How much is half the weed

GLOBAL 2000 for Weed Day: Weeds are the plaster that closes the wounds of the earth

What are “weeds” and why do they save bees, butterflies - and people? What can nettles and co.

Vienna (OTS) - Strictly speaking, "weeds" is a nonsense. "Weeds", "weeds" or "accompanying vegetation" are more suitable, ie plants that grow in places where it is not necessarily planned or wanted by us. This is not a bad thing per se, even if unwanted things often have to be removed, sometimes to avoid economic damage. But every herb has its purpose in the cycle of nature.

Cheers to the rebels in meadow, forest and field

On March 28, "Weed Day" has been celebrated since the early 2000s, a day of honor for the outcast and disregarded among the plants. On this day, all those wild and non-conformist plant rebels are to be celebrated who have no place in the meticulously trimmed English garden. This day has its origins in the community of American gardening bloggers, where it is called "Weed Appreciation Day", and who wanted to draw attention to the fact that not every unwanted plant is automatically useless.

The fight against the "weeds"

Unfortunately, the so-called weeds are fought hard - if you look for pesticides against weeds in the Austrian plant protection product register, a total of 521 products are listed. There are 121 products alone for private users in the home and allotment gardens. According to the Green Report, a total of 1,150 tons of weed killers were sold in Austria in 2019. Including 252 tons of the controversial glyphosate that the WHO classified as likely carcinogenic in humans. Other herbicides such as the reproductive neurotoxin 2,4 D, which made negative history as a component of the defoliant Agent Orange as early as the Vietnam War, are unfortunately in no way inferior to glyphosate in terms of toxicity.

Wild herbs are important for biodiversity

In terms of preserving biodiversity, wild herbs are usually very valuable because they make a significant contribution to promoting diversity. The disappearance of wild herbs is a big problem because they are often valuable plants for endangered insects such as bees and butterflies. Three out of five ferns and flowering plants in Austria are already on the red list of endangered species, including former weeds such as the corn wheel. Exceptions are introduced species, which spread invasively and thereby displace native species, such as the glandular balsam or the Japanese knotweed.

Dandelions, nettles and the like save bees, butterflies - and people

The dandelion, on the other hand, which does not depend on animal pollinators at all, as it can form seeds without them, provides a lot of food for animal visitors due to its long flowering time. The seeds of the "dandelion" are popular with birds such as the goldfinch (also known as the goldfinch).

The nettle serves as a source of food for the caterpillars of around 50 butterfly species, such as the small fox, peacock butterfly and map. It is therefore significantly more valuable for the survival of the butterflies than, for example, the visually imposing butterfly lilac.

These examples show that tolerance to weeds plays an important role in maintaining biodiversity. If we want to protect our 700 native bee species or our 4000 butterfly species, around half of which are endangered, we need more naturalness in our landscapes, in our communities and in our gardens. Not fighting weeds with all your might is a first step towards this.

Tasty and wholesome

In addition, humans also benefit directly from weeds, because many wild herbs are edible and some also have healing properties. They can be used to make tasty salads, healthy teas and spices or even ointments. Ribwort plantain, for example, is particularly effective in treating sore throats - a common weed that is so healthy that it has already been named Medicinal Plant of the Year. Further examples of edible weeds are mustard, thistle, nettle, daisy, ground elder, gundelrebe, shepherd's purse, dandelion, melde and yarrow.

Weeds can also be useful for gardening. Herbal extracts from nettle, chamomile, tansy or field horsetail protect your vegetable and ornamental plants against diseases and pests.

Wild corners are important for every garden

"In every garden there should be areas in which wild herbs can grow undisturbed. These wild corners, even if they are only small, are valuable hiding places and nurseries for endangered animal species such as butterflies. That is why we are using our National Park Garden initiative for this to bring more nature back into our gardens and communities. " says Dominik Linhard, biologist and head of the National Park Garden project at GLOBAL 2000.

So if you want to do something to protect biodiversity in your everyday life, you can start to tolerate more weeds and take part in GLOBAL 2000's "National Park Gardens" initiative. Together with Austrian nature gardeners, the environmental protection organization is establishing a nationwide network of individual protected areas to create habitats for bees, butterflies, lizards, frogs and the like - and also for more wild herbs.

In order to become part of the National Park Garden, one undertakes to refrain from using pesticides, artificial fertilizers and peat in garden soil and to promote the plant and animal diversity in one's garden. All participants can enter their garden, balcony or just the flower box on the window sill on an interactive map of Austria at www.global2000.at/nationalparkgarten. In addition to private individuals, the campaign is also aimed at schools, clubs, companies and communities.

Inquiries & contact:

Dominik Linhard, GLOBAL 2000 expert on biodiversity
+43 699 14 2000 21 [email protected]

Michael Lachsteiner, GLOBAL 2000 Public Relations Biodiversity, Agriculture, Food & Chemistry
+43 699 14 2000 20 [email protected]