A Tribute Page to My Elementary School Nature Science Teacher. The Ever Venerable Briar Patch!

A Tribute Page to My Elementary School Nature Science Teacher.       The Ever Venerable Briar Patch!

Sure, I had been familiar with “wild edibles” as a child.  When I was 5 years old…under the careful guidance of my Auntie…we gathered wild mushrooms in Ireland. 

An otherwise taboo activity when encountering the ever fascinating mushroom!

I remember concord grapes grew on a vine in my yard and I always spit out the seeds which were surrounded by a pulpy fruit.

I discovered a blueberry bush on the periphery of my yard…partially overgrown by surrounding plants and trees.

My grandmother harvested nuts from a tree that I think was a type of Hickory…I remember seeing them dried and stored in a coffee can.  Ironically I think…a Chock Full O’ Nuts can…which is the coffee I remember in my grandmother’s kitchen.

But, it wasn’t until my nature teacher said to me (or maybe it was the whole class…where we met outside)…that the briar leaf was edible!

Yes, she said it and pointed it out to us as we walked along the nature trail behind the elementary school…YOU CAN EAT THE BRIAR LEAF!  Whenever you’re in the woods and you would like to snack on something…go ahead…eat a briar leaf!

(A path lined with briar leaves and other hedges)

Growing up in New England I often spent time balancing and walking along drystacked stonewalls.  Some knowingly and lovingly looser than others.  Would it be loose this time or give way?

I’ll never forget that first time I was exploring the woods…after our nature class…walking up and down the stonewall…when to my delight I picked a briar leaf!  Ordinarily, briar patches were something to be contended with or downright avoided!

But, not that day! Before picking I brushed my fingertips underneath the leaf to feel for small cottony spiderwebs which often were collected on briar leaves…and feeling scot-free in this department…

I popped one in my mouth and chewed the tart almost sour lemon leaf in my mouth…and had to agree with her…that the briar leaf was, most indeed, something you could eat in a pinch!

Thankyou Miss Plemmons! I will never forget you and still enjoy seeing a briar leaf to this day!

Turns out briar leaves and tendrils and asparagus like shoots at top of tendril stem are very edible.  Look for briar leaves that have both tendrils and thorns! I learned from the best so make sure you do too!


*****Here’s a helpful site! *****


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