Jan. 29, 2020

curlycup gumweed, Grindelia squarrosa

Curlycup is one of the most easily recognized of all those yellow flowers in the aster family. So you know if you check, it will turn out to be a herbal medicine. There's even one web site that trumpets, "9 amazing health benefits of Grindelia." Easy recognition may be the strongest indicator of use in traditional medicine. Of course most of us now know that it doesn't actually make it useful. Human needs aside, what does nature need those curly, and very sticky, cups for? The best, if inadequate answer so far is to keep them from being eaten. The plant is avoided by herbivores, except for some reason sage grouse chicks. Curlycup gumweed grows in every state except AK, AL, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, NC, SC, and WV, and in AB, BC, MB, NT, ON, QC, and SK. It is native west, spread eastward. Grand Traverse Co MI, 9/23/11. Aster family, Asteraceae.