldn’t wait to go climb the hills when spring came. The flowers are a huge part of my hiking memories. If I was lucky enough to go back home around the first of May, I would always dig some of the flowers to transplant. No matter how hard I tried, they never lived. A long time before computers, I checked a book out at the library about flowers that only grow in the Appalachia mountains. I found a picture of the red flowers right beside the Mountain Laurels. Then I know why I never had any luck transplanting them.
    The lavender flowers you found beside Wilma’s grave are so pretty. That’s just God’s way of keeping her memory alive.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 26, 2017 at 8:59 am

    You are a noticing kind of person. Maybe you can call yours Wilma’s daisy.
    Just like you, my first thought was fleabane, a somewhat unfortunate name. I have fleabane all over my ‘yard’ but I have not noticed any lavender. I am a bit reluctant to mow it when it is blooming but it is either that or not mow at all. But it is even harder to mow the violets, also a common plant in my backyard.
    The other day I transplanted about fifteen 4 o’ clocks (also called the miracle of Peru) to the ends of the front porch. It is a test to see if it will survive and bloom in the shade as well as withstand summer drought. Hopefully, they will bloom and perfume the front porch at night.

  • Reply
    TimMc
    April 26, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Beautiful flower. We use to take a walk to a near by hollow and just look at the many wild flowers it had to offer, during April and May they’re generally at
    their peak. Once we were walking and looking at the wild flowers and our little rat terrier Tycie came back to us with a coyote right behind her, I always carried my pistol with me and raised to shoot the thing when snap a bad round, he seen me and bolted, and got away, he no doubt had rat terrier for lunch on his mind.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    April 26, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I love wild flowers. Years ago I use to go down to the Red River Gorge in E.KY. and take pictures. The variety of plant life found there represents plants as far north as Canada and as far south as Atlanta.
    Thanks Tipper for the pretty picture.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    April 26, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I love wild flowers. Years ago I use to go down to the Red River Gorge in E.KY. and take pictures. The variety of plant life found there represents plants as far north as Canada and as far south as Atlanta.
    Thanks Tipper for the pretty picture.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    April 26, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I love wild flowers. Years ago I use to go down to the Red River Gorge in E.KY. and take pictures. The variety of plant life found there represents plants as far north as Canada and as far south as Atlanta.
    Thanks Tipper for the pretty picture.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    April 26, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I love wild flowers. Years ago I use to go down to the Red River Gorge in E.KY. and take pictures. The variety of plant life found there represents plants as far north as Canada and as far south as Atlanta.
    Thanks Tipper for the pretty picture.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 26, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I have seen them too, did not realize it was a different plant but thought it was like the hydrangea that changes colir from the soil it lives in

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 26, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Our brains are funny things. Sometimes, when unattended they take us on trips we never planned!
    On some path in my life I’ve seen those slightly violet flowers but I cannot, today, tell you where and when it occurred.
    Spring is sweeping her way across the mountains and she is beautiful!

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