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You Say 'Weed'; We Say 'Free Wildflower Bouquet'

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LINCOLN SQUARE — To the untrained eye, Chicago's alleys, vacant lots and sidewalk cracks appear awash in weeds.

Au contraire — those are wildflowers.

They have names like Chicory, Meadow Parsnip, Lady's Thumb, Wild Carrot and Daisy Fleabane. And yeah, maybe they pop up in unexpected (some might say unwanted) places — that's because they're wild.

Most of these plants are highly beneficial for birds and insects (aka, pollinators) and some, like Fleabane, help prevent soil erosion, which is why you'll find gardeners purposely introducing these "weeds" into their landscaping.

Wildflower blooms also make an unconventional — and free — choice for bouquets (when snipped from public spaces), which is not only friendly on the wallet but good for the planet too.

Just a few of the wildflowers we've come across walking through the city:

Chicory. [All photos DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]

Lady's Thumb.

Wild Carrot (or Queen Anne's Lace).

White Sweet Clover.


OK, we're stumped.

Clover and what may or may not be Forget-Me-Nots.