American Goldfinches on Mullein
When does an exotic become a native? Species have always moved around over the planet, and often into regions where they did not exist before. Today, we use the word "exotic" for such species. But many species that were introduced into regions were eventually perceived as desireable A few worth mentioning are the Red Fox, the Earthworm and the Honeybee.
The Mullein is native to Europe, not North America. Several years ago it naturally germinated and grew along the edges of my driveway. I pulled it and tossed it into an open gravelly area to make sure it would not re-root. But this year (2016) is showed again and even more numerous. I would normally be alarmed but Mullein is very easy to pull and take the entire root. And I did considered pulling these plants too. Then I learned that Mullein seeds are eaten by several seed-eating birds, including my beloved American Goldfinches. So at this point, Mullein is a desirable plant. Now down the road I may change my mind. But for now, I love that my American Goldfinches are enjoying the Mullein. The Mullein plants you see in this image have been under the terrific stress of the first drought I can remember in Maine in my life. And I am 68 years of age. So many of my Mullein plants have lost their flowers early.