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POOR-MAN’S PEPPER Lepidium virginicum

Jesus gave poor people special attention in His ministry. It was a common practice for Him to give money to the poor. In John 13:29, on the night that Jesus was betrayed, when Judas left the room the disciples assumed Jesus had instructed him either to buy something for the supper or “that he should give something to the poor.”

Once, in the Temple, Jesus and his disciples were standing near the bowl into which the faithful placed their money offering. Several wealthy men made a big show of dropping large numbers of coins so that all those present would be impressed with their generosity. However, when a widow put two small copper coins in, Jesus said (Luke 21:3), "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them.”

Again another time He instructed His followers, “. . . when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, . . ” (Luke 14:13).

Amid the coronavirus and the recent marches, the poor in our community have suffered the most whether in nursing homes, minority-owned businesses, or COVID-19 infections and deaths.

Today’s wildflower reminds us that God’s grace and love can be seen in some very humble provisions. May we share our abundance with the less fortunate both locally and around the world.

POOR-MAN’S PEPPER

Lepidium virginicum

Poor-man’s pepper is in the mustard family (Brassicaceae) and is sometimes called peppergrass. This is a prolific weed that can be found along roadsides and in unattended fields just about anywhere in the nation. The sap is pepper flavored, thus the common names.

The mature plant ranges in height between 6 inches and 2 feet, depending on the environment. Most poor-man’s peppers around here reach full height except when found on or near a granite outcropping in mid-summer.

The tiny bluish-white flowers measure less than 1/8 inch. They often escape notice because they are so tiny. Close examination of the bloom reveals four petals configured as a cross, a feature of the cruciferae family.

Another noteworthy feature of this weed is the fruit. It appears as soon as the tiny flower is fertilized. These round, dry, and flat pods alternate along the central stem of the plant and by late fall occupy the top 12 inches of the plant. Poor-man’s pepper starts blooming in June and continues until frost. The leaves are lance shaped and alternate along the stem also.

God calls us to love our neighbors the same as we love and protect our families.

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Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. To purchase a two-volume set of books featuring his wildflower columns, visit The Sketching Pad in Olde Town Conyers, or call 770-929-3697 or text 404-824-3697. Email him at odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com.

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