In the wake of Japan’s post-tsunami nuclear crisis, entire towns within range of the Fukushima reactors were evacuated, and remain empty over a year later. Since then, the plants have made their move toward reclamation.
In some of the pictures provided by Japanese site GetNews, fans of Monet’s Garden should recognize a familiar leaf, perhaps skulking around behind a delivery truck or brazenly cropping up through cracks in the asphalt. Monet considered it a striking addition to Giverny’s flower beds. Onlookers, however, might see its alter ego as a ne’er-do-well of the weed world shining here.
It’s none other than mullein.
Besides boasting lovely yellow flowers and a downy coat of “fur,” mullein is also hardy and opportunistic, being among the first species to move in when backs are turned. In this case, it proves that with a little absence on our part, it wouldn’t take all that long for nature to claw back its territory. —MN