Uses for weeds
Although normally viewed as a menace it is possible to find uses for plants that otherwise would be regarded as weeds. Listed below are some links to sites that see weeds in a different light:
- Weeds can be a source of income. The Kew Garden site gives the results of a project entitled 'Commercial use of wild and traditionally managed plants in the UK' (PDF - 795Kb). The site gives a number of examples from bracken compost to bulrush baskets, and laverbread to living willow fences. Products made from wild plants play a role in the economies of many rural communities and the report explores the extent and potential for the commercial uses of wild and traditionally managed plants in the UK today.
- Having a wide and diverse range of plant species can assist in animal health as discussed and can promote animal self-medication. This theme is developed in a paper 'Acknowledging the potential role of animal self-medication' by Cindy Reece Engel (who has also written a book on the subject).
- Weeds can be used as indicators. The Primal Seeds site lists a range of weeds and discusses their role as indicators of field conditions (and also lists uses).