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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.

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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