Category Archives: commentary

Goldenrod. Queen of Wands!

Goldenrod flower buds and blooms

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Solidago spp.
Family: Asteraceae
Habitat: Roadsides, meadows, disturbed areas, also in mountains

40-60 species alone, grow in North America.

I always appreciated the sunny spread of blooms, especially in the meadows behind my grandparent’s house.

I grew up, as many of us did, hearing that Goldenrod caused hayfever. This is a myth as it has sticky pollen, pollinated by insects…and not airborne by the wind.

Ironically it helps reduce allergic response and can be used as a remedy for seasonal allergies.

Goldenrod growing in the Sandia mountains of New Mexico.

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And, the Goldenrod that I found growing in New England.

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The golden rod with its fiery, golden blooms
radiant
cheering
healing
vibrant
and vital

Reminds me of the suit of wands in the tarot deck.

And, I adore this image!
She is Goldenrod incarnate!

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Can be purchased at Polyvore.com
Artist: Cabaret Voltaire

golden wands of fiery, passionate light. The New Mexico mountain blooms shown in this post, smell infused of honey. One species, Solidago odora, (not shown) the leaves and flowers smell like anise.

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Here is the goldenrod infused oil, that I made in New England. It started out on my parents front doorstep. Infusing away, during sunny days. Then before my flight home, infusing amidst jars of tinctures I made…in a box…along its sundry postal trip… to the rural post office 8 miles from where I live. Gleefully, I pick up my herbal remedy delivery, that I collected and made myself…

Not finished solar infusing yet…, onto the bumper of the camper, we call home.

There, on the sunny bumper ledge, infusing by sunny day, starlight and …moon phases…herbal oil infusion journeys with radiances of summer heat and light in North central New Mexico.

Goldenrod oil can help heal wounds, especially those that need a cooling and stimulating action to heal. I like to make salves out of my herbal oils.

Goldenrod mixed with plantain makes a good remedy for stings and skin irritations.

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newer growth with flower rays

and narrow leaved plantain, a little beat up from lawnmowers next to a highway… but narrow leaved plantain, nonetheless!

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Also, Goldenrod has a longstanding and effective use in relieving sore and achey muscles.


So does nearby growing Snakeweed, also in the Asteraceae family.

Snakeweed below, I’ve talked about it before… an age old respected remedio, for arthrits and achiness, here in New Mexico.

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Dry wilt your fresh herbs for, at least, a day before infusing oil.
Double boil slowly to infuse the goodness of all the goldenrod properties…
Or try, as many of you already do, solar infusing.

My first experience along with making carrot seed oil.

Quite a pleasure to infuse oils by the sun, lunar and starry skies.

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Edible Uses:

Goldenrod blossoms make excellent fritters. Similar to Elderberry blossom fritters.

The tender leaves can be cooked as a green.

You can use the Solidago odora, with licorice/anise scented leaves to make an herbal tea jelly.
This type of Goldenrod has translucent dots on its leaves when held to the sun. This imparts the leaves with the anise flavor.

When Colonists dumped British tea in the harbor, this delicious spice tea was an ingredient in what became known as Liberty tea.

Make your own Liberty Tea Blend and define liberty as it relates to you!

Use equal parts of Sweet Goldenrod (anise flavored species described)
Betony, Red Clover, and New Jersey tea…(also known as Red Root) species name: Ceanothus americanus.

New Jersey tea tastes a great deal like green tea.


Can’t wait to mix up a blend of this health giving, tasty tea!

Long before liberty tea, Native Americans used the Solidago odora, as a medicinal and as a flavoring in medicinals.

This oil, extracted from the leaves and flowers, has also been used in perfumery.
This is giving me good ideas for making hydrosols. You can make your own simple still for hydrosol making. See the Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook. by James Green

Habitat: Solidago odora grows in open sandy soil throughout the eastern U.S and midwest, south and through southeast Texas.

Other varieties of Goldenrod can be used to make a jelly too.

Here is a recipe:

(2 Cups fresh plant and 4 Cups water. Boil water, take off heat and add herb, steep for 10-30 minutes.)

If using dried goldenrod use half amount of herb.

Take just 1 Cup of the Goldenrod tea
add 2 Tablespoons pectin.
Heat tea and pectin and bring to a roiling boil.
Add 3/4 Cup sugar all at once.
Stir and boil 1-3 minutes until it passes the jelly test.

Pour into jelly jars.

If using species other than the Solidago odora, consider adding a 1/2 tsp of anise or other flavoring… or just as is.

The rest of the tea can be used as an iced or hot tea. Maybe with some lemon and sweetener to make an herbal lemonade! Customize your own yummy drink blend 🙂

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Goldenrod has a long history of use around the world as an Herbal Medicine!

Nicholas Culpeper, a 17th century, English herbalist, describes in his book that Goldenrod is ruled by the planet Venus. Here depicted is the birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, 1486., one of my favorite paintings.

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According to Culpeper, Solidago fragrans, “It is a balsamic vulnerary (wound/skin healing herb, also for)…hurts and bruises…a safe diuretic; few things exceed it in the gravel, stone in the reins and kidneys (and kidney stones with pain and soreness… also with) bloody or purulent urine; then its balsamic healing virtues co-operate with its diuretic quality, and the parts at the same time are cleansed and healed.”

Also, he states that it is an excellent wound healer, inside and out.

Also, it helps to “stay the immoderate flux of womens’ courses, ruptures, ulcers in the mouth or throat…” and in preparations as a wash for venereal disease.

A tea of young leaves, fresh or dry, he recommends for these healing purposes.

Also, he states that Solidago angustifolia, as a decoction and rinse, helps set loose teeth.

More cited herbal uses:

According to the excellent website by Plants for a Future., the common species,Solidago canadensis, is excellent for kidney problems, allergies due to its quercetin constituents, its root can make an effective poultice for burns, flowers and buds chewed and swallowed soothe sore throats, saponins of the plant are specifically anti-fungal against candida overgrowth, and more uses described in link above.

Specifically, it is described as being:
antiseptic, hemostatic, febrifuge, kidney remedy, styptic and useful salve.

Matthew Wood, p.p. 468-470, An Earthwise Herbal., states the uses of Goldenrod, specifically Solidago canadensis, and S. virga-aurea.

Properties of Herb:

“The root, leaf and flower… are predominately bitter and pungent…(with) traditional use as a carminative” and digestive aid.

It is aromatic and contains essential oils which aids in allergies… also quercetin does, and especially helps with carryovers of lung distress with bronchitis that remains as a factor.

He describes it as a good stimulant to kidney function as a remedy after stressful situations or even psychological events.

Susun Weed suggests making a healthfilled Goldenrod herbal vinegar! Vinegar extracts many wonderful herbal properties and can be used every day in food preparations…talk about gourmet salad dressings and dipping sauces, marinades!

Wood, also describes an affinity that goldenrod has for healing scalp irritations and scabs as well as leg wounds. And, leg wounds particularly because of its healing effects on kidneys.

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Specific Indications:

-For being tired and worn out, can’t process issues that life brings.
-allergies, conjuctiva, specifically useful for cat allergies
-acne in sheets of small pimples on face
-cold stomach, inactive digestion
-edema, swelling, dry scaly skin
-purulent conditions of lungs, mucosa, skin,
-exhausted and tired lower back, tired feet, tired worn out kidneys,
-dark scanty urine
-early bladder irritation
-edema and purulent sores on legs
-dry scaly patches- scalp and legs
-old, inflamed purulent wounds, gangrenous wounds.

Harvest leaves in fall and tincture fresh in alcohol.

*Check field guides for native species near you. It can resemble some species of senecio, and other look a likes… And, it is in that vast plant family, Asteraceae… that I had trouble keying out less common species.

So, I presented more characteristic species here. Asteraceae, yellow rayed species no less, what a workout!

Dosage: 1-3 drops, 1-3x a day.

For allergies, my Medical herbalist friend suggests to try 30 drops a day, 3 times a day… if drop dosage above does not yield effective responses.

I do want to learn more about drop dosages.

Caution: Goldenrod can heal conjuctivitis but, if excess of drop dose above is taken, (1-3 drops per day…) can cause conjuctivitis!

Can heal or cause conjunctivitis.
I respect this powerful and gracious healer. Goldenrod!

Thankyou Matthhew Wood for your compehensive knowledge and view!

I am grateful for all references in this post and am interested in Your Uses of Goldenrod too. Please feel free to share your experiences with Goldenrod if you would like to!

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Goldenrod makes colorful dyes!

Harvest from more common species and strong stands…or from your own herb garden of Goldenrod.

For Yellow to Gold dye: use flowers and flower buds, alum or chrome as a mordant; simmer or solar dye

For orange dye: use flowers and buds, a tin mordant; simmer the dye

For a tan dye: use leaves, alum mordant; and solar dye

for an olive dye: use leaves, a copper mordant; and solar dye

for a gray dye: use leaves or flowers, an iron mordant: and solar dye

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Wanting to add some color to the vibrant hue of goldenrod and all its story, I have briefly touched upon…

I wanted to share some poetry I found, highlighting Goldenrod in the first line.

It was written by a woman who was a classmate of Emily Dickinson and a friend of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Helen Hunt Jackson’s poem:

September

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian’s bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewey lanes at morning
The grapes’ sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
with yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather,
And autumn’s best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

‘T is a thing which I remember
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

by, Helen Hunt Jackson

She also became an activist in the 1800’s. She lived from 1830-1885.

She was especially moved when she went to hear a lecture in Boston, as part of a 4 year lecture tour by the Ponca Chief Standing Bear.

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Standing Bear and his wife Susette Primeau and their son.

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He argued against the cruel treatment of his people that were forcibly moved from Nebraska to Oklahoma territory. Up to one third of all people died due to starvation, disease and illness. They were moved too late in the year to plant crops and were denied promised goods and agricultural equipment.

Chief Standing Bear also sued in U.S. District Court, in 1879, that all Native Americans are “persons within the meaning of the law and have the right of habeus corpus.”

On May 12, 1879, Judge Elmer S. Dundy, ruled in agreement of Native Americans existing in right of habeus corpus. He stated that the federal government had failed to show a basis under law for the Poncas’ arrest and captivity.

This was a landmark case legally for Native American rights.

The case was called:
United Stated ex. rel. Standing Bear v. Crook. Crook was the General holding Standing Bear and his people under law control.

After this ruling, Standing Bear and his followers were freed by army release and given a return of lands restored to them in the Niobrara valley of Nebraska. A state park and many other tributes are in honor of Standing Bear and his achievements.

After the lecture, Helen Hunt Jackson sent everyone in congress a copy of her book: A Century of Dishonor. It described and detailed the deplorable action of the U.S. government against Native Americans. The book exposed the U.S. government’s violations of treaties and gross misconduct and harm against American Indian tribes. She also got involved in Mexican Native rights in California and this resulted in tourism and interest in the area based on her novel Ramona.

She was a prolific writer and activist, who eventually moved to Southern California from Massachusetts.

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Helen Hunt Jackson, poet and activist.

Little did I know how much history I would learn from looking up this sweet poem about Goldenrod and the time of September.

A poem, that was popular to recite at the turn of last century, by schoolchildren.

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Goldenrod, Queen of Wands, a golden spectacle of fields and roadsides, open areas in mountains and meadows.

A healer to kidneys, U.T.I.’s, sore muscles, wounds, and more.

A wonderful natural dye.

Mistaken for an allergen but actually a cure!

The Anise scented Goldenrod once imported to China as tea.

Goldenrod, good to get to know you.
For many years to come!

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Bibliography, including posted links and sources:

Nicholas Culpeper, Culpeper’s Complete Herbal.

Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest., by Delena Tull.

An Earthwise Herbal., by Matthew Wood

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Three Leaf Sumac. A Refreshing Drink. A Global Spice and Herbal Remedy!

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Sumac grows all over the world and is used as a spice, food, a tea and herbal medicine.

It grows in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

It also can be landscaped into many environments.

It has many uses. Check out this site!

Sumac a Global food!

Make a delicious, popular Middle Eastern spice using ground sumac berries. Why not forage or garden your own. Dry the berries then grind for a spice!

This wonderful spice mixture is called Za’atar.

Get the recipe here!

Za’atar spice blend recipe!

Three Leaf Sumac
Rhus trilobata

Family: Anacardiaceae
Same family as cashews and mangoes!

Common Names: Three Leaf Sumac,
Skunkbush,
Basketbush, Sumac, Lemonade-bush

Habitat:
Foothills, canyons, slopes, usually dry rocky soil, usually on limestone outcrops.

Sunny locations, perhaps dappled shade. Not frost tender. Drought resistant, often used in landscaping.

The up to 6 foot high, rounded shrub, multi branched …when in new growth is supple and more upright when it grows.

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When dried these stalks made good strong arrows for Pueblo peoples.

The leaves come in threes with small yellow flowers emerging before the leaves come out.

The fruit when it emerges is like a berry. Starting greenish tan and become orange-red to red in color, with sticky glandular hairs that give the fruit a fuzzy appearance.

The red fuzzy berries make a wonderful lemonade like beverage.
The berries are soaked in cold or hot (not boiling hot) to make a beverage. A little honey or sweetener can be nice since it is very sour. I liked it unsweetened myself. But, however you prepare it, it is cooling and refreshing on a hot day, like a lemonade or prickly pear fruit beverage.

Some people like to call this lemony, sumac drink Rhusade.

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit is Cooling

Or Rhusade is soothing and nourishing, as a hot beverage, on a winter day as a hot tea.

Per serving, steep a rounded tablespoon of the fresh or dried berries until it meets your fancy.

Don’t bring water to boiling as this brings out the tannins and makes it too astringent as a beverage.

The Rhus trilobata berries can also be added to salads, sandwiches, perhaps sauerkraut?
Throw in some juniper berries into your sauerkraut too. They are traditional.
Be inventive and avoid boiling the berries is my only suggestion.

In Michael Moore’s, Medicinal Plants of the Canyon West., he suggests and indicates 3 leaf Sumac’s uses:

Gather leaves when green.
Gather the berries when they are fully red in summer also when leaves are green or a bit red.

The leaves turn a splendid red in fall. The tree is deciduous.

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The dried leaves last a year. The dried berries last 2-3 years.

The leaves can be used in powdered form and a quick salve made with castorlatum from castor oil. It has a petroleum jelly like consistency yet not petroleum based, a plus! Or if your coconut oil is still solid at room temperature try that… or the same with ghee.

Stir 1 part powdered leaves into 2 parts castorlatum gel. *

castorlatum

For a glycerine tincture, macerate 1 part by weight of powdered leaves in 5 parts by volume of a half water & half glycerine menstruum for the tincture. Leave for four weeks. Then shake and strain*

Moore states that the powdered leaves, quick salve and glycerine tinctures are excellent for mucosal-epithelial sores. Such as: lips, mouth membranes, genitals, and nostril membranes. The actions are to soothe and shrink inflamed tissues and to mildly disinfect.

Powdered leaves are very soothing to mouth sores on nursing infants.

*Preparation method is important here, such as with quick salve method and glycerine tincture. Heating and alcohol tincture could pull out too many tannins.

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Sumac is originally an Arabic word.
And Rhus, the Genus name, is derived from a Greek word meaning to flow. So named due to its properties in stopping flow of blood, this case with hemorrhages. It is hemostatic. Proper methods and use are critical.

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CAUTION

3 Leaf Sumac looks similar to POISON OAK!

Poison Oak is not actually an oak species. It is in the Sumac family too… Anacardiaceae

The leaves of both are lobed.

The next picture is of Poison Oak.
Toxicodendron diversilobum
It also turns red in the fall.

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image: wiki commons

Whereas, 3 Leaf Sumac has a velvety texture on the TOPSIDE as well as underneath.

Poison Oak is fuzzy UNDERNEATH the leaf only, shiny on top..

Also, poison oak has non fuzzy whitish-green berries.

Poison oak can cause severe contact dermatitis and further injury if trees are burned and smoke is inhaled.

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Three Leaf Sumac

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Berries not ripe yet

Plants for a Future/ 3 Leaf Sumac

Research your local species of Sumac. The berries are the easiest way to determine if it is safe. The safe species have red fuzzy berries like the Rhus trilobata here.

3 Leaf Sumac
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3 Leaf Sumac berries makes a wonderful lemony drink!

When I lived on the East Coast I enjoyed making a lemony tea from the Staghorn Sumac. I was in my early twenties then and felt a little bit leery about Sumac. I grew up with caution about Poison Sumac that grew in the swamps. And New England has its fair share of swampy areas in the woods.

One season, I and others, worked as Interpreters, in beige uniform, alongside coworkers of many different Native American backgrounds, including Wampanoag. I am grateful to my friends who taught me so much about Wampanoag customs and culture. Including the use of local plants, such as Staghorn Sumac berries. I even filled in a few times and gave guided nature trail talks, pointing out useful and edible plants. It is fun to piece together these experiences since the plant world is an everyday ally to me now.

A Wampanoag perspective on history and Thanksgiving.

perspective

Rhus typhina…Staghorn sumac

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staghorn sumac: wiki commons

Further Herbal medicinal, food and other traditional, global uses of edible/medicinal Sumac, including Native American… just some of the info I found!

Please Note:
Learn to identify the safe Sumacs in your area. This means positively identifying possible poisinous look alikes, in the same family, such as Poison Sumac, Poison Oak, and Poison Ivy.

It brings that old song to mind….maybe I can find it on youtube.

Here it is!


The Coasters. Poison Ivy 🌿

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Edible/Medicinal Sumac is: astringent, antipruritic, analgesic, contraceptive (for males,) deoderant, diuretic, emetic, hemostatic, odontalgic, oxytoxic

-tanning leather, dyeing wool, etc.
*-Dyeing hair black/dark…a decoction of boiled leaves (I want to try!….also Globe mallow decoction makes for a fine dark rinse for hair.)
-Added to meat helps deter stomach upset (bacteria on meat?)
-Leaves made into poultice with vinegar or honey stops the spread of gangrene
-Seeds pounded and mixed with honey help with hemorrhoids
-The gummy sap when applied to a tooth eases pain
-The leaf and root helps a woman expel the placenta (there is a description and method of preparation in book cited below.)
-helps stop internal bleeding
-helps with dropsy
-Helps with diseased gums
-Helps with freezing/frostbite or burns
-helpful with some venereal disease with application
-leaf added to tobacco mixes
-sumac helps with: dysentery, fevers, rhematism, dysuria, diahrrea, skin ulcers
-Seeds make oil for lighting or tallow like oil can be made into a candle.
-Decoction of bark and berries for sore throat
-aids in female urinary incontinence
-vermifuge in mixture with other herbs
-leaves rubbed on your skin make for a Bug and Snake repellant
-Root used as deoderant and buds used as perfume

Sumac species may vary in given properties and effects.

*NATURAL HAIR DYE FORMULA USING LEAVES, BARK ETC… equals 👧 😄❤
natural hair dyes including fun colors!

Will keep you posted, I am curious myself how to use 3 Leaf Sumac leaves as a darkening hair rinse.

I made a boiled decoction of fresh leaves, then added apple cider vinegar with success. My hair became a darker tinted shade. 👧

Perhaps dried, powdered leaves made into a paste would further darken my hair. But, I like it!

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Haha my gardening hands! While I wait for my hair rinse to finish!

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Above, Globe Mallow is used as a traditional dark coloring for hair.

I also want to try black walnut hulls and garden sage… known to darken hair and garden sage is good at covering grey.

The 3 Leaf Sumac branches are used to make basketry and dyes for decorations on baskets too.

Jemez Pueblo people still use Sumac branches in their basketry.

***Beware of POISON SUMAC, POISON IVY and POISON OAK!

This post is mainly a description of 3 leaf sumac…Rhus trilobata.

Only the red, fuzzy berries of Sumacs are edible. Some species may cause contact dermatitis and Poison Sumac should be avoided! It is not included in Sumac’s healing effects. And it is highly toxic!

Here is a botanical sketch of Poison Sumac.
Note the similarity to other Sumacs and also note the whitish berries. The berries are green in spring and not fuzzy. A strong distinguishing feature from the fuzzy red berries of the edible sumacs!

Toxicodendron vernix
formerly classified as Rhus Genus

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image from PFAF and Wiki Commons

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Sources:

In addition to posted links:

PFAF Rhus trilobata

Use of Plants. For the Past 500 Years.by Charlotte Erichsen-Brown, Breezy Creeks Press. Ontario. Canada, 1979.

Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province. by Dunmire & Tierney, Museum of New Mexico Press. Santa Fe, NM, 1995.

Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West. by Michael Moore, Museum of New Mexico Press. Santa Fe, NM, 1989.

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. by Nicholas Culpeper, W. Foulsham & CO., London, England.

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Cottonwood: An Earth Day Offering of Stars

Fremont Cottonwood
Populus fremontii
Rio Grande Cottonwood
Populus deltoides var. wislizeni/

Family: Salicaceae
Related to Willows.

Aspens and Balsam Poplars can be used similarly.

Warnings and Indications:

***Be cautious when giving salicylate containing herbs, or aspirin for that matter, to children and teens. Even, in some cases adults may be susceptible to ill effects of salicylates, i.e. in aspirin or herbs as well as children and teens.

It may be rare,… but the possibility exists, that cottonwood preparations and herbal medicines from other trees in the Salicaceae family… could cause Reye’s syndrome. An often fatal disease.

Salicylates, aspirin, fatty liver and REYE’S SYNDROME!

more about Reye’s syndrome

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Medicinal Uses according to Michael Moore:

All the Populus species
contain varying amounts of salicin…which aspirin comes from.

Also: Do not combine use of Salicylates with Anti-Coagulants.***

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The Populus species are useful whenever an anti-inflammatory and/or pain remedy is needed.

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Gather leaf buds in early spring, leaves in the summer, portions of inner bark in late fall or spring.

Learn best methods for harvesting bark from live trees unless fresh, fallen branches are available.

Aspen branches have thin outer bark and are easier to work with. Wind and storms provide a bountiful supply of branches.

Fallen, fresh branches make for good harvesting of leaves too if fresh and green.

I have learned that fallen branches near river banks are a way for cottonwoods to start nrw growth.

Also according to herbalist Michael Moore, medicinal uses include:

For a healing tea, the inner bark is most effective.

Although, leaf preparations (which are palatably less bitter) and milder, can yield healing results.

The leaf buds, ones which are balsamic and aromatic, when soaked in oil, make an excellent application for burns and skin irritations.

A folk remedy, the balm of Gilead, is this healing oil. Or a salve can be made with this herbal oil and beeswax melted together.

For a softer salve slowly melt 1 ounce (28 grams) beeswax per 8 ounces (236 ml) warmed, herbal oil, using a double boiler.

For a firmer salve use 1.5 ounces (42 grams) beeswax per 8 ounces (236 ml) of herbal oil.

Or use the strained herbal oil as is.

Burns may require a softer salve, for more comfortable application…and/or seek professional consult.

When tinctured, the leafbuds provide an excellent expectorant for thick unmoving bronchial mucous. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties can soothe the lung conditions as well.

(Incidentally, I found this wonderful cream recipe online. The basic recipe was developed by Rosemary Gladstar, who I would love to study from someday. At least, stock up on her wonderful books.)

Rosalee de la Foret, in her post about making cream says she uses Cottonwood leafbud tincture as a preservative. And, I wanted to share that here:)

Methowvalleyherbs

And Rosemary Gladstar’s Books here.

The fresh or dried Cottonwood plant material makes excellent poultices and fomentations for swollen joints, muscle aches and pains, and sprains.

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A New Mexico herbalist, I admire writes a beautiful and informative post about riparian habitat and what Cottonwoods need to bring new growth to the river areas. Check out this post by Herbalist, community educator and environmentalist, Dara Saville.

cottonwood seedlings need river flooding to sprout

Dara Saville is also doing plant restoration work on the Rio Grande Bosque. You can support her efforts at albuquerqueherbalism.com.

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Above is the Rio Grande, Cottonwoods and other trees.

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A cool, shade place to enjoy

There are many varied beautiful or interesting and powerfull Native American stories that I have found in researching the beautiful Cottonwood tree.

For indeed, when you snap a fallen, dried branch, you will find a star inside. *

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The Hidatsa, Native American people revered the Cottonwood trees.

According to the Hidatsa…
“the shade of the cottonwood… is supposed to possess an intelligence that may, if properly approached, help in certain undertakings… It was considered wrong to cut down one of these great trees. When large logs were needed, only the fallen ones were used. Some elders say many of the misfortunes of the people are the result of their disregard for the rights of the cottonwood… (Matthews, 1877, p.48)”

quoted info source

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This next story is so beautiful and is a Cheyenne and Arapaho story about all the fallen branches and their stars within. And, how they return with the right blessings and circumstance to the night sky.

Story found in starlab.com

“COTTONWOOD TREES
AND THE STARS

From the Plains Indians: Cheyenne and Arapaho

All things come from Mother-earth.
Stars are no exception. They form secretly in the earth and then drift along just under the
surface until they find the roots of the magical Cottonwood tree.
They enter the roots and slowly work their way up through the tree. Finally they come to
rest in the small twigs at the end of the branches. Here they wait patiently until they are
needed.
Then, when the “Spirit-of-the-Night-Sky” decides she needs more beautiful stars to light
up the heavens, she calls on the Wind-Spirit to help her. The Spirit-of-the-Wind sends
his blustery gusts in all directions. Soon the wind shakes the magical cottonwood trees so
hard that the twigs begin to break off. Then, as each twig breaks away, the stars are
released; and even more escape when the twigs break again as they hit the ground. Now
new stars race up into the night-sky where each one is carefully put into a special place.
Now, when the Spirit-of-the-Night-Sky has enough new stars, she tells the Wind-Spirit to
stop; and the wind settles down to a gentle night breeze. Of course, the Spirit-of-the-
Night-Sky wants to thank the Wind-Spirit for his help so she asks all the new stars to
twinkle brightly for him. This way the Wind-Spirit can see where all the new stars he
helped escape have been placed.

So, if you want to add a new star to the Night-sky, gather some Cottonwood Star twigs
and snap a few to make sure you have good ones. Then wait for a clear night.
When your special night comes, find a spot where you can see lots of stars. Hold your
twig up toward the night sky and snap it. After you snap, check the ends of your twig to
see if you have a star pattern showing. If you do, then you have put a new star in the sky.
The star pattern is the shadow that the new star leaves behind.
Look up at the night sky again, and if you look very carefully, in the same direction that
you released your new star, your will see it twinkling brightly. This is your ‘thank-you’
for the Spirit-of-the-Night Sky, for adding a beautiful new star to her heavenly kingdom.

It turns out Joni Mitchell, singer/songwriter, artist, is right….

we are stardust!

Joni

The cottonwood trees often lose branches when the winds are heavy. You can harvest inner bark, leaves or leafbuds from these branches.

I found a large branch with still fresh, newly emerged leaves on their stems. The leaves felt moist and resinous. I took it as a large gift and offering. I even had my mason jar and brandy with me. I was thinking I would make a flower essence as flowers are blooming this late April.

I am so glad I heeded the message to bring my supplies. In reading Michael Moore’s book: Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West., I knew that Cottonwoods had great herbal medicinal value. So, with this learning I felt awe and respect when I found the Cottonwood branch on the ground near the Jemez river where i was enjoying my hike.

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Jemez range and the Cottonwoods which like to grow near rivers and streams.

I felt so fortunate to harvest the still, fresh and potent leaves.

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I gave thanks to the tree and branches and leaves and made my herbal medicine right there.

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I covered leaves with 40% Brandy.
The tincture should be ready in a month. A few weeks later, I added aspen tree buds. My friend was experiencing extremely painful hamstring spasms which kept her awake at night.

I gave her some cottonwood leaf and aspen bud tincture for pain and the pain was completely relieved within five minutes.

This tincture works very well for acute conditions.

For chronic pain conditions, for example- arthritis, I have read that a formula of pain relieving herbs works well. For example, black cohosh, cottonwood buds and devil’s claw for arthritis, etc.

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With my gratitude and offering, I felt so blessed to make such an effective, pain relieving, anti-inflammatory, herbal medicine…

Star medicine.

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Many Native American peoples have used and still use the Cottonwood trees for a variety of purposes. Cottonwood trees grow near streams and rivers. We owe gratitude to all the people before us who have developed herbal medicine benefits and uses.

Cottonwoods when they die, reveal centers that have often rotted. The insides can be more easily hollowed out and the good wood makes excellent drums. Many Pueblo people have expertise in this craft.

The dense but soft roots of cottonwoods are used to carve the Puebloan, sacred Kachinas.

Kachinas

The catkins, the drooping flower buds, were often eaten as a first spring food by various Pueblo people.

I’d like to forage some catkins.

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One source I found states that poplar/aspen… perhaps cottonwood leaves taste like spinach. So many edible, wild plants are compared to spinach, in taste, it makes me smile. I haven’t tried the leaves as food. If you have tried them let me know!

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I am so grateful for my Cottonwood journey. I learned so much and feel happy, inspired by this change. A change, by new learning and for what the Cottonwood offers. What it has always offered by showing us and all creatures, life giving water which it grows nearby.
Its many uses, including healing uses, as a food and its relationship as a sacred tree.

I am grateful and reminded of the timeless beauty of the Cottonwood and its ready branches of stars.

And, when I take a journey to learn about one plant or tree….other plants join in to make their hellos and introductions. And re-introductions. Almost as an invite, as ally, to learn more.

Now is the time.

So, with that, I saw my first Apache plume flower today. Having seen the seed plumes last year, I had missed these happy rose like flowers.

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And the beautiful, vibrant globe mallows.

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Thankyou for taking this star blazed trail with me. Happy wise foraging and wildcrafting to you.

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Sources:

Posted links

and books:

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. by Michael Moore, Museum of New Mexico Press. Santa Fe, NM. 2003.

Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province.by Tierney & Dunmire, Museum of New Mexico Press. Santa Fe, NM. 1995.

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and a field of Cottonwood seed fluff!

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In the fall young cottonwoods rustle their leaves in the wind.

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Field Notes and a Sound Walk. Finding Grindelia

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Walking to a favorite arroyo… maybe a 1/4 mile away. I have the most amazing nature hike. Nature is always all around. Even beneath layers of concrete. The earth is there. The air. The cosmos outside our bubble of atmosphere is I would guess a cosmic nature.

I feel so lucky to know, at least, some of the plants by name. To tap in and align with ancient knowledge. To hopefully join a stewardship of respect for these plants and trees. Water and sky. And to remember, I am part of nature. Not de-natured. But one and the same.

I heard on a radio show that humans are, most attuned, to register the sound of bird calls. Songbirds. Why? Because songbirds are always around sources of water. We have an affiliation with songbirds that has always led us to water.

We are. Nature.

listen

Acoustic Ecology

Soundwalking

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Apache Plume

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Yerba del Buey
Grindelia
Grindelia aphanactis
Family: Asteraceae

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Indian Paintbrush

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Grindelia

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Limoncillo

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Cleome

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Milkweed…beautiful but, this species likely toxic to humans.

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I don’t know what this is

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Clammy ground cherry

And more Grindelia
a.k.a. Curlycup gumweed

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And it has coarse toothed leaves especially the larger ones further down the stem

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With my chipped polish!

Flower head with sticky curled bracts

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Basal set of leaves

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Graffitti and Grindelia

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Harvest during milky stage of flowers going to seed soon. I also harvested yellow flower heads and leaves when plant was in this stage above.

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Wildcrafting pretty photo blur

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I found Grindelia on the bank of this arroyo.
This beautiful plant… captured my attention. Its beautiful flowers and seeds… a mystery plant to me.
Also a reminder, to respect all plants and to wildcraft ethically and with good discernment and respect for the plant and the land.

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Grindelia in its sunny glory. Also known as gum plant as it has a sticky resin to it.

Medicinally it is a good expectorant and good for bronchial coughs and dry hacking coughs. Oh how I wish I had some Grindelia tea this past April!

It also makes a soothing skin salve. A tincture made with alcohol is recommended to help heal and dry up poison oak/ivy rash.

Also according to: Dunmire and Tierney’s book: Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province., 1995… p.p. 219-220

Uses include: waxes and resins in the U.S. and Europe. Also makes a good yellow dye.

Also the book sites various Puebloan uses… such as: a tea drunk for kidney problems, dried boiled herb parts with liquid added to clean abrasions, ground herbs applied to skin sores and a sticky blossom on an aching tooth.

I plan on making a tea after drying the flowers and leaves. And also making a healing salve with the dried leaves and flowers.

I will dry these tomorrow

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I did dry them… and now as I edit this post… I feel achey and a sore throat. I am having tea and honey now but I am going to make a Grindelia tea when I get home tomorrow morning. Feeling grateful that I have some Grindelia healing herb for a tea!

Meanwhile, I am saving most of my Grindelia along with Mullein and Aster for a healing respiratory tincture! I will keep you posted shortly!

history and use of Grindelia for lungs and skin aid!

Aster is a healing plant for respiratory problems too…

Aster Heals!

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So much to learn and discover.
On my own, nearby nature hike to an arroyo.
Some familiar plants.
Some new.
Songbirds happy with the weather and the recent rain.
A Sound walk.
Where I can listen.
Listen
And be in harmony with hearing.
Hearing what is offered. What needs to be still. What can be harvested or let alone. From hearing to listening and I am just beginning.
But at least beginning…
and joyfully.

Con alegría
Yerba del Buey

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Michael Moore Herbalist. Online Manual for Tinctures

Includes information on Grindelia

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Beautiful poetry…almost made me cry.
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poetry by John Luther Adams…acoustic ecology. “The Place Where You Go To Listen.”

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A spring in a desert arroyo.

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Posted Sites and these texts for Sources:

Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province. Exploring Ancient And Enduring Uses.
By, William Dunmire and Gail Tierney, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fé. 1995.

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. by, Michael Moore, Museum of New Mexico Press, 2003.

Lemon scent in the Wild West! Limoncillo Tea!

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Pectis Angustifolia
Plant Family: Asteraceae

Common name: Limoncillo, lemonscent, lemonscented cinchweed

(Always check latin binomial name above as different plants can have the same nickname or common name!)

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Identification characteristics:
See book source end of post. Author: Delena Tull

Bright yellow flower heads are small
1/2 ” (1 cm) across
Leaves are 1/2-1.5″ (1-4cm) long and less than 1/8 ” long (1-2 mm) broad
Other aromatic species of Pectis may be used in a similar way.

*Harvest from larger colonies of the plant only.

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Note: Please see additional sources in identifying this or other plants. Bring an expert with you and/or someone who knows!

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I really wish I had taken more pictures of this lovely plant.
(I’ve added more from the following summer!)

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I learned about this plant when I went on a Nature Hike and in the link of the post I tell all about the Clammy Ground cherry!

But, I didn’t want to slow down anyone else around me or miss the upcoming, nearby plants of interest and discussion. So this year, I got one picture of the Limoncillo plant in full bloom. So glad I got a vibrant picture of all the flowers in bloom!

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Turns out it makes a lovely lemony tea! Terri and I really enjoyed it.

No-one on the hike really knew the name of the plant. Just that it made a really refreshing lemony flavored tea.

I have been taking a Clinical Herbalism class. Learning about the medical aspects of Herbs.
I am all ears during the class and just love it!
I am taking the class in Albuquerque, New Mexico and quite enjoy being in a different place and city for a few hours every week!

I have been adding to my personal library of plant books.
After buying my textbook for class… I purchased this book!

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Written by Delena, Tull.

I wasn’t sure if I was getting too extravagant but really felt a book, as the title describes, would be very useful.

Imagine my delight when I found color plate 15!
Yes, got to admit after a couple of weeks research, I was very happy to find out more about the mystery plant.

It became a mystery to me, because just a little nibble of the flower, captivated me by its very pleasant, lemony-fruity flavor. I really hoped I could find this plant just 5 or so miles away where I lived.

And turns out I did!

I thought it was a member of the asteraceae family and looked a bit like the ray petals of a dandelion…although a different shaped flower.

Here is plate 15 from this book I have been talking about!

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This plant is commonly called Limoncillo.

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This is a nickname that other plants that grow in the region have due to its lemony scent.
Other plants that have this nickname and grow nearby are called False Pennyroyal.

Pectis angustifolia is the Limoncello plant I made the tea out of.

When I found it just a few weeks or so later it was starting to dry out.
Coming to the end of its season as an annual plant.

Funny, as is often the case with me…
I had walked by this low lying plant and thought…
Well, maybe.

When dry, the surrounding leaves appear bract like. Its appearance was somewhat reminiscent of the plant in full bloom but different enough to make me not sure. So, the first walk I took… I noticed it in the back of my mind but wasn’t sure.

You can see the difference.

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Or maybe better here…

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Another aspect to foraging or wildcrafting.
Plants change according to the season! And in late summer, early fall this plant changes a lot!

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The leaves sticking out of the now drying plant, gave it a bract like appearance that made me question the plants the first time.

Some of the flowers smelled lemony but were pretty far gone in the patch I had discovered that first day…

The second time I went not just meandering but looking for Limoncillo!… the memory of those few week older and drying, annual plants were still in the back of my mind.

Terri came with me. Our friends from where the nature hike was… was a bit lower in elevation, so we decided to take a path leading down to lower elevations.

And that is where we found our Limoncillo plants!

Here is the hill we wandered down.

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And here are the flowers and some leaves and short stems we foraged for our tea!

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We added a loose amount in a 4 oz jar shown here. A small jar…
To a small pot of water.

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Brought it to a boil for 5 minutes and then turned off the heat, covered the pot, and steeped the tea for 10 minutes.

We loved it. It tasted a bit earthy like chamomile but with the overall fruity-lemony taste! By far one of my favorite foraged plants. It makes a lovely tea!

And I am grateful!

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A tea for one, or two or many!

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Early fall flowers above

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And late summer blooms

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Wild lemony tea! Limoncillo!

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Delena Tull in her book: Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest… highlights use of the Pectis angustifolia/papposa plant.

P. 157
“The leaves and flowers of the low-growing annual herbs provide a pleasant lemony tea. Limoncillo blooms in summer and fall. The young, ediible leaves may be added as flavoring to stews. The volatile oil can be used to scent perfume, and the herb furnishes a yellow dye for wool. The pollen can cause hay fever in sensitive individuals. Found growing on calcium-rich soils throughout the Southwest, these fragrant wildflowers provide one of the best wild teas in the West…”

Wild Limoncillo…

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Pectis angustifolia

Pectis papposa

Asteraceae: Many healing plants!

Pectis angustifolia also has specific medicinal use. Please see source link below as well as bibliogaphy in link.

plant info source and medical use

Text Source:

Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest. Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. by Delena Tull, University of Texas Press. Revised ed., 2013.

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In the shade of a prickly pear cactus!

And near a favorite arroyo at a lower elevation… still in bloom at the end of September.

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limoncillo in the arroyo

Clammy Ground Cherry and the Wilding Way

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identify clammy or smooth ground cherries!

Physalis heterophylla
Common name/Nicknames: Clammy Ground Cherry, Ground Cherry, Husk cherry, Husk tomato, Chinese lantern, Inca berry
Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)

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Ground Cherry fruit in its beautiful papery lantern husks in early fall

and this next one was an abandoned feast, lying on the arroyo floor…

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Harvest fruit in Autumn
calyx… lantern like casing not edible. Only ripe fruit is!

Nutrition may be similar to Tomatillo
And perhaps more since it has not been cultivated… consider: phytonutrients, flavanoids, etc. Which may be additional when a wild plant.

See more nutritional info at end of post.

plant info

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(I think it is indeed ripening… more yellow today!)

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I’ve read that when the fruit of this cherry is yellow it is the Clammy ground cherry!

As is the spiral through time and space that I am learning about foraged plants… so it is with Clammy ground cherry. I have been admiring them, and learning about them, along with other nightshades that look like they grow tiny yellow tomatoes without husks or calyxes… are poisonous! beautiful, but poisonous.

see toxic look alikes

belladonna poisonous nightshade

But I love plants and it is so interesting to learn about families of plants. The edible, the poisonous, the look alikes and the plants which are in the same family but appear so different!

So this is spiral like too… or labyrinthine. Like when the datura pops and bursts open like my new foraging, plant hike friend, described.

She told our plant hike gathering, how she has admired the beauty of the nightshade datura … for many years.

Then one evening she had the time alone, she admitted was a rare treat, to admire the datura…

When to her delight and surprise, she saw and heard, as the interlocking tendrils at the end of the flowers (which hook it spirally shut)… at just the right moment, popped open and unfurled, to reveal their splendor.

I am so grateful that she shared her story on our plant hike. Stories help us unfold and glean the true wisdom and joy of plants and unfurl a learning experience we can all remember!

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Here is the first Datura plant on my friends’ property and Sustainable Learning Center called Ampersand. Now, some 10 years later, there are many datura plants that have chosen to thrive there.

I love the beautiful datura and have often called it the lily of the desert. It is a nightshade like the Clammy ground cherry… but NOT edible.

Humans have to share afterall. Not all plants developed as edible plants for humans… strong alkaloids and other compounds have developed over time as a plant’s evolutionary defense.

And plants can be teachers and allies, not just through edibility. A reminder to me, to learn about plant neighbors. What plants are growing near a wild edible plant. This tells more of the story of the plant. The story of the soil and place.

…the circle unravels and travels the spiral where we begin…

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Flowering Alfalfa in the arroyo. Yummy alfalfa by the way! near nature hike…

So I got to go on a nature hike, through the happy connection of one friend telling me about the nature hike… that she was hoping to go to, at Ampersand.

Ampersand was created by Amanda and her partner Andy as a Sustainable Learning Center in Cerrillos, New Mexico.

I had been wanting to go to this particular event and because of my schedule had missed out on other nature hikes… but I had that Sunday off!
Amanda gave a hearty welcome for me to join. I couldn’t wait! 🙂

On this nature excursion, Amanda and others discussed and pointed out edible and medicinal plants. I was overjoyed.

This also included stories like the one about datura and traditional Native uses of plants, i.e. the Cleome plant which was used as food (wild spinach) and a dye for pottery painting.

patterns and the fourth sister: Cleome!

Cleome, Cleome Serrulata, is also known as
Rocky Mountain Bee Plant!

Capparaceae family of plants.

The Navajo refer to this plant as Waa’

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patterns of the caper family.

I just love this plant, Cleome!

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Ampersand is located near a beautiful arroyo, meadow and desert area… (not too far from me.) It is a diverse riparian area and so many beautiful plants grow there. Here is Amanda from Ampersand our beautiful and knowledgeable nature hike guide sitting and enjoying a patch of false pennyroyal!

Ampersand! Sustainable Learning Center

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This area is resplendent with all sorts of edible and healing plants. Like this soothing, nervine benefitting herb Verbena!

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Verbena, what a Healer!

tips on making salves

And, I made my own healing salve with snakeweed and verbena! Soothing and anti-inflammatory!

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Clammy Ground Cherry…where do you live?

Habitat:

“It is found mainly in habitats such as dry or mesic prairies, gravel hills and rises, sandy or rocky soils, and waste places such as roadsides.”

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Related to the tomatillo. In fact the Tomatillo is a cultivated Ground Cherry!

Here are more pictures of the Clammy Ground Cherry!

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Plant showing the leaves and ground cherries below hanging in their papery lantern husks!

clammy ground cherry!

native american medicinal use

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My new nature hike friend showing me what lies within the “paper lantern!”

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Showing each other Ground cherries on the nature hike!

Only eat Clammy ground cherries when they ripen to yellow. They contain alkaloids which could be potentially fatal and/or harmful if not ripe!… green is unripe in this case!

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Okay so what can I make with Clammy ground cherries?… jam, pie, a fruity nibble… empanadas…

I just love this person! They made a Ground Cherry pie from a similar species… Physalis peruviana… but
Physalis heterophylla would work great too!
Wow that’s a lot of science… but so is good baking so here goes!

Ground Cherry Pie, Cupcakes and Salsa Recipes!

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Here it is a greenish yellow on the windowsill of a sweet housesit!

I read somewhere that they will fully ripen to a (full yellow) in this case… just like their cousins the tomatoes… will ripen when left to do the same!

I will keep you posted as my journey with Clammy ground cherry continues!

I can’t wait to taste my Clammy ground cherry
once it is fully ripe!

tomatillos are cultivated ground cherries!

Medical Use clammy ground cherries…

From the above Medical Use… link:

” (Peterson Field Guides, Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, 1990) report that the American Indians made a tea of the leaves and roots of Clammy Ground Cherry, P. heterophylla, for headaches, wash for burns, scalds; in herbal compounds to induce vomiting for bad stomach aches; root and leaves poulticed for wounds. Seeds of this and other species were considered useful for difficult urination, fevers, inflammation, and various urinary disorders.”

Also may have anti-tumor properties which are being researched.

more medical source

Ripe berries can also be dried and ground into a flour to add to breads and doughs.

Nutrition:

from Primaldocs.com

Clammy Ground Cherry is a powerhouse of Nutrition!

It is filled with Vitamin A
B complex vitamins
Phosphorus, potassium, and iron
Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory agents

Including withanolides which cut off cancer cells/tumors ability to make blood vessels to itself

withanolides and physalis

Also, reportedly protects your liver from some forms of toxicity as well as aiding in illness from diabetes and hypertension.

The author, of Primaldocs.com, Arthur Haines, closes this excellent article by talking about the importance of re-wilding one’s life. That the impact of doing so changes one’s life for the better. With nutrition and sense of connectedness to nature, the world.

And that this task of re-wilding is essential to our wellbeing. That we regain ecological knowledge and wisdom and move from being told what to eat by supermarket shelves to a more closely related connection to wild foods and beings that share an ecological path with us.

Re-wilding is a path I am glad I am on!

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Clammy Ground Cherry you have guided my way!

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Keepin on Nature Hiking

Lambs quarters, Lammas, the Hummingbird and the Coral Reef

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Lambs Quarters
Chenopodium Album
Nicknames:
Fat Hen, Goose foot, Pig weed
(Pig weed can be a nickname for other plants such as for amaranth species.)
So look for botanical name to clear up regional nickname differences.
…Even Euell Gibbons said that was a good idea. And all the nicknames for Lambs quarters helped him turn the leaf, so to speak, in using botanical names to be clear!

more about Euell Gibbons

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Lambs quarters during Lammas

Lammas occurs on August 1st. This time of year in the Northern hemisphere is an abundant time for harvesting. (Imbolc takes place at this time of year in the Southern hemisphere.)

Lammas is a many centuries old tradition. Which is still celebrated today. Lambs quarters is said to be a rendition of Lammas quarters and is said to have been one of the first greens served during Lammas. A relative, Orache, is said to have been served during Lammas as well.

Bread is also the celebrated food of Lammas and the successful harvest of grains.

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photo credit, Learn more about Lammas

recipe for lammas bread

(Harvest lambsquarter seed in fall, grind in coffee grinder or hand grist mill. Substitute half amount of wheat flour with lambsquarter seed flour.)

Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh, counts of a time where the God Lugh, a sun god, reigned the world as a: warrior, a many skilled and talented being. Who also yields the glory of the sun and the harvest.

A celebration of the harvest with the Lammas loaf of bread!

August is a significant time for the coral in the sea. Shortly after Lammas, every August, 7-10 days after the full moon… Coral all over the world spawn and reproduce.

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photo credit, more about coral

Reef Relief

Nitrate pollution affects Coral (and Lambs quarters)

Lugh belonged to the Tuatha de Danaan people. His mother Ethniu belonged to (the enemy) or the Fomorii people. The Fomorii people worshipped the goddess Domnu. Goddess of the deep abyss. The Sea. Sea creatures like the dolphin, the salmon. The coral reefs are all sacred to Domnu.

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photo credit, Formorians and Domnu

More about Domnu see description for Donn (Domnu)

Celtic Deities

More about Celtic Deities

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Story of Lugh, Photo credit.

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As with the story of Domnu predating Lugh. Some research also suggests that the festival of Lugh once involved a commemoration of mourning. Due to his foster mother, Tailtiu dying in her efforts to supply the earth with grain. Also, the layers of myth and story all point to earlier peoples and times…still encoded in the myths.

harvest myth

lugh legends

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Lugh, God of the Sun which gives life to all. Domnu, goddess of his Mother’s people. Gives birth to the amniotic like fluid of the sea. All creatures on earth came originally from the sea.

Why did Lugh, once empowered, go to war with his Mother’s people?
Was it the dawning of the patriarchy?
Some existential angst of the sun?
A trepidation due to the unknown depths and creations of the sea where light ceases to be seen?

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photo credit, 10minuteastronomy.wordpress.com

Whereas, The full moon, in August, enacts the spawning of coral all over the world. The reflected light of the moon of the Sun. Some would say, is the reflected light of Lugh. The time of Lammas, Lugh’s time of Harvest. The light of the moon shining into the depth’s of the sea. What the Fomorii people would say was Domnu’s sea. The depth of new creation. Sometimes the terrifying but awe inspiring depths. And the hope of coral in the sea.

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Here is to the Happy Hearth! My hearth in my abode.

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The Hearth… is an extension of who and where you are.
Whether at an outdoor kitchen, a simple campsite, cooking with a solar oven, in your home or at a gourmet restaurant…

Making meals with foraged plants are a simple blessing that, not only can nourish, but can heal.
And make your hearth your home.

Here is lamb’s quarters. A foraged plant which has held a huge importance and food source in many parts of the world, such as Europe, Asia and North America. Including for Celtic peoples from which these gods and goddesses have been briefly described.

Historical use

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The story and place of Lambs quarters. How and where to find this plant.

August, time and place.

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Habitat:

Common and widespread
Introduced from Europe
Grows in yards, disturbed sites, vacant lots

Identification and Description:

Small to medium size annual plant
2 feet on average up to 5 feet plus…

Stems erect, usually branched
With a pale green and/or whitish cast

***Caution: Lambs quarters will easily absorb nitrates from fertilizer run off. Harvest only in non-polluted areas.***

fertilizer run off and nitrates health risk

Dietary Note: Lambs quarters contain oxalates which, for those with certain health problems, such as kidney stones, it may be advised to avoid oxalate laden foods.

However, oxalates are in many foods including: berries, spinach, beets, swiss chard, legumes, etc.

And, oxalates play an important role in cell function. “For example, vitamin C is one of the substances that our cells routinely convert into oxalates.”

source, more about oxalates

concise info/includes mild healing effects

It is a highly nutritious plant related to spinach. In fact, lambs quarters, can be an excellent substitute for spinach in recipes!! Give it a try 🙂

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Nutritional Benefits of Lambs Quarters:

According to the following site, Lambs Quarters gives well over a full days supply of Vitamins C and A along with being a good supply of Calcium, Manganese and some B vitamins, along with other nutritional benefits!

Great Chart!

lambs quarter, avocado and olive spread!

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My August birthday and the hummingbird that came to visit!

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird
Selasphorus platycerus

size: 4″

Male: Tiny, iridescent green bird with black throat patch (gorget) that reflects rosy red in sunlight.
Wings and part of the back are green

Female: same as male but lacking the throat patch, much more green on back, tan on flanks

This female, Broad-Tailed hummingbird visited me twice on my birthday.

Terri and I have been birdwatching.

Often by the time we get the binoculars in focus, the bird has either jumped to the back of a tree or likely flown off.

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We get pieces of information each time and often predominantly get different pieces or “noticings.”
For instance, on one birdwatching adventure, I noticed a black cap…on the bird’s head and Terri noticed yellow on the wings, etc.

We review each sighting with “what did you see? Did you see that?” Some of it is the same but often different details emerge. This can be humorous and fumbling at best. But can, we hope, add together for a bigger picture.

The fun thing is humingbirds can hover. As the female did who visited us twice, first thing this morning.

Of all the birds we have been trying to identify and observe, this one let us observe her the closest for the longest.

Twice in a matter of a few minutes! The hovering, inquisitive nature of the hummingbird, made it possible for us to identify what kind of humingbird she, indeed was.

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A female, Broadtailed Hummingbird

Information about Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds

Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds

and more info here

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My birthday cake for two! 🙂

My birthday celebration continued as we also sautéed lambs quarters for a birthday meal.
So delicious we felt happy and nourished to share this celebration meal together!

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Rinsing

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Sautéeing on my Hearth! 🙂

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mmmm!

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Undersides of Lambsquarter leaves

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Mature plants have purple notches at stem joints

And one more look at the plant

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*** There are look alikes out there and different species of chenopodium which may be toxic! Please forage with someone who knows and be careful with new growth as it can resemble inedible species of other plants!

Bring an expert forager with you and get to know the plants in your area. Bring a good text source with you too!

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This post was a creative endeavor. Thankyou for joining me in the journey! August, time and place. Mythology, nutritious greens at time of harvest. The coral reefs after the full moon in August. Watching, bird watching. Learning, lovingly and discernedly the correct plant for foraging. Harvesting and gleaning knowledge about my Celtic background and for the foraged plants our ancestors held dear. Looking to the past. To the future. What surrounds us in the oceans heralded by the protective forces some have described as Domnu. The fragile balance of nature and the awe of the coral reefs. So much to learn when a hummingbird comes nearby to hover. Beating its wings 50 or more times per second.
Learning.
Appreciating!

And happy foraging to You!

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Sources includes links and posted URL’s

Text Sources:

Birds of New Mexico: Field Guide.
by, Stan Tekiela. Adventure Publications, inc. Cambridge, Minnesota, 2003.

Edible Wild Plants. A North American Field Guide to over 200 Natural Foods. By, Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman, Sterling Publishing.com, 1982.

Stalking The Wild Asparagus. by Euell Gibbons. Hood, Alan C. & Company, Inc., Publisher. Newer edition 2005.
Originally published 1962.

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Happy Harvest of the Sun!

Desert Tales: Piñon Pinetree Tea and The Western Spadefoot Toads sing to the Rain.

This post is about Piñon pine. How to make pine needle tea from this tree. And a whimsical weaving in of my story of place. Living in the High Desert of New Mexico in the foothills of the Ortiz Mountains. It is in long view of the Jemez and Santa fe Mountains. Dotted in the middle by the Cerrillos Hills. And visited by Spadefoot toads during the monsoons!

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now some science…

Pinus edulis
Piñon pine
Family: Pinaceae

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Habitat: foothills and outer reaches of the Rocky Mountains, USA
Also: arid mesas in stands and/or with junipers
Mesas, plateaus, lower mountain slopes

Description:
Small, spreading, bushy tree
Thin with irregularly furrowed bark
Bark is scaly, and gray to reddish brown

Cones are 1.5″ to 2″
Covered in yellow-brown scales
Each scale holds 2 seeds which are about a half inch long

Pine trees bearing cones with pinon seeds, pine nuts, the following year!

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A large crop of pine nuts/seeds occurs every 3-4 years

Gather ripe almost open cones in autumn…. the above cones are all burst open in early fall

Pinus edulis the Piñon pine is an evergreen and classified by its characteristic of having 2 leaves (needles) per bunch

Harvest new growth pine needles in spring and summer to make tea.
Piñon pine is a slow growing tree.
I harvest just 3 or 4 needles per tree until I have a tablespoon per serving.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/300039-the-health-benefits-of-pine-needle-tea/#page=1

The above article states the importance of pine tea as a remedy for scurvy. Native Americans introduced this beverage to non-Natives and helped them survive during pioneer and settler periods.

Pine tea is high in vitamins C and A and is still a popular traditional beverage.

This blog is a post about Pinus edulis or Piñon pine.

Please research the pine in your area for safety and edible use.

And always refer to a professional when foraging and using wild plants or trees for food or tea or medicnal use.

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I have recently been living in a camper in the high desert about 30 miles away from Santa Fé, surrounded by juniper trees and the two leaf (needle) type of pine or piñon tree. Here is a picture where you can see the pairing of needles, two per bunch. Look in the upper left corner of the picture for the 2 needle groups.

image I affectionately call this pine tree by its scientific name:
Pinus edulis.
It rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? 🙂

Here is a good site about pinus edulis including habitat location in the U.S.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinus_edulis

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What is it like to live in the high desert of New Mexico?

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I was intimidated by the impending heat of summer in a camper but we have found it is surprisingly seasonable.

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Terri, the rainbow and the camper 🙂

Coyotes howl at night and we have to keep our older dog with failing eyesight from chasing down the pack.

image Terri and Fella in the Santa Fe Mountains… about an hour’s drive away.

There are hummingbirds and roadrunners. Mice and packrats need constant attention to keep them at bay.

During the heat of summer, comes the rainy season in the high desert. We call it the monsoon season.

Endearingly, in pools of water near the piñon and junipers, amphibians lie in the depths of mud and rainwater…the Western Spadefoot toads!

According to the site below, these amphibians metamorphose from tadpole to toad sometimes as fast as 12-19 days. Also dependent on the mud puddle not drying up.

http://www.reptilesofaz.org/Turtle-Amphibs-Subpages/h-s-multiplicata.html

Whereas eggs hatch in 2-3 days sometimes within 15 hours… our local State Park guide told us.

Check it out if you are ever in New Mexico!

http://www.cerrillosnewmexico.com/cerrillos-state-park

Summer time of year, we are surrounded by the Western Spadefoot toads because of all the monsoon puddles.

Terri and I affectionately refer to this closeby, ever growing, monsoon lake puddle as Lake Spadefoot!

Here is “Lake Spadefoot!” And our visit was made more fun when the dogs went splashing in. The toads are nocturnal and I hope they were safely away!

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Here is an interesting site about the Western Spadefoot Toad!

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Mexico_spadefoot_toad

The Spadefoot toad’s name is:
Spea multiplicata

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Photo credit of this site:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Mexico_spadefoot_toad

According to the above wikipedia site, here are some interesting quoted facts about the Western Spadefoot Toad.

“The New Mexico Spadefoot Toad (Spea multiplicata) is a species of American spadefoot toad found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Like other species of spadefoot toad, they get their name from a distinctive spade-like projections on their hind legs which enable them to dig in sandy soils. Some sources also refer to the species as the Mexican Spadefoot Toad, Desert Spadefoot Toad or Southern Spadefoot Toad.

The New Mexico Spadefoot Toad grows from 1.5 to 2.5 inches in length, and has a round body, with relatively short legs. They are green, to grey, to brown, usually reflecting the soil color of their native habitat,often with black and orange colored speckling on their back, and a white underside. They have large eyes,with vertical pupils.

Like all species of spadefoot toad, the New Mexico Spadefoot Toad is nocturnal and secretive. If handled, these frogs might emit a peanutlike odor, which can cause tearing and nasal discharge if in close contact with the face. Spending most of its time buried in the ground, the spadefoot emerges during periods of summer rainfall to feed on insects and to breed. Breeding takes place in temporary pools left by the rain. Eggs laid in large masses, often hatch in as little as 48 hours. The tadpoles are forced to metamorphose quickly, before the water dries up.”

Scientific Site about the Western Spadefoot Toad

http://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=spea&where-species=multiplicata

So when I think about my day and any foraged foods I have enjoyed. While I wonder if my pictures of the Pinus edulis are in focus enough… while I sift through my own texts and what information I can glean via the internet… (and there is a lot to sift through, in regard to pine tea!)…

I am comforted and humored at night, by the calls of the neighboring, puddle dwelling toads!

Did you ever use a musical instrument… where one piece of the wood is ridged and you rub a stick against the ridges? Well, that is as close as I can come to explaining what they sound like.

And, I always hear what must be hundreds in a chorus together.

This musical instrument reminds me of what they
sound like!

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You can check out this great musical instrument website that sells these sweet creations and also the
above photo courtesy of:

http://povera.myartsonline.com/music/instruments.html

The Western spadefoot toad, it turns out, is the official amphibian for the State of New Mexico!

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photo credit

More about the
Zia people and the Zia symbol here.

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Life in the High Desert is diverse and this diversity can change with the season. Like when the toads come out in the rains.

The piñon tree is a steady companion of the high desert of New Mexico. I have noticed it often grows at the base of an older or even dying/dead Juniper tree.

The pine pitch resin also makes an all purpose healing balm called trementina salve. check it out!

It is so interesting to notice patterns.

Seasonal ones but also more cyclical ones and patterns over larger periods of time such as with the growth of these beautiful Piñon trees.

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Living back in New Mexico has been fun to see what foraged plants I found while on the road also thrive here.

This is a welcome pattern I am glad to see here. This includes purslane, common mallow, wild lettuce and others. There is so much to learn and it has taken me several months to come back to write about Piñon pine.

What lessons are there for me about pine?
Pine tea is aromatic and lemony. It has an expansive opening feeling for the lungs and has a healing lemony feel to it when drinking it.

Piñon pine are hearty. Slow growing. Evergreen. They provide some of the only shade in the High desert. They grow nuts and their needles can be made into tea.

But, also because they are slow growing I want to respect their bounty. I do not want to harvest more than what the tree can tolerate for needles.

The tree is also home and food to birds and other wildlife.

What have I pined for? What took me so long to write about pine? Did I need to come home again to regain that grounding? I think so.

Pinus edulis has been a teacher to me. I have spent 3/4 of a year thinking and researching…abandoning the post I was trying to write. Only to begin again. I had to forget the stockpile of sites and conflicting information I had found about pine tea. I needed to return to a space. A place where I could admire the tree on my return to New Mexico. Identifying it from a distance by its dark bark when mature. Enjoying seeing its beginning growth underneath a juniper. Becoming visually more aware. Beginning again from less of a burdened perspective of research. And coming more from a place of neighbor. The trees in my vicinity.

Appreciating the 5 or 6 trees I visited today to make 2 cups of tea… It slows me down and helps me fill with intention. Not a neediness or greed… how much can I harvest or get… (or even a horde of information) but, what is needed. What is enough. What is timely. What did today ask me to do?

An appreciation that a shared cup of pine needle tea can fortify. That I have what I need. A teacher.
An ally. A Piñon tree. And a friend to share the tea.

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How to Make Pine Needle Tea from Piñon pine.

1.Harvest enough needles from the bright green new growth equal to one tablespoon per cup. Do not over-harvest from one tree

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2. Chop or cut with scissors… the needles into smaller bits.

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3. Crush the needles between 2 spoons to help release aromatic oils

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4. Add to water for tea

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5. Bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes and let steep for 5-10 minutes. Then strain into cups.

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6. Enjoy

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This is a picture from last November. The color is a reddish brown. It is from the Pinus edulis tree also.

Today’s brew was less red. Just slightly tinged with color. But it was good and aromatic and vitalizing. I boiled it less long today so recommend 2-3 minutes as stated above. But remember, it can be nice to have a more gentle tea like I made today!

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Here are some fun and interesting sites I have found and wanted to share! Check it out!

Wild Blessings site by Holly Drake! Pine Needle Popsicles!

pine pollen as food

how to harvest pine nuts

The following site is delightful. It shows a Chippewa/Ojibway tradition of making dolls out of tufts of pine needle bunches. Each pine needle bunch forms a doll and the skill and fun is to make the dolls dance, jiggle, jump and perform against a small flat board.

Native American Pine Needle Dancing Dolls


Native peoples introduced tea to New Englanders and Canadians

pine needle syrup

pine soup

Yep, Pine needle cake!

Edible inner bark and Pine needle flour…from the Wild Blessings site by Holly Drake!

Euell Gibbons…eat a pine tree!

shortbread pine needle recipe

the acoustic world inside a piñon tree

debunks some internet myths about using pine

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And for those of you looking for more specific medicinal and edible use of pine, here is some quoted material from this site just below.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pinus+edulis

The above site has a good synopsis of useful information directly quoted below:

Edibile Uses of Piñon Pine:

“Edible Uses Edible Parts: Inner bark; Seed; Seedpod. Edible Uses: Condiment; Gum; Tea.

Seed – raw or cooked[82, 177]. Seeds…delicious raw or cooked[2, K]. The seed can be ground into a meal and used in stews, making bread, cakes etc and in making nut butter[183]. The seed is up to 25mm long[160]. Rich in oil, protein[183] and thiamine[160]. The seed contains about 15% protein[213]. An important item of food for the local Indians, it is also sold in local markets of Colorado and New Mexico[61, 82]. About 450,000 kilos of the seeds are sold in American markets each year[229]. The leaves can be brewed into a tea[183, 257]. Immature female cones – roasted. The soft centre forms a sweet syrupy food[183]. Inner bark – cooked. A sweet flavour, it is cut into strips and cooked like spaghetti[183]. Inner bark can also be dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickening in soups or can be mixed with cereal flours when making bread etc[257]. The pitch from the trunk can be hardened and used as a chewing gum[257]. A vanillin flavouring is obtained as a by-product of other resins that are released from the pulpwood[200].”

I have underlined and highlighted some of this text for emphasis.

Also according to the PFAF site:

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pinus+edulis

Medicinal Uses are numerous and include:

“Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future
(and wildlettucegal.wordpress.com) can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiseptic; Depurative; Diuretic; Emetic; Expectorant; Pectoral; Plaster; Rubefacient; VD; Vermifuge.

The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge[4]. It is a valuable remedy in the treatment of kidney, bladder and rheumatic affections, and also in diseases of the mucous membranes and the treatment of respiratory complaints[4]. Externally it is used in the form of liniment plasters and poultices on cuts, boils, burns and various skin problems[4, 257]. The heated pitch has been applied to the face to remove facial hair[257]. The gum is used as a plaster on cuts and sores[216]. An infusion of the leaves has been used as an emetic to cleanse the stomach[257]. The leaves have been chewed in the treatment of venereal diseases[257]. The leaves have been burnt and the smoke inhaled as a treatment for colds[257]. The inner bark is expectorant[257].”

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Additional Source for this blog post, in addition to posted URL sites includes the text:

Edible Wild Plants. A North American Field Guide to over 200 Natural Foods.
By, Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman, Sterling Publishing.com, 1982.

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Thankyou for joining me on this foraging adventure!

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Amidst the Pines…Nearby cactus with fruit!

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Rosehips Along the Oregon Trail!

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This image and more about compass rose.

And a quick sketch in my journal

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It feels fitting to begin with an image of a compass rose. Originally used to help the map reader bear in mind the direction of the winds. It then became a tool to indicate the cardinal directions. This is a modern representation of a compass rose.
The directional points have long been described as the petals of a rose.

This post is about the Rosehips I found while traveling alongside the Oregon trail. So much history, and stories. Some painful. Some a reckoning of western expansion and what effects this had. Migrations were often miles wide. This had a substantial effect on the area and interfered with Native American grazing lands, to say the least.
But, it remains an interesting, if not sometimes painful reminder of past events. Of perseverance and direction. Of the people. Of the roses which remind us of who once were and travelled through
the Oregon Trail.

I found the rosebushes with flowers past bloom, in a half deciduous state with only the Rosehips. But, I immediately recognized the red fruit as Rosehips and the leaves as Rose leaves. Stems adorned with prickles.

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*Please forage with someone who knows and/or bring a guidebook with you.

Always be absolutely certain when foraging.
If in doubt leave it out!

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What are Rosehips Anyway?

According to this site on Wikipedia:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_hip

“The rose hip, also known as rose haw or rose hep, is the fruit of the rose plant, that typically is red-to-orange, but ranges from dark purple to black in some species. Rose hips begin to form after successful pollination of flowers in spring or early summer, and ripen in late summer through
autumn.”

(In my photo: This patch of Rosehips was in an area where a lot of leaves had dropped. Less than a quarter mile away were Rose plants that had more leaves.)

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Rosehips are used for foods and beverages.

“Rose hips can be used to make Palinka, a traditional Hungarian alcoholic beverage. They are also the central ingredient of Cockta, the fruity-tasting national soft drink of Slovenia. [2]

…Rose hips are commonly used as a tisane, often blended with hibiscus, and also as an oil. They can also be used to make jam, jelly, marmalade, and rose hip wine. Rose hip soup, “nyponsoppa”, is especially popular in Sweden. Rhodomel, a type of mead, is made with rose hips.”

And according to this wikipedia site there is more info about the rose plant itself.

“A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing or trailing with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles.” (Thorns)

“Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwest Africa.”

Also this site gives Excellent:

Identification Characteristics!

“The leaves are borne alternately on the stem. In most species they are 5 to 15 centimetres (2.0 to 5.9 in) long, pinnate, with (3–) 5–9 (–13) leaflets and basal stipules; the leaflets usually have a serrated margin, and often a few small prickles on the underside of the stem. Most roses are deciduous but a few (particularly from South east Asia) are evergreen or nearly so.”

“The flowers of most species have five petals, with the exception of Rosa sericea, which usually has only four. Each petal is divided into two distinct lobes and is usually white or pink, though in a few species yellow or red. Beneath the petals are five sepals (or in the case of some Rosa sericea, four). These (sepals) may be…visible when viewed from above… as green points alternating with the rounded petals. There are multiple superior ovaries that develop into achenes.* [4] Roses are insect-pollinated in nature.”

* achenes are dry one seeded fruit. These achenes are surrounded by the hypanthium.

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Here is a Rosehip split in half. It is a closeup of achenes, fibers/hairs and surrounding edible hypanthium. The inside world of a Rosehip!

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Rosa rugosa and Rosa canina are known to make delicious rose hips although there are many rose species that do produce hips.

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Rosehips Along the Oregon Trail

Pioneer Rose or Harison’s Rose
Photograph by Cheryl Netter
From website:
http://www.deborahbedfordbooks.com/harison_rose.html

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I was very happy to find Rosehips along the Oregon Trail.

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Pioneers of the Oregon trail often marked graves of loved ones, who died along the way, with roses which survive to this day. According to the following newspaper article one of the most common of these roses was the Harison rose. A yellow rose. Unfortunately, as I was traveling through, I did not get a chance to see the flowers in bloom. But, I did enjoy the rosehips that I gathered along the Oregon trail. It really got my imagination going. Wondering if the rose bushes I found were tokens of affection for loved ones lost or homesteads along the way. Check out this interesting article about roses and the pioneers who brought rose cuttings with them and preserved those cuttings by sticking the ends into potatoes!

http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2013/07/16/entertainment/02ent%2007-15-13.txt

Also this next newspaper article, written by
Erica L. Calkins for the “Seattle Times.,” gives accounts of pioneer’s experiences.
And, tells of a pioneer descendant, who traces the stories of the women who brought 20 different species along with them on the Oregon Trail!

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19950219&slug=2105943

And here is an interesting article about the unusual ingredients pioneer women used in beverages including Rosehips. It also includes a Native American beverage called Yaupon spiced tea which became popular with pioneers.

http://m.voices.yahoo.com/unusual-ingredients-pioneer-women-used-making-beverages-7957528.html

Roses have travelled from all over the world. From one part to the next. And because of this and native species, roses are, delightfully, common. My life has been etched by the sweet life of roses.

From the wild rose bushes on the Oregon Trail to my discoveries of roses growing wild when I was a child. A favorite memory is of rosehips and rose flowers I admired each time I entered alongside the dunes and pathways to the beach a few miles from my home. They always fascinated me and still delight me to this day.

What are your memories of roses? Rosehips, rose petals, or tea, the prickly thorns…smelling blossoms… we are lucky to share in the stories of roses.

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I am adding to this post. Connecting with my family with a loved one and hospice care.

I found a little time to go to the ocean and I found Beach roses and rosehips! What a blessing!

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I remember beach roses and rosehips from childhood days at the ocean.
So sweet to greet them again now.

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a brief and healing visit to the ocean.

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Roses. Take time to smell the roses!…I’ll be honest it’s hokey but, I can’t resist taking the time to do this! Some smell sweeter than others and it is a sweet experience amidst the hubbub of sometimes pervasive tediousness…  🙂

Awww, the sweetness of rose, soothes.

I can’t seem to find the origin of the phrase…”take time to stop and smell the roses” I was hoping it might have stemmed from Shakespeare but, I haven’t found a direct reference. Funny enough, I grew up hearing this and thought it was an age old idiom. I need a good old fashioned idiom origin book
… but, alas, amidst my small trove of belongings and printed materials I do not have one. And this is all food for thought.

After all this why not enjoy a Prickly Pear fruit and Rose petal syrup Cachaça Cocktail!

And now, after a relaxing beverage… Here is more Food For Thought!…

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NUTRITION OF ROSE HIPS

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Excellent Information presented below from the following site:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/health-benefits-of-rosehip-tea-7607.html

Rosehip Tea Health Benefits:

Tips for Rosehips!
🙂
*Notes: Steep in hot water rather than
boiling Rosehips to make tea.
*do not use aluminum pan/mug
*do not store Rosehips in metal

High in Vitamin C
And can give an energy boost due to high vitamin C content.
(It is better to steep rosehips, i.e. for tea, as this will retain more vitamin C content rather than boiling.)
Additional Vitamins Include:
A, B1, B2, B3, E, K, P as well as C

Further Nutrients Include:
Potassium
Calcium
Iron
Carotenoids
Pectin
Anti-oxidants
Bio-Flavanoids
Phytochemicals
Rutin

Also According to the:

Lifestyle Article: I love India. Rosehip Site

Rosehip tea has anti-aging properties. It regenerates cells and has healing properties.

The phytochemicals in rosehips prevent cancer and some cardiac problems.

Furthermore:

Can prevent some colds and viruses.
Helps clear mucus and clears out respiratory tract.
Helps with UTI
Anti stress agents
Anti Depressant
Regulates Hormones
Hydrates Skin
Improves Circulation

Also: Relieves Menstrual cramps, headaches, diahrrea, dizziness, and nausea.

Rosehip tea can help with allergies, asthma and bronchitis as well.

The pectin in tea helps with constipation. Pectin can lower cholesterol and cleans out intestines.

Rosehips can help with some cardiac issues.

Also according to the source below, health benefits are described.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-839-ROSE%20HIP.aspx?activeIngredientId=839&activeIngredientName=ROSE%20HIP

“Rosehips are also used for stomach disorders including stomach spasms, stomach acid deficiency, preventing stomach irritation and ulcers, and as a “stomach tonic” for intestinal diseases. They are also used for diarrhea, constipation, gallstones, gallbladder ailments, lower urinary tract and kidney disorders, fluid retention (dropsy or edema), gout, back and leg pain (sciatica), diabetes, high cholesterol, weight loss, high blood pressure, chest ailments, fever, increasing immune function during exhaustion, increasing blood flow in the limbs, increasing urine flow and quenching thirst.”

What about Arthritis? Studies indicate Rose hips alleviate symptoms!

http://www.livestrong.com/article/275404-rose-hips-joint-pain/

http://health.ninemsn.com/naturaltherapies/naturalhealth/799090/10-things-about-rosehip

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Rosehips vitamin C content may be affected by processing and extreme heats in drying. Perhaps low heat drying works best to maintain vitamin C or to use fresh. Consider a dehydrater with lower temp setting or oven on low temp or sun drying.

Here is some info on food process and methods which affect vitamin content in food. Commercially drying of foods…the temps are high typically, so perhaps low drying effects are less detrimental to vitamin retention. This site may be of interest to some so I added it here.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/processing

***See a medical professional and/or herbal specialist for all serious medical issues and when using herbs and plants for same.***

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WHEN AND HOW TO HARVEST ROSEHIPS!

Harvest Rosehips in the fall. I’ve read that they are sweetest after 1st frost although I had good luck harvesting mid September. Harvest the plump ones not any that look shrivelled or damaged. If you are lucky to have roses growing in your yard or woods or beach nearby…how wonderful. Some domesticated varieties of roses produce Rosehips and some do not.

*Avoid harvesting in areas that have been treated with toxic pesticides or herbicides.*

And, enjoy the rose on the stem. If you like Rosehips and want to harvest them later…keep the flowers on the stem. The flowers need to drop their petals naturally. Another example where it doesn’t “help nature” to hurry it along. Then the Rosehip can develop where the rose was. They start out green then morph from green orange, to orange and then a beautiful red or red-orange. Some species even produce a black-ish variety.

This is how I harvested mine:

Pick your Rosehips in the fall. I picked mine in mid September in Oregon. It was an area on the edge of a forest. Near the old Oregon Trail Path that was still visible in places.

Almost all roses are deciduous. I’ve read that only one species isn’t. So, when I harvested my Rosehips many of the rose leaves had fallen off. This is also a factor in identifying Rosehips. And, if you can, acquaint yourself with the rose plant as it goes through its cycle throughout the seasons and/or times of year.

Rinse your Rosehips. I presently live on a semi-trailer with limited water so I soak rinsed mine.

Otherwise, with a small knife cut the rose hips in half through the fattest part of the hip…rather than through the crown and bottom of the hip. This will make it easier to clean out the seeds. Trim off crown and bottom of Rosehip too.

(*a note of interest here is that Rosehip seeds contain a healing oil and can be used as oil for skin creams, etc. Use hulled out seeds and/or whole intact Rosehips depending on directions/recipes for Rosehip products. Therefore, you may want to leave some Rosehips whole.)

So, after cutting all your rosehips in half use a small knife or little spoon to scoop out the seeds and small hairy fibers that surround all the many seeds.

Those hairy fibers, sometimes just referred to as hairs are very irritating and itchy. They also cause intestinal problems if eaten. Please be careful when cleaning out and hulling the Rosehips.

To be honest, I found it easier to use my fingers to scoop out the seeds and hairs. Food handling gloves may be useful here. The fibers stick to your skin and may cause dermatitis or reactions…but, I gave it a go.

The hairs/fibers used to be made into an “itching powder” hmmm…April Fools aside…I don’t think so. It does conjure up imaginings for possible Little House on the Prairies scenes…but, that’s a whole other matter!

O’kay so now you have the hulled and cleaned out rosehips. There are lots of food options. Dry them for salads, trail mixes, teas.

When harvesting, Taste them.

They are said to Taste the Best after the first frost. If you live near an area you can sample one here or there to see when it is sweetest for harvesting a batch, then try that! I’ve heard it can vary and does become a practiced art over time. I’ve read several accounts of harvesting after first frost. I harvested mid September which I’ve read is harvest season also. Try harvesting, whenever in your area the Rosehips are ripe, i.e. depending on the species, the rosehips ripen typically to a deep orange/red. See my photos for reference. I ate some raw and they had a sour, tangy slightly sweet taste like a mild cranberry. Personally, I liked it.

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ROSEHIPS: WHAT CAN I DO WITH THEM?

-Make a tea by infusing the rosehips in hot water.

Here’s a delightful post about making Rosehip tea from fresh Rosehips.
http://eatingrichly.com/10/foraging-rose-hip-recipe-for-tea/

-Make face and skin creams.

Make a Chutney!

Rosehips work great with green apples!

-Use in a pie 🙂

-Add to Salads and Trail Mixes

-Make a Rosehip Butter with this recipe!
http://teacupchronicles.com/?p=148

-Dry your Rosehips or use fresh!

-Make a Rosehip soup. In Norway it is called Nyponsoppa and is very popular there. It is a staple item in most Norwegian households and often counted on for schoolchildren to avoid the common cold and other illnesses!

So, what did I do with my batch of Rosehips?
I made a wild apple and Rosehip chutney!
I attempted nyponsoppa…and liked it!
And I made a face cream using whole, un-hulled Rosehips.

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Here is a straightforward method of making
Rosehip-Almond oil using fresh Rosehips…! Check it out!

http://www.gardenguides.com/86407-make-rosehip-oil.html

And here is a method to make Rosehip and Blue Chamomile oil face cream. Use fresh whole Rosehips and/or the cleaned off seeds.
(Cleaned of irritating hairs/fibers)
*Tip: It may be a good idea to strain the oil of any hairs that come out of heated up fresh Rosehips.*

This face cream uses beeswax and a little borax too. This looks interesting and I want to give it a try!

http://www.livestrong.com/article/176922-how-to-make-face-cream-using-rosehip-oil/#page=1

And, if like me you’d like to know more about Borax (used in face cream remedy) and Boron this is a very comprehensive article about uses of Borax and Boron. Oh, and did you know raisins are high in Boron? Neither did I ’til I checked out Borax and Boron! I love this site and hope you will too!

http://www.growyouthful.com/remedy/borax.php

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Nyponsoppa…Rosehip Soup, for real?
It sure is and it’s easy, yummy and nutritious. Dessert just got good for you again! I made Nyponsoppa and used coconut sugar to sweeten. It is said to have a healthier glycemic index. Oh yeah, and it is Yummy!
I didn’t have potato flour so I used rice flour. My result was not the red version of the soup. It was reddish brown. I think the light brown coconut sugar and rice flour muddied the color…
Some might call that a flop, but using ingredients I had on the truck…it was surprisingly good!

And here, just for fun, are some pics of my Nyponsoppa making adventure!

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I found wild green apples growing near the Rosehips so harvested these too.

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Split in half and scoop out hair fibers and seeds.
I had help with this. It takes time but is fun to do with someone else or a group! 🙂

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Rosehip seeds and fibers

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Boil the outer fruit skin… the hypanthium 🙂

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And boil

Then strain and mash and boil the mash

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Boiling mash, then strain the boiled mash! And to the strained liquid I added coconut sugar and rice flour so it is not the traditional red color but here is my Rose hip soup! I feel shy about it but, it was good!

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Check out this entertaining article and recipe for Nyponsoppa I found.

http://www.cakehead.com/archives/2008/04/sweden_more_tha_1.html
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Drying and Storing Rosehips

Here is a step by step guide using a food dehydrator
to store Rosehips for a year. Also drying Rosehips
in the sun or with an oven at 140° is said to work as well. People often store dried Rosehips in paper bags. Avoid aluminum, aluminum foil etc.

http://www.eatweeds.co.uk/how-to-dry-store-rose-hips-rosa-canina

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Roses have been with us a long time.
This is a beautiful, in depth article on the history of roses and rose products and use over the centuries. It also has information on Rosehips further into the article and also rose recipes.

Dog rose or Rosa canina

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Above image from this site:
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/roses-18.html

And, here is a Native American Salteaux Legend about wild roses and how the rose learned to defend itself.

http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/WhyWildRosesHaveThorns-Salteaux.html

Plants have much to teach us. What are your personal stories and experiences with roses and rose hips? I hope you feel inspired to try Rosehips.
Thankyou for taking this journey with me. Rosehips are rather new to me but when I think back to my days as a child at the ocean, turns out I’ve known them a long while afterall. And, that makes me smile.

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And, favorite views of roses at the ocean.

A Forager’s Poetry and Art Collage.

“Choucroute.” “Kismet.” “Sunflower.” “Pepper Cakes.” “Redbud.” “Trouble.” “Not Only Words.” “A Prayer to Persephone.” “Floured.” “Jellyfish.” “Fiction.” “dna.”
“I can’t say it all.” Alkaline.”
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“Choucroute.”

choucroute.
Sauerkraut.
Please improve
the immunity of my gut.
Wilted leaves
And salt Crushed
Then rushed Into a jar.
I want to add you
To my repertoire.
Spice you up
And spread you
Out with my fork.
To inspect
Your funky fermentation
Then eat you.

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“Kismet.”

Kismet
A kiss of sound Went whoosh
through The vocal chords
Of my progenitor’s DNA

It tastes like blueberries now
A kismet melancholy
That tastes sweet Over cheered
Yet ready To stomp out hate
from my muddied feet

But, mud is a happy flood
That swallows Doubt and bitter roots
and connects me Oroboris like
To the first spring

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“Sunflower”

Courting
The likeness
Of a flower

In a pot
Of boiling water
Seeking the sun
Each petal a ray
Each bubble of water
Hot transformed
Becomes an air seed

Swallowing
The mid pregnant
Seed of an equinox
Swimming toward the solstice
Of the sun

Adding the fourth sister
Of sunflower
To the belly
Of my gardens

How many brothers and sisters
Of the sun
Onandaga
Your creation myth
Was not given
To me by
Tongues at birth

I am a sister
of the corazón of the stars
Wearing a tinsel crown
Siblings are we many

Always I want to crush
Petals
Yellow like flames
And decorate my face
Like our closest
Star
Soleil

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“Pepper Cakes.”

Cupcakes,
frosting, all things gooey,
sugary instead of stars dying
and nuclear casseroles and tousled eggs…
just cookies but mostly cakes,
spray pepper pastries
for brutal cops yet again cakes,
layers, non pareils,
and sheer apparel

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“Redbud.”

Oklahoma, a shimmering light catches purple blossoms
infused with the slightest blush of pale
crimson.

You come forward as if to greet me.
Fluttering your bouquets at the side of the road.
I am rushing
past.

If I were walking I could have.
But not to destroy a stem
in a selfish folly.
Last days of frost.
A green hued sunrise.

Not an omen so much as
a surprise.

I’ve seen more sunsets than sunrise.
But,
I’m not studying.

Just in the rush
I want to remember the purple
flower.

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“Trouble.”

trouble wanes moonlike
personified splash of light
a quick shyness sought

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“Not Only Words.”

I soften
the stillness is not static
it reaches

a school of fishes swims
I hear your voice
like sun

that polishes

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“A Prayer to Persephone.”

Epiphanies for Persephone’s
epitaph to dark wintry days,
Return the light and be jewelled.

Be born like a star piercing
the heavy blanket of night.
Be nourished and feel warm.

Joy remains undoused like stars that guide
Our journey to herald the dawn.

We bathe by the lavish light of the sun
The pomegranate heart of Persephone.
Returns us from night
And we are grateful for that wing.

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“Floured.”

Scraped
Blended
Rubbed
through mesh
to remove
the husk

Strained
Mashed
Boiled
To eat the starch

Floured

Pounded
Kneaded
Folded

Rested

Stored

Stretched
Shaped
Fried
And baked

Taken
Repeated
Reclaimed

Salted
Sugared
Slathered
Traded
Cooled
Filled
Topped

Tinned
Cut
Jarred
Sometimes soured
Dried
Broken

Opened
And
Eaten

Digested
Eliminated
Integrated
Given
Shared
Loved
Passed
Down

Favored
Savored

Disgusted
Or pleasured

Reminiscent
Or triggered

what
you
take
in
and
can
be
taken.

what
can’t
be
taken.

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“Jellyfish.”

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“Fiction.”

I haven’t
read enough fiction
to understand the
type

I haven’t
seen enough entries
to know my
catalogue

I don’t
drink enough lemon
to soothe my bitter
liver

Soon I will be barren gladly too, iron in the dock.

Taking up
room in the house of my uterus
and read

my personals again

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(The photo taken in Portland, Oregon library)

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“dna.”

dna dna like. dinah what is your name.
the perfect number
1951
using your dna after. you body gone.

little round up monsters
little birth babies
should have had your
love your scorn your roundup of
consent
territory body. flagged.
roundup the pretty dna.

thief by knife.

eating mutants being mutants.
how much do i want
wings to fly?

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“I can’t say it all.”

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Alkaline

rushing
by a dense grove.

almond pickers arrive
in rows with
deft harvesters’ hands.

a dip in a pass
and we are gone. All the while.

I am cooking this scene
with a small pan.

and I read:

1. Simmer flurry of a minute
until a reduced liquid.

2. Reduce to a candied vinegar.

3. a condiment
to go with.
a yellow ochre pallette
that rises above
pavement
workers

Datura

Haunting deep green
white and white and pink and trumpets.
You call to the night
Message givers.
You listen to prayers and secrets
You reap joy from a happy harvest season
And its Workers.
You. Armslengths away from the almond trees
You. Grow like shrubs.
The round tops of umbrellas.
You. Are nightshade in the day
And You. Are contrast.

the only poem I might
think to write

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Morningstar

You whiz past in your daycab
Hauling red-orange plum tomatoes
In your trailer
What friends have filled for $25.
Four hour shifts
Wake-up the driver
Times three in a day
Twenty years ago
and your trailers look the same.

songs on the radio
are
filled with
dust and almonds.

Lost tomatoes against the curb

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