Blog Archives

Clammy Ground Cherry and the Wilding Way

image

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)

image

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…

image

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

image

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

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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!

image

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…

image

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’

image

image

patterns of the caper family.

I just love this plant, Cleome!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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

image

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

image

Verbena, what a Healer!

tips on making salves

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

image

image

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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.”

image

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

Here are more pictures of the Clammy Ground Cherry!

image

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

clammy ground cherry!

native american medicinal use

image

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

image

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!

image

image

image

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!

image

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!

image

Clammy Ground Cherry you have guided my way!

image

Keepin on Nature Hiking

Advertisements

Amaranth the Immortal Green and Grain!

image

Story of a plant and how it helped me find its name.

Amaranth. I found you. You let me find you.
I remember. Looking intently at plants growing near a field of corn in the plains area just west of Denver, Colorado.

You were in the ditches near the field.
Alongside the road that tractors drive on.
Where we walked our dog.

Pigweed is the name that threw me off from you. Hard to latch onto, although pigs have good taste!

I thought the green, spikey cluster of flowers at the top could tip me off that it was, indeed, you.

But the leaves, the stem… the overall characteristics of you, Amaranth.
Wild, green leaved Amaranth.
Was something.
I still was not sure.
Like mistaken identity.
Or a case of amnesia where all I have is a picture to go by
with no name.

image

It took me over a year of meanderings.
And leavetakings. Learning other plants which made my acquaintance before…

I found you on the upper banks along the foot and bicycle path of the Santa Fe river where I was walking.
A frequent walk which helped me notice you enough to wake up my sleeping vision and actually see you!

image

(Patch of Amaranth in foreground on bank of river)

image

(Just a week ago water was rushing through this riverbed. It was bone dry when I took the photo only to rush with water, just a few hours later. Rain from the mountain top making its way down. Perhaps over a course of days…)

The fertile banks of the river.
That is where you greeted me and lead me to understand your introduction. Where I finally learned to meet you. To see you for what you are. Amaranth the immortal green and grain.

image

(In this location grows near the yellow flowered plant. Looks similar but only one is the edible, healing Amaranth!)

Grateful Harvest
near the riverbed

image

(Can you see the top Amaranth leaf pointing to a patch of Mullein across the Riverbed?)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

This green, (as it is called in Nigeria. Green!)…
made its patient and hearty introduction to me again.

image

As silly as this may sound?… plants have a way of helping me find them.

To understand, admire and observe them.
In essence, teaching me by name.

Thankyou Amaranth!

image

image

Amaranthus retroflexus
Green Amaranth
Nicknames: Red root pigweed, red-root amaranth, common amaranth, pigweed amaranth, and common tumbleweed.

plant info

Amaranth word origins are from the Greek Amarantos which means unfading.
It is believed to have derived from Sanskrit. The Sanskrit word Amar means eternal…unfading.

More word origin here:
“”Amaranth” derives from Greek μάραντος [3] (amarantos), “unfading,” with the Greek word for “flower,” νθος (anthos), factoring into the word’s development as “amaranth.” The more accurate “amarant” is an archaic variant. Also, it has to be mentioned the Greek word amarantos is in fact derived from ancient Indian language Sanskrit and the meaning of the word is immortal immortal.”

word origin source

Amaranth, given its Sanskrit roots, in India today; Amaranth greens and grain are still a popular food source.

image

Red root

image

Stems can be green, tannish green, red, pinkish green

image

image

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Aztec Use of Amaranth

image

Aztec art and sculpture

Image source and Aztec Culture

“In ancient Mesoamerica, amaranth seeds were commonly used. The Aztec/Mexica cultivated large quantities of amaranth and it was also used as form of tribute payment.

Amaranth’s name in Nahuatl was huauhtli.

Among the Aztecs, amaranth flour was used to make baked images of their patron deity, Huitzilopochtli, especially during the festival called Panquetzaliztli, which means “raising banners”. During these ceremonies, amaranth dough figurines of Huitzilopochtli were carried around in processions and then divided up among the population…

Cultivation of amaranth decreased and almost disappeared in Colonial times, under the Spanish rule. The Spanish banished the crop because of its religious importance and use in ceremonies.”

Aztec use of Amaranth and quoted source.

But Amaranth survived on the outskirts of Aztec civilization. Thanks to the Aztec people who, perhaps at great risk, saved Amaranth seeds!

Manataka American Indian Council Articles on Amaranth

……..xxxxx…………xxxxxx…………..xxxxx………………..xxxx………………xxx

AMARANTH Some characteristics of identification:

For Amaranthus retroflexus

*Be certain for each type of Amaranth plant as there are 60 – 70 species out there! Although some(not all) characteristics for plant species are consistent.

As always, be certain of what plant you are foraging! Bring an expert. Seek expert advice!

image

This is a general guide for identifying
Amaranthus retroflexus
* (see above)

.Red root
.Alternating leaves
.Long petiole (leaf stem)
.Leaves can be diamond shaped, lanceolate, oval and often pointed,
.Leaves may be notched when young
.Smaller leaves, higher up on stem
.Leaves can have a slightly wavy edge
.Leaf like growth at stem joints
.Shiny underside of leaf also is white veined.
.These veins are prominent
.Green bristly flower spikes
.Stems can be red, green or pinkish green
.Flower spikes can also form at joints of stems as well
and can surround central, top flower spike.
.Can be branched plant
.Grows in roadsides, disturbed areas, fields, gardens… .Even in arroyos… see end of post 🙂
.Grows to 3 feet on average

image

image

illustration credit. Info about plant

amaranth memory course

image

photo credit

Amaranth Traditional Day of the Dead Skulls

comprehensive plant info

image

Nutrition of Amaranth Leaves per 1 Cup Serving.

Vitamin K 267%, Vitamin C 21%, Manganese 13%, Calcium 7%, Magnesium 5%, Folate 6%… and other nutrients.

wow that’s a lot of Vitamin K!

nutrition chart

Medicinal Uses:

“Astringent.

A tea made from the leaves is astringent[222]. It is used in the treatment of profuse menstruation, intestinal bleeding, diarrhoea etc[222, 238, 257]. An infusion has been used to treat hoarseness[257].”

Source

image

image

Prominent veins on underside of leaf appear white.

image

http://extension.psu.edu/pests/weeds/weed-id/redroot-pigweed

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

How to make Cheera Thoran.

I foraged a nice bunch of Amaranth leaves and made a simple dish of greens with them along with some community garden greens. (Amaranth was also growing in the garden!)

I was inspired by the cheera Thoran recipes but the process was more of a whimsical concoction.

The recipes I saw said to use oil and heat up mustard seeds until they pop.
I used 3 tbsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp black mustard seed
Then added one half chopped red onion
2tbsp ground coriander, stir
Sauteé
Then add chopped amaranth leaves
Chopped swiss chard
And a little chopped kale
Also quite nice is a couple of sprigs mint chopped and sauteéd.
Sautee all for a few minutes
All recipes suggest… Do not add water

We loved our vegetable dish and ate it as an antipasta first course.

Veggies including Amaranth leaves and black mustard seed.

image

Chopped Amaranth leaves

image

Our yummy antipasta dish! Similar to Cheera Thoran.

image

Terri holds in sunlight for view!

image
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I just found a wonderful site about Amaranth!

Amaranth grows in Nigeria. In the site link below, I am sure you can recognize an Amaranth leaf in a yummy pan of greens!

I learned from this site that… “It is known in Yoruba as efo tete or arowo jeja… (meaning ‘we have money left over for fish.’ “)

These yummy greens certainly compliment fish and can be foraged or available in markets in Nigeria!

efo tete or arowo jeja greens recipe!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Amaranth Seed

I am very excited by this product by Bob’s Red Mill.
Amaranth seed! Can’t wait to pop it and make popped Amaranth and honey Day of the Dead skulls!

image

Also on the back is a recipe for Alegría that I will share with you here! Alegría mean Happiness in Spanish! And, is a celebration food during the Day of the Dead.

Alegría

pop it!

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Also I made Chocolate Atolé from the following recipe and I will show you how!

Chocolate Amaranth Atole!

Inspired and basic recipe from Versagrain
Chocolate Atolé recipe posted above!

Option: dry roast flour in pan for a few minutes on low to medium heat. Careful not to burn.
Amaranth flour has a green almost grassy taste but tones down a bit when dry roasted. Also the cacao/chocolate adds to the overall blend of flavors!
…note… I did not dry roast the Amaranth flour and really enjoyed the Chocolate Atolé flavor!

Ingredients:

1/2 C Amaranth Flour
5 C milk or water. (I used 4 C almond milk and 1 C water
3 ounces chopped Unsweetened Cacao
(or unsweetened chocolate)
1/4 C coconut sugar
1 stick cinnamon
2 tsp Vanilla extract

Heat milk until warm/hot not simmering yet.
Add Amaranth flour teaspoon by teaspoon
Whisk constantly to incorporate
When flour all whisked in…
Let thicken a bit
Add sugar…whisk to blend completely
Add one stick cinammon
2 tsp vanilla

For cacao or chocolate chop 3 oz add to mixture when pulled off the heat. Stir until dissolved

We added some raspberries to garnish. A sprig of mint would be nice and I think mint herb water would be nice for the liquid!

Here are some pictures of our Amaranth Atolé fun!

image

image

Chop the cacao or chocolate (unsweetened)

image

Heat milk until warm/hot

image

Add flour bit by bit whisk whole time. It helped to have someone else to whisk!

image

Add cinnamon stick

image

Add sugar whisk to incorporate fully

image

Add 2 tsp vanilla and whisk in

***Take mixture off heat before adding chocolate!***

image

Add chocolate bit by bit

image

Whisk

image

image

Keep melting by whisking…

image

Enjoy!

image

image

image

image

image

image

Atolé maker!

image

and me too!

Atolé what a treat and everyday a celebration!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

image

Amaranth can be difficult to distinguish exactly what species of Amaranth it is… even for more seasoned plant observers… Factors such as hybridization, juvenile plant, cotyledon (beginning growth from seedling,) male/female plant all factor in. Also, what stage of growth you are acquainted with identifying can make other factors stand out with an opportunity for learning or doubt.

Accurate foraging takes time and I did not forage from this last group of observed plants.

I am not exactly sure what type of Amaranth plants these set of pictures are (including the one just above) although these plants closely resemble the Amaranthus retroflexus…

Hmmm more studying to do!

🙂

….. ….. ….. …… ….. ….. ….. ….. …..

Nonetheless, I want to show you these beautiful plants which match the criteria for Amaranth species as a whole. In this case… alternating leaves, growth at joints, white veins underneath, bristly green flower spike, long petiole…

Left side of picture… Amaranth from a view in the arroyo

image

A small grouping of Amaranth in a 100 foot area

image

image

image

image

image

image

In the beautiful arroyo

image

botany glossary

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!

image

now some science…

Pinus edulis
Piñon pine
Family: Pinaceae

image

image

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!

image

image

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.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

image

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

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

image

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

image

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

image

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!

image

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

image

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!

image

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!

image

photo credit

More about the
Zia people and the Zia symbol here.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
image

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.

image

image

image

image

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.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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

image

image

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

image

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

image

4. Add to water for tea

image

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

image

6. Enjoy

image

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!

image

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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].”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Thankyou for joining me on this foraging adventure!

image

Amidst the Pines…Nearby cactus with fruit!

image

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Rosehips Along the Oregon Trail!

image

This image and more about compass rose.

And a quick sketch in my journal

image

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.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

*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!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

image

image

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.)

image

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.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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!

image

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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

image

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Rosehips Along the Oregon Trail

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

image

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

image

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.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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!

image

image

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

image

a brief and healing visit to the ocean.

……………………………………………….

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!…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

NUTRITION OF ROSE HIPS

image

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

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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.***

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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

image

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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!

image

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

image

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! 🙂

image

image

Rosehip seeds and fibers

image

image

Boil the outer fruit skin… the hypanthium 🙂

image

And boil

Then strain and mash and boil the mash

image

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!

image

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

http://www.cakehead.com/archives/2008/04/sweden_more_tha_1.html
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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

image

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.

image

And, favorite views of roses at the ocean.

Rumex crispus a.k.a. Curly Dock or Yellow Dock. It’s all Wild Buckwheat!

image

Yellow dock/Curly dock
with green leaves, new green seeds and rust/red colored mature seeds.

Rumex crispus
Plant Family:
Polygonaceae
Common names: Curly Dock, Yellow Dock, Yaller Dock, Sour Dock, Narrowleaf Dock, Curled Dock
Many species of Rumex exist.

Grows throughout U.S.
Originally from Europe and North Africa and West Asia. Has naturalized in many places of the world.

* * * * * * * * * * *…………………………………………………………………………………..
Caution: The word dock is a nickname for two Very Different Plants.
Here is my post about Burdock
The roots have much different effects.
Both have medicinal effects. Whereas burdock can be used as a vegetable and yellow dock/curly dock cannot be eaten in large quantities due to undesired/dangerous gastronomical effects!

*I am not an expert. A happy enthusiast for sure! Please seek expert advice when foraging foods!*

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Back to Rumex crispusCurly dock/Yellow dock

See USDA database:
http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=RUCR

And throughout the world:
from source:
http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=1652&lang=EN

Geographical range Native range: Africa; temperate and tropical Asia, India and Europe (USDA-ARS, 2010). Known introduced range: Continental Asia, Japan, North and South America, North and South Africa,Australia and New Zealand (USDA-ARS, 2010).

Additional Sources:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumex_crispus

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+crispus

image

rumex leaves early fall/late summer

field of red/rust seed heads:

image

Perennial Plant
Grows to 2 to 5 feet tall
Seeds are viable in soil for 80+/- years
Can produce 29,000 seeds per plant
Habitat: Sides of Roads, Ditches, Fields, Meadows, Gardens, Woodlands, Grassy areas, Agricultural areas, Pastures

Can grow in sandy, loamy or heavy clay soils

Edible Parts: Leaves, Seeds

***Toxic to horses, cattle, sheep and poultry***
*caution needed for animals

Medicinal parts: Roots and to varying degrees leaves and seeds

Look alikes:
Red Sorrel in the Buckwheat family.

I definitely want to look for and forage this lovely plant in the same family as Curly Dock!

Common Name: Sheeps Sorrel
*Is Edible
Has characteristic arrow head shaped leaves
See links below for more information:

http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/singlerecord.asp?id=250

Image from above site.

Red Sorrel Leaf:

image

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+acetosella

Leaves are important identifiers. In this case, Rumex crispus leaves have a curly wavy edge.

image

(Although Red Sorrel and Curly Dock are both edible…leaves are good distinguishers. Seeds are both shiny and brown. Getting sure with identification is essential and can save you from harm!)

With other Rumex species it may be better to distinguish between the fruit/seeds pattern of clumps of seeds too.

*Here is an informative site with leaf patterns of other docks:

http://returntonature.us/stalking-the-curly-dock-rumex-crispus/

Try learning one plant at a time really well. This may mean you will be learning about a lot of other plants that way…by comparing and distinguishing.

This is how I got acquainted with Red Sorrel!

Here is a picture of the Rumex crispus/Curly Dock leaves with newly mature rust brown seeds in mid July Wyoming.

image

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

IDENTIFICATION:
See Plant Photos
Confirm with Field Guide/expert

-Grows from a basal set of leaves
-Leaves are smooth with a distinctive wavy and curly edge
-Lanceolate leaves are long and taper off

-It flowers June through October
southern hemisphere: (summer through mid fall)

-***Seeds ripen July through October.
Southern hemisphere: (Mid summer through mid fall)

-Seeds are rust colored, large long clusters of seeds.Triangulate and small. Become crimson rust colored when drying/dried out.

-Reproduces most by seed.

Foraging Tips:And Some Good Basics about Rumex crispus.

-Avoid areas near agricultural areas because of fertilizer and/or herbicide run-off.
-Avoid areas that look brown or dead compared to other green areas. This can indicate use of toxic herbicide
-Avoid areas with too much exhaust or pollutants

-*Mullein (see my post on Mullein) is a good soil indicator. When its long stalk is crooked or bent it often indicates soil pollution.
-Check on what Mullein looks like if it is nearby where you are foraging. Straight stalk is a good sign.
Still check for other signs of pollutants.

-When composting/discarding remnants consider volunteers that may grow
Toxic to horses, cattle, sheep, poultry and perhaps other animals.

-do not completely strip stalk it propagates mainly by seed unless you need to rid it of your land,
(might as well harvest.)
-*Also flowers and seeds/plant is habitat to many butterfly species and other wildlife.

-harvest spring leaves
-learn to identify leaves and fruit/seeds of plant you wish to harvest
-new leaves in spring often emerge at base of previous year’s stalks
-Be sure to harvest that year’s seeds.
Older stalks and seeds can stand for a year or more. May be moldy, too weathered, ridden with insects, etc.

-It is an oxalate food so consume in moderation

-New leaves have mucilaginous and slimy surface underneath leaf in spring. This can help with identification.

-The root is a yellow, large taproot which can fork off.
-Seeds are surrounded by calyx of flower and green when new and reddish brown when mature.

-Has many medicinal uses. Seek professional assistance with use.

-Please see medicinal use and cautionary notes at end of post:

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Getting to Know You

After a number of months researching and asking questions to myself and others…I finally wild harvested some Curly Dock!

Here is a fun art query I made about curly dock. Reaching out to any friends on facebook who might know what this plant was that had me so intrigued. A friend of mine thought it might be sorghum. It is unclear to tell from the picture. But, Rumex crispus it is! 🙂

image
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

STORY OF PLACE.

EACH PLACE HAS A STORY. AND THE STORIES ARE INNUMERABLE DEPENDING ON THE TELLER AND THE TOLD. HERE IS ONE STORY OF CURLY DOCK
AND WHERE IT FOUND ITS PLACE.

Finally, after a lot of researching I discovered the mystery plant was Curly Dock or Yellow Dock as it is also known. I had heard of Yellow Dock’s medicinal uses. Funny how powerful it can be to recognize a plant and then realize you knew of healing uses of the plant all along. But, what good would that use be when foraging wild foods/medicinal herbs if one could not properly identify it?

Well, my time finally came.

image

Rumex crispus…where to begin?
I have been fascinated with the rust-red seeds on dried stalks as we dash down the highway for quite a few months now, if not years!

Often by ditches, sides of roads or fields. Growing together wild. Often as if sown in a row.

The color of Rumex crispus changes. When the seed first emerges it is green.

image

Then it matures to a red-rust color.

***The following picture was taken in early spring and from a plant that already matured previously. Not suitable for foraging at this stage.

From previous year’s growth.
They are beautiful and easy to identify at this stage.

image

It gave me the frequent impression of being a grain.
image

image

Greener seeds earlier in the season

image

image

image

The idea of foraging a grain felt so satisfying.  Like a precursor to the advent of domestic agriculture. 
Foraging in favorite spots or telling areas that often yield curly dock.

Curly dock seeds
image

Save some for sowing along trails you frequent year to year.  Make flour from the seeds.  Grow some in your garden! Even eat raw when hiking along.

Rumex crispus a.k.a. Curly dock or Yellow dock is a perennial.  A welcome friend to see.  It is a rich food source and healing herb.

It is buckwheat! Wild buckwheat, in fact!

After a lot of research and hunches and taking photos of the curly dock I came across…it was when I was in Wyoming at Elk Mountain in the Medicine Bow Range where I first foraged the Curly dock.

Unfortunately, or maybe appropriately, my camera was acting up that day so I do not have pictures of the stone circle/tipi ring that was nearby the stand of Curly dock.
*Scratch that! Several weeks later, I got a second time through. The sun was bright and I had trouble seeing but I got some images of the stone circle tipi ring!

Here is the curve of the ring:
image

And, here is the stone circle tipi ring.

image

(More info on stone circles North America)

http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/AAMonth/Poster.aspx?ID=8

It felt like a special place. Wyoming has spectacular views and a stone circle reminds me of people who lived thousands of years before. Waking up and living next to and admiring the same view of mountains that I was enjoying that one beautiful July day.

With Curly dock nearby…I wondered. I am not a botanist but, still… my imagination can be far reaching and without knowing for sure, my curiosity and imagination still wandered.

Curly dock is a perennial. It comes back year after year. Could I be harvesting from the same stands/offsprings of curly dock that grew all those thousands of years ago. I know this sounds hokey.

But, the simplest most plain of things can be the most profound. A perennial returns from the same source. Year after year. Perennial plants fascinate me and provide that link through time. Just as we are all connected to our ancestors from times past.
And stone circles and perennial plants reflect to us a continuance!

Annual plants are connected to predecessors over time as are perennials. It just seems more hit or miss. Or is it? Some annual plants have a quarter million seeds or more per plant like purslane does. So the purslane carries on just fine. Nevermind that the seeds can last decades! Time traveler! 🙂 Like plants we are all connected to our ancestors from times past.

At this stone circle site, did the people here also forage curly dock? It is likely because it has a longstanding history of use by original peoples of North America.

Also, I had a hunch that stone circles remain from dwellings not just in North America. Stone circles have also been found all over the world. Some being connected to portable dwellings, while others are significant as religious or ceremonial sites. Signifying respect. A stone left unturned could be the next story to come along.

(Here is some interesting information on the history of architecture and stone rings worldwide plus other use of stone:)
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/plaintexthistories.asp?historyid=ab27

Here is info on annuals, perennials, biennials and frost tender perennials.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/wildseed/growing/annual.html

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

NUTRITION of Rumex crispus
a.k.a. Curly Dock/Yellow Dock

*Minerals: calcium, phosphorus, iron
*Vitamins: A, C, Thiamine, Riboflavin,

*Contains Protein

Additionally from this source:

http://eattheinvaders.org/blue-plate-special-curly-dock/
(Excellent site)

Among its nutritional components, John Kallas (2010) explains, “Curly dock leaves are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and zinc” and the seeds are “rich in calcium and fiber while low in protein and fat.”

FOOD USES of CURLY DOCK and HULLING SEEDS:

When to Harvest Curly Dock:

*Something I have observed is that Curly Dock is a perennial so its beautiful crimson/rust seed heads can last well into the next growing seasons.

They are usually missing leaves (identifiers) at this stage. In some regions this stalk could be a few years old. The stalk will look brown and dried out and hollow. The seeds can still be attached…but will not be as fresh and more prone to mold, insects, etc.

So look for stalks/seeds that have just matured in the summer to early fall.

The basal leaves are usually gone but you will notice leaves will still remain on stalk and if early enough in the mature season for harvesting seeds…leaves will still remain near the base.

The pictures I have posted of the rust colored seeds also still have live leaves visible. See pictures below:

image

image

The leaves are best young in the spring time.
They can be used in salads or boiled/prepared as a green.

Eat in moderation. The leaves and perhaps other parts of the plant are high in oxalic acid.

Boiling leaves in multiple changes of water may help to reduce oxalic acid.

*Oxalic acid is common in many foods such as: beets, swiss chard, broccoli, etc.
But,anyone with kidney problems/stones or urinary tract problems should be careful with eating oxalate foods.

Some sources such as livestrong.com mention that adding citrus to oxalate foods may decrease oxalic acid effects but it is not conclusive.

Eat in moderation or avoid oxalate foods if a health condition indicates so.
Seek medical advice if concern exists.

The seeds can be eaten raw, roasted, ground into a flour, hulled and ground into a flour, boiled and also prepared/eaten with outer husks. Just consider there will be extra fiber in your meal!

The seeds are small and may be difficult to hull.

Some people suggest dry roasting mature seeds in a pan and rubbing away the heat dried husk. Between your hands or with a rolling pin…and then blow or use a light fan or breeze to whisk the husk chaff away from the seed.

I found this post on a comment thread that looked like a helpful way to remove the husk from the seed.

TIPS ON HULLING SEEDS:

Post by: Mike Fitzugh, on Jun 26, 2013 17:08:41

Get some aluminum window screen from the hardware store. (Fiberglass screen is what most modern window screens are made of and I think it’s too flimsy for this project, but maybe you can get it to work). Staple TWO LAYERS of this screen very tightly across a rectangular wooden frame. You want the screen taught enough so that the two screen layers are lying right next to each other. Note the point of doubling the screen thickness is to make the gap or holes in the screen effectively smaller (when layered) so, make sure the holes in the two layers are offset from each other when stapling.

Place this frame over a pan, cookie sheet, the ground–or wherever you want to catch the chaff. Now take 1/4 cup of VERY DRY dock seeds and put them in the middle of the screen frame. Rub the seeds back and forth across the screen with your fingers. Very quickly the chaff will fall through the gaps in the screen leaving the seeds on top. Brush the seeds off the top of the frame into a dish or bag. Voila! Separated seeds!

You might need to experiment with the dock seeds from your particular part of the world (or the screen size from your particular hardware store). In my climate (mountain, high desert) the dock seeds are quite small and fall through the gaps in the screen along with the chaff unless I double-layer the screen. …But even in that case (a single layer screen), the seeds that fall through are easily recovered by winnowing as described by Jon above. The rubbing of the seeds on the screen turns the chaff into a very fine dust which is easily blown away.

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Recipe ideas and Recipes!

DO YOU LIKE GALLETE?

image

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

🙂

Personally, I want to make Curly Dock flour and make Gallete. (I am looking to find a suribachi to use for grinding the dock seeds.) Gallete is a French crepe traditionally made with buckwheat.

And Curly Dock is wild buckwheat. I look forward to this culinary adventure. And, will keep you posted!

image

Here is an interesting recipe for
Curly dock/Yellow dock Seed Crackers.

Use a blender/spice mill or mortar and pestle/suribachi to grind seeds too!

(Store extra dry dock seed flour in a jar, and whole seeds in a paper bag.)

Mix together :

one cup of dock seed flour

one teaspoon of salt

and one cup flour of your choice. (My favorites are whole-wheat pastry flour and rye flour.)

Mix in enough water to make pliable, but not sticky dough.

On a well-floured surface, roll dough as thin as possible. Cut into desired shapes or transfer it whole to a well-oiled cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 -12 minutes at 375 O or until crisp.

From this great site:

http://www.natureskills.com/wild-foods/yellow-dock-recipe/

What about Curly Dock Pancakes? Folks from this site have a great recipe! Some of the recipe is measured out in grams. (Site for gram:ounce conversion below pancake recipe site)

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/miscellaneous/mobile.php?rid=misc-curly-dock-seed-flour-pancakes

http://www.chefdecuisine.com/chef/converscal.php
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Have You Ever Thought of Making Your Own Bitters for Club Soda or Alcoholic Drinks?

Check this out!

Yellow dock a.k.a. Curly dock is listed as well as other roots and herbs.

Bartenders and Enthusiasts alike are creating their own bitters.

Here is a recipe!

http://herbidea.com/begin-with-bitters/

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

MEDICINAL USES:

Source:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+crispus

***(Please Consult a Health/Herbal Professional When Using Curly Dock medicinally.)

Alterative; Antiscorbutic; Astringent; Cancer; Cholagogue; Depurative; Homeopathy; Laxative; Poultice; Salve; Tonic.

Curly dock has a long history of domestic herbal use. It is a gentle and safe laxative, less powerful than rhubarb in its action so it is particularly useful in the treatment of mild constipation[254]. The plant has valuable cleansing properties and is useful for treating a wide range of skin problems[254]. All parts of the plant can be used, though the root is most active medicinally. The root is alterative, antiscorbutic, astringent, cholagogue, depurative, laxative and mildly tonic[4, 21, 46, 94, 165]. It used to be sold as a tonic and laxative[212]. It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present[222]. It is used internally in the treatment of constipation, diarrhoea, piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases[4, 238, 257]. Externally, the root can be mashed and used as a poultice and salve, or dried and used as a dusting powder, on sores, ulcers, wounds and various other skin problems[257]. The root has been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer, being used as an alterative and tonic[4]. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use[4]. Some caution is advised in its use since excess doses can cause gastric disturbance, nausea and dermatitis[222, 238]. The seed is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[4, 218]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root, harvested in the autumn before frost has touched the plant[232]. It is only used in the treatment of a specific type of cough[232]. Other Uses Compost; Dye.

For Dyes:

Yellow, dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots. They do not need a mordant[168]. An alternative ingredient of ‘QR’ herbal compost activator[32]. (is it the flowers?) This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost[K].

*Here is a comprehensive site about healing uses of Curly/Yellow Dock. Also information on when to harvest the root and what year plant to harvest roots from. (Harvest in fall…)
See following site for more info on medicinal uses of root and the plant.

http://www.indianmirror.com/ayurveda/yellow-dock.html

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Thankyou for joining me on an exploration.
From stone circle tipi rings…near where I first harvested Curly Dock…a circular path like the perennial nature of Rumex crispus. Knowledge is best layered with experience and I am still learning. In this way knowledge is like a branch that reaches back and forth. Now between me and you and I am grateful!

image

Common Mallow, Malva neglecta Equals Foraging Fun!

Malva neglecta
Common Mallow
Malvaceae family
Nicknames: Cheeseweed, Dwarf Mallow, Round Mallow, Cheese Plant
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

***important…please do not confuse Common Mallow with the Common Carolina Geranium Weed. The geranium weed has more deeply dissected leaves but these two can be easily confused!***

Please note image of the Carolina Geranium weed in the following site:

http://www.msuturfweeds.net/details/_/carolina_geranium_12/#weeddetail
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
More about Common Mallow
Malva neglecta

Annual/Biennial
Habitat: grows in areas where
soil has been disturbed:

Vacant lots
Yards
Fields
Sides of roads
Cultivated fields
Likes sandy soil
Can grow in clay
or loamy soil
Likes full sunlight
Can do partial shade
Can grow with some dampness in soil
Prefers well drained soil
*Drought Tolerant

Can grow up to 2 feet tall
Flowers June-September
All parts including roots are edible

The following site is comprehensive and gives information on planting, pollination, avoiding nitrates, hardiness zones, where it grows in the world, etc.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Malva+neglecta

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Underside of common mallow leaf:
image

These are all my photos. A happy endeavor and a learning reference tool also! Please bring a good field guide or forager who knows!

*Some people have confused ground ivy with common mallow!*
Some ground ivy smells like mint.
And, the edible ground ivy is in the mint family.

This is ground Ivy!

image

Some ground ivy is edible*** but not all ground cover is edible.***

Here are sites on edible ground ivy

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Glechoma%20hederacea

http://www.eattheweeds.com/ground-ivy/

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Now back to Common Mallow:

image

TRADITIONAL USE

According to http://www.livestrong.com:

Historians have traced Malva neglecta’s use as a vegetable back almost 3,000 years. The ancients used leaves and shoots as cooking greens and salad ingredients, while the seeds were used to accent dishes or as snacks. The plant’s traditional medicinal uses included soothing skin rashes and easing coughs. It was also used to reduce inflammation in the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.

image

Not far away from this plant was this beautiful bridge above the Snake River.

image

INSIGHT AND REFLECTIONS:

I found the common mallow about 3 miles away from the Snake River Gorge in Idaho. This bridge and shadow forms an ellipse. A path that brings you back. After an orbit of other experiences. Like a marker in time. It helps me reflect upon the fact that the common mallow was the first edible/medicinal weed I learned about on this journey of documenting wild plants. It caught my interest as I was web surfing wild edible and medicinal plants. I posted it on facebook to share with others. I had found a helpful site…all about common mallow. Malva neglecta. I wanted to share an interesting site. That event was a marker for me. A few months later, I started writing and researching and photographing wild edibles myself. I started the blog that you are reading now. Malva neglecta took me on a journey. An elliptical one. Like an orbit. I am changed now since I first posted an internet site about common mallow. Because, it caught my interest then. And, now I have first hand experience looking for, researching and eating mallow as a wild edible. I have come around the ellipse changed. And, malva neglecta got me there. Waiting for me to turn the bend around the ellipse to find it in real space and time.

I am learning a lot about wild edibles. Documenting and photographing plants when and where I can. I am an enthusiast and a student as I go. I research as much as I can.

I wonder too, about the qualities each plant contains. Common mallow is mucilaginous and soothing. It helps with stomach upset. It soothes skin abrasians and heals skin wounds. It is common. It is found many places in the world. It has been a food during times of starvation. It is nutrient rich and is related to such beautiful plants as hollyhock and the beautiful Rose of Sharon. Even jute leaves are edible. The mallow family has taught me a lot and I have only just begun.

I did an art and poetry piece about common mallow: Malva neglecta. Reflecting on what I have learned about the plant and how it reflects some learning in my life.

image

So learning about plants and wild edibles and medicinal edibles means you get to “get real” about the experience. So, the next day after locating some and photographing it, I picked some common mallow for the first time. I wonder how many of my ancestors foraged for mallow too? I was excited about foraging. It did not look like an area that had experienced run off from farms or other pollutants. Common mallow can absorb nitrates from contaminated soil so some caution here is warranted.
But, it looked like a good foraging area to me so I went and picked some.

I tried some common mallow along with young lettuce leaves. What I noticed is that soon after I picked it the mallow wilted quickly.

image

I have limited refrigeration as I travel so I put the mallow in a bowl with a bit of water to keep it from wilting too much. I harvested at noon so the noon heat in Idaho in July may have contributed to the wilting. When I took the mallow out later they had absorbed the water and looked perky again.

I harvested the small wheels of fruit which people say look a lot like small wheels of cheese. I foraged the flowers, flower buds, stems and leaves too.
I boiled them for just a few minutes. They were delightful tasting. They could easily substitute or be mixed with spinach either raw or cooked.
I had a very favorable experience foraging Malva neglecta. I hope you do too!

(On a cautionary note here is some information about nitrates:)

http://www.livestrong.com/article/283850-why-is-sodium-nitrate-bad-for-you/

…………………………………………………………………………………………

While learning about foraging and wild edibles and medicinal plants, I really enjoy and appreciate this perspective by Susun Weed:

http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Malvaceae-family.htm

“Let’s focus on the Malvaceae family for a moment. One of my favorite ways of learning — and teaching — about plants is through their families. Each plant family is a group of plants that has the same flower chacteristics. Interestingly enough, the plants in a family frequently have the similar actions and uses. Learning about a plant family, rather than just one plant, not only helps you identify more plants, it gives you an idea of how to use them.”

HEALING PROPERTIES and FOOD USE:

Also according to Susun Weed:

“Virtually all parts of the mallows have been eaten or used as medicine including the fresh leaves, dried leaves, fresh roots, dried roots, and both green and ripe seeds.

The primary effect of most mallows is to soothe and heal mucus surfaces. Overheated respiratory, digestive, reproductive, and urinary systems especially benefit.

The mucilage present in the roots and seeds, and to a lesser degree the leaves, can help ease and heal irritations and infections such as sore throats, acid indigestion, stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, bronchitis, chronic coughs, badder infections, interstitial cystitis, colds, and dry mouth. Some sources find mallow medicine helpful for those with diabetes, painful periods, and lack of menstruation.”

The mallow family includes beautiful, edible, medicinal, and useful plants such as hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, hollyhock, marshmallow, okra, jute, and cotton. (Cotton is not edible)

Susun Weed also describes mallow’s benefits including malva neglecta:

Excellent for “healing and relieving the pain of cuts, scrapes, boils, bruises, swellings, and stings…
I (Susun Weed) especially likes mixing chopped fresh hibiscus or mallow leaves with honey and applying this to my eyelids to relieve tired, sore, dry eyes. Works great as a facial, too!”

I found the following site and cited text very helpful.

http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/plants-c/bio414/species%20pages/malva%20neglecta.htm

“Uses Commonly used as a demulcent or emollient (7). Stems and leaves can be made as a poultice to relive pain and inflammation (7). Tea is pleasant tasting, good for sore throats and tonsillitis(7). Traditionally drunk in New Mexico for facilitation of labor and as a wash for skin irritations in infants (7). The tea can also help indigestion, stomach sensitivity, and can be gargled for cough relief (8). Entire plant has been boiled and eaten esp. used in soups; flowers are more pleasant in taste (2). Flowers are popularly eaten after being pickled (2). Leaves and young fruits have been used in salads (2).”

TRADITIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN USE:

Source: http://montana.plant-life.org/species/malva_neglec.htm

“The Cherokee Indians put the flowers in oil and mixed them with tallow for use on sores. The Iroquois Indians made a compound infusion of plants applied as poultice to swellings of all kinds, and for broken bones. They also applied it to babies’ swollen stomach or sore back. The Mahuna Indians used the plant for painful congestions of the stomach. The Navajo, Ramah Indians made a cold infusion of plants taken and used as a lotion for injuries or swellings. The plant is also an excellent laxative for young children.”

“Other Uses: Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. The root has been used as a toothbrush.”
(The roots can be untwisted and dried to make a brush.)

http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/flowers/m.html

*Sap from the leaves, called ~mucilage~ can treat bites and stings.
*Mallow makes a weavable fiber…useful fiber

“The flowers were used formerly on May Day by country people for strewing before their doors and weaving into garlands. Musk mallow, was also used to decorate the graves of friends.”

NUTRITIONAL QUALITIES:

According to this Source: http://www.squidoo.com/malva

Mallows contain:
-Vitamin C
-Vitamin A
-Calcium
-Magnesium
-Potassium
-Iron
-Selenium

I have a treasured reference. A book I refer to often and have with me whenever I need to look at something or gain more information about a plant or how or when to forage, etc. This is it.

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

Here are guidelines and information from this reference. P. 146

FOOD USES AND PREPARATION:

Eat malva fruits raw
*Boiled root water can be a vegan
Substitute for meringue!
Strain roots also
Sweeten liquid
Boil until thick
Beat and drop spoonfuls on waxed paper and cool to make a candy. Roll in confectioner’s sugar

Fry boiled rootslices in butter
And ch. onion until browned

The whole plant contains mucilagelike material

Leaves can be eaten like spinach raw or cooked

Use in soups as a thickener

Flowers and fruit and seeds are edible
Along with stems, leaves and roots

Flower buds are good pickled and most likely fruit too.

……………………………………………………………………………………….

I hope that you enjoy foraging for Malva neglecta! Common mallow is a commmon wonderful edible and/or medicinal weed! Enjoy!

image

Wild Prickly Lettuce. The love of Aphrodite and the death of Adonis.

Lactuca serriola
Wild Prickly Lettuce
An annual plant
or biennial plant
-It can grow to over 6 feet in height
-found in fields, disturbed sites such as roadsides,
vacant lots
-Originally a plant from Europe. Originating first
In Eurasia.

image

Wild prickly lettuce going to seed.

***Use a good field guide to identify plants. Forage with someone who knows.***

I often refer to:
Edible Wild Plants. By Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman. Sterlingpublishing.com
*Plus I research numerable other sources…please do the same.*
********************************************

Wild Prickly Lettuce on the side of the road in Idaho
image
image

Well, our semi-trailer truck broke down. A great spill of oil from our engine. A deplorable event for the immediate environment and for our day. Wouldn’t you know it? We broke down to the closest town. Bliss, Idaho.

Once we sussed out what was going on. Put the emergency triangles out. Made calls to emergency repair trucks (who ended up ripping us off for $300,) got the pets comfortable, made calls, sipped on water in the difficult heat with no AC…made lunch to fuel our reservoir of energy for dealing and enduring what became a 9 hour or longer wait by the side of the road, made more calls, waited twice for tow trucks that didn’t come, had our hopes dashed when one of the tow trucks forgot to bring required equipment. Tried to navigate our options. Finally in the late evening we got towed to the Freightliner 50 or so miles away. Cha-ching what a day.

Amidst all this chaos and lapses in the heat. I couldn’t help but admire the wild prickly lettuce greeting me assuredly from the side of the road. The name of my blog is wildlettucegal…I knew eventually, sooner than later, I would have amassed that lovely combo of timing, information, inspiration to write and the opportunities to inspect and photograph the lettuce.

I even wrote a blog about the road breakdown but, I deleted it. It lacked the oomph. I needed to tap into the tipping point of inspiration. And, today, two days later…I have found it.

As a child I was happily feverish about reading Greek and Roman mythology. I would spend hours, especially, reading about Odysseus or Ulysses. Other myths fascinated me. Medusa fascinated/terrified me. Images of her snake filled crown devastated my ability to sleep at night. The age of nine is when I distinctly remember flipping through a book on Greek mythology…only to be transfixed by her graphic image. Beheaded no less.

Needless to say I could have benefitted from wild lettuce’s soporific, dream inducing qualities. Being nine was a bad year for insomnia. That’s when I saw clips from the exorcist. Cinema’s graphic and gorey cinematic mythology. I did not sleep much at the age of nine.

I now have a tattoo of Medusa on my arm. When I started painting 15 years ago…Medusa was my first series of paintings. Somewhere during that series I remembered an image of myself at the age of nine flipping through a Greek mythology book and spotting the image of Medusa for the first time. I’m glad I took the art route around that one.

image

So, as you may now understand, in my quirky sense of jubilance…and even current interest in mythology old and new, I was thrilled to learn the mythology connected to wild prickly lettuce.

According to Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactuca_serriola

The lovely, passionate and triumphant goddess Aphrodite had put to final rest the lovely mortal Adonis who was slain by a boar.

She was transfixed by this beautiful mortal and grieved of his loss.

Aphrodite laid Adonis to rest on a bed of wild lettuce.

Sappho is also known to write and account this myth.

(Wild lettuce has a connection to the world of the dead and I wonder if it is its soporific qualities which provides this kind of mythological link. The dreamworld perhaps being a portal to the world of the dead. Or perhaps a closer realm?)

The Egyptian god Min is also associated with wild prickly lettuce.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_(god)

The ancient greeks believed the juice of the plant was good for eye ulcers.
The Navajo use it as a ceremonial emetic.
It has a reputation as being calming and sleep inducing for insomniacs. It is even said to have mild opiate qualities.

Even today wild prickly lettuce is eaten in Crete. A variety of Maroula or agrimaroulo is eaten boiled. Culinary traditions remain to this day.

I’ve never tried it for anything other than an edible wild food but wouldn’t mind its calming effect either.
Similar to purslane which contains lithium. I like when food helps me feel better. But, I’m not recommending an overuse of the plant.

The plant seems to have a built in mechanism for overuse. Eating too many leaves causes stomach upset. And the seeds contain some tannins.

*For those of you interested in the healing aspects and indications of wild lettuce…here is a helpful site.

http://www.herbalextractsplus.com/wild-lettuce.html

*Also, here is a comprehensive page about Wild Lettuce which also distinguishes it from
Lactuca virosa

Wikipedia describes Lactuca virosa as well:

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

Here is a picture of Lactuca virosa

image
This image is from the following source:
© Br. Alfred Brousseau, Saint Mary’s College. Permission to use is granted freely to not-for-profit organizations and for a per-image fee for commercial use. Contact Prof. R. P. Olowin at St. Mary’s College rpolowin@stmarys-ca.edu for more information.

And it is used medicinally and/or as a mild psychotropic but is not my focus here and has a wide range of historical use, but, not necessarily as wild edible. There are also a lot of side effects to its use. But, I wanted to include it here so as to distinguish it from the wild edible Lactuca serriola

Back to and in regard to Lactuca serriola

*I like the harvesting ethics outlined by Merriweather

http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/08/foraging-ethics.html

NUTRITION AND HARVESTING TIPS:

*Lactuca serriola a.k.a. wild prickly lettuce is an annual or biennial plant so leave some plants to reproduce by seed.
*according to Elias and Dykeman: Leaf shapes can vary and can be multilobed/with points and/or oval oblong. Leaves are toothed and spiny along margin and main vein under leaf and the lower leaf surface.Proper identification is crucial.*
*I’ve read that older leaves are slightly toxic
*According to Merriweather,when the wild prickly lettuce plant flowers it is said to be inedible.
*Harvest young leaves they are the most tender
*Best to harvest from plants under 8 inches.
*older/larger leaves can be eaten when boiled
*Edible during spring and summer before the plant flowers or is in seed
*the spines on back of middle vein of leaf are usually soft enough to be eaten when the leaves are small.
*the spines on leaves do not tear clothing or injure
skin. But gloves may be useful re: sap, etc.
*leaves can be boiled as a pot green.

image
This tasted good with boiled greens just 2 or 3 minutes added to pasta. 🙂

Herbalextractsplus.com sites these NUTRITIONAL qualities also:
When dried, the leaves produce a milky latex substance called lactucarium, which is used in herbal medicine. Some of the constituents in Wild Lettuce include the important milky latex substance (lactucarium), sesquiterpene lactones ( lactucopicrin), caoutchouc, mannitol, lactucin, fiber, coumarins and valuable minerals and vitamins.

Beneficial Uses: Wild Lettuce is considered a mild sedative herb.

ADDITIONAL NUTRITION:
Contains vitamin A, B and minerals

*I agree with Merriweather and only harvest one or two leaves per plant. I also consider how many plants are in the area I am harvesting from. Also look at the plant and harvest in such a way as not to kill the plant if you can.

Here is a picture of a young plant:
image
And here is a couple of pictures featuring the spines on back vein of a leaf:

image
image

Wikipedia describes:
It is known as the compass plant because in the sun the upper leaves twist round to hold their margins upright. [3]

image

Here are some new flowers emerging. I was happy to find these.

image

image

And here is a picture of wild prickly lettuce when it is a bit larger
image
Flowers developing:
image
And flowers sprouted out on long stems from the top
image
And a closeup view of flower buds
image
The leaves have a bit of a firm texture. Even the new leaves. The prickles on main vein of back of leaf are edible when new leaves are raw.

I thought the leaves would be good in a salad.
I tasted them raw and un-garnished and they do have a bitter aftertaste. But, I enjoyed them.
image
I also harvest 1 or 2 leaves per plant to avoid over-harvesting. I grasp the leaf and carefully strip it from the stalk. Another forager taught me this tip. You can see the ends on the leaves above were harvested this way rather than being sheered off.

image

image

Milky sap after pinching the top leaves off… were bitter when eaten raw…

You may want to wear gloves because the sap was milky. This may cause irritation to skin and it was sticky.

More on Mythology and Cultural Accounts of use of Wild Prickly Lettuce that inspired me to write this blog are these entries:

I found this on Mesocosm.net

a Sumerian poem about lettuce

Lettuce is My Hair

My hair is lettuce, [planted] by the water,
It is gukkal-lettuce, [planted] by the water….
My attendant arranges it,
The attendant arranges my hair which is lettuce, the most-favored of plants.
The brother brought me into his life-giving gaze,
Shu-Sin has called me to (his) refreshing …. without [end].
[…]
You are our lord, you are our lord,
Silver (and) lapis lazuli – you are our lord,
Farmer who makes the grain stand high, – you are our lord,
For him who is the honey of my eye, who is the lettuce of my heart,
May the days of life come forth…..
It is a balbale of Inanna.

Translated by S. N. Kramer, from the indispensable volume
Pritchard JB (ed.), Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. Princeton University Press. 1969.

***And, finally I found this wonderful site on plants in mythology and have excerpted their info on Prickly Lettuce here:

http://www.theoi.com/Flora1.html

LETTUCE, PRICKLY

Greek : Thridax
Species : Lactuca serriola
Description : The ancient Greeks cultivated the wild prickly lettuce. The plant has tall stalks with elongated leaves, yellow flowers and feathery seeds. The ball-shaped lettuce of today is a derivitive species (Lactuca sativa).
Sacred to : Aphrodite (the plant was associated with impotency)
Mythology : Death of Adonis. Adonis was a handsome youth loved by the goddess Aphrodite. He was slain by a wild boar in a bed of lettuce, or was laid out amongst the plants by the goddess following his death. The lettuce was therefore regarded as the plant of the death of love, and so of impotency. Others say that the baby Adonis was hidden in a lettuce bed by the goddess following his birth from the trunk of the tree Myrrha. (Source: Athenaeus)

Death of Adonis by Peter Paul Rubens
Death of Adonis by Luca Giordano
Aphrodite and Adonis, Attic red-figurearyballos-shaped lekythos by Aison, ca. 410 BC,Louvre.

Purslane: Has Many Names and Grows All Over the World

Portulaca oleracea

I knew I would be writing about Purslane soon.  Plants and herbs have a way of calling me to them.
I had been researching purslane along with yellow dock, wild lettuce and so on.  But, I knew purslane had its day with me.  Living on the semi-trailer truck…it was the first plant I saw in the morning and when I arrived in the evening…there it was waiting for me when I got there.  To bid me a sweet night.

Purslane has many ties all over the world.

Its Persian name is Khorfeh.  Its North Indian name is Luni-bhaji.  Ghandi is said to have eaten it and he called it Luni.  It is said that Purslane originated in India, although it is a global plant now.  In Hebrew it is known as Regelah which means foot…because purslane grows underfoot and close to the ground. 
(Above information: See economictimes.indiatimes website below)

I had fun finding words for purslane in languages other than English. And, if anyone else knows some I’ll add them here!

هيبرعلا Arabic word for Purslane

This is Purslane in Chinese.
马齿苋
Mǎ chǐ xiàn

Baqli in Turkish

Armenian is koi’korak, later dandur’

mboga ya pwani in Swahili

портулак
or
portulak
purslane in Russian

In Spanish it is known as Verdilacas or Yerba Orate meaning crazy plant because for how it grows out in all directions.

http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/onmyplate/entry/little-luxuries-purslane-india-s

About the name in English:
http://www.behindthename.com/submit/name/purslane

Purslane probably has as many names as languages and if this is an exaggeration then consider that Purslane grows on every continent except antarctica.  It is an annual which produces a prolific amount of seeds per plant, 240,000 seeds per plant!

image

image

image

image

Portulaca oleracea is its scientific name.
It belongs to the family of Portulacaceae.

In English alone, it goes by:  purslane, pussly, pigweed, pusley, hogweed or duckweed and perhaps others I have not heard as yet.  Perhaps affectionate nicknames exist although purslane has also been deemed an annoyance by some.

Purslane was considered a common food in the U.S. until a few generations or so ago. It appears to be making a comeback as it grows almost anywhere and foraging is making a comeback! It is not just being tossed out of people’s gardens, yards, walkways and peripheries as a nuisance but added to the menu as the fresh food for the day!

When eating a purslane salad on a rainy day. Playing scrabble at the kitchen table. The word purslane brings in a score of 10. And if you are a deft player and salad maker purslane brings its rewards!

What Conditions does it Grow in Best?

With 240,000 seeds it can be prolific and hearty. 

Purslane does well in drought conditions.  It likes sunny weather and does not do as well in shade or areas that are too damp.

It’s even been observed that if you pick purslane early in the morning it tastes more lemony and sour that way.

The leaves, stems, blooms and seeds are all edible.

How to Recognize Purslane:

From Green Deane:

“IDENTIFICATION: Smooth, reddish, mostly low-growing stems, alternate spatula leaves clustered at stem joints and ends, yellow flowers, capsule seed pods. Very fleshy. NOT HAIRY. CLEAR SAP. Those are important, not hairy, and clear sap.”
http://www.eattheweeds.com/purslane-omega-3-fatty-weed/

A lot of people say, and I agree that purslane looks like a tiny jade plant.

It has succulent leaves that are fleshy and rounded and which are tear shaped on the ends.

Purslane in flower:

image

image

New growth

image

image

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

O’kay, for the next 3 pictures, I had to add them to this post!
So, I wouldn’t forage from this trucking shipment lot…
But, I can’t help but admire how purslane will grow right out of the cracks of the concrete!

There it is. Against all odds. It really cheers me up to see the tenacity of this wonderful plant! Maybe purslane will give you encouragement too.
It does for me and it makes me smile.

Purslane, You inspire!

image
image

And it’s flowering too!

image

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

More Description of Purslane:

The leaves are medium green. Sometimes medium light green as above with purslane in flower.

It has a matte grey green color underneath often glistening with moisture sparkles

image
Its stems are succulent too and range in color from red to pink to green.  Most of my photos are of the red stemmed kind. But, also smaller stems in other foraged areas showed green and/or green with pink tinge along with red stems.

It grows out of one taproot and then into a rosette shape in all directions. 

*see photos above*

Warning:

Do not confuse Purslane with Spurge.
Here is a picture of POISONOUS SPURGE!
image
Photo from anneofgreengardens.com

*Spurge stems are thinner
  Spurge leaves are thinner
***a trick is to break the stem.  If a white milky sap comes out then that is Spurge. And Spurge is Poisonous!

*** so no milky sap means, at least, it’s not Spurge.
***It should be smooth and not hairy on stems or leaves

Always be careful when wild harvesting and go with someone who knows…and/or field guide it, etc.
http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/09/foraging-for-purslane.html?m=1

Here is a helpful site and it lists different types of Purslane.
I recommend in this blog, foraging the common purslane that blooms a small yellow, 5 petalled flower.
Check out this helpful site!

http://phoenixsurvival.com/purslane.htm

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

What does Purslane taste like?  What do I do with it?

Purslane can be eaten raw, used in soups or stirfried.

It tastes lemony and a bit like cucumber or green beans. I find it quite pleasant tasting.  Or it tastes like a hearty Wood Sorrel.  I find that like wood sorrel it leaves a pleasant taste in your mouth and feels thirst quenching.  See my post about Yellow wood sorrel too!

Purslane tastes great in a salad and can be prepared like any vegetable for stirfrying.  The succulent nature can make it nice for soups.  I would try looking up nopales recipes and combining the two.  Purslane is smaller so would take less cooking time and nopales take special preparations.  See my Homepage re: harvesting and preparing nopales.  Or buy prepared nopales from your market or Mexican market if available.

Also, a nice idea I have read is to rinse your purslane in a bowl. 
image
The seeds which are numerous per plant can be let out in a sunny dry area outside or a window box area.  Water a day or two later and every day or so…not overly wet.  Look for sprouts.  Once it grows water every day. 
When it is big enough you can start harvesting or just eat the sprouts and enjoy!

Try sauteeing it with onions, some mint and garlic!

Also, I found this great Khorfeh Salad…
Salade Khorfeh with turmeric and saffron! I am inspired check it out!
http://turmericsaffron.blogspot.com/2011/08/salade-khorfeh-shirazi-style-purslane.html?m=1

Is Purslane good for Me?  Why Should I eat Purslane?
image

First of all, Purslane has the Most Omega-3 fatty acids of any plant! And, more Omega-3 than many fish!

It is low in fat and calories.
It is a rich source of vitamin C.
It has prevented scurvy in many parts of the world.
It has many of the B vitamins including:  Riboflavin, Niacin, Piridoxine and carotenoids.
It’s an excellent source of vitamin A
Very high in vitamin E
Contains Folate and
Lithium!
It is 2.5% Protein

Additional Dietary Minerals include:
Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and Maganese! 
Also, Purslane contains 2 types of betalains. 
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/purslane.html

http://hickeryhollerfarm.blogspot.com/2012/01/accidental-strokes-of-genius.html?m=1 (feed your chickens purslane for nutritious eggs…!)

Betalains are anti-inflammatory and benefit conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.  (Nopales cactus fruit are extremely high in betalains.  See my Homepage on preparations.)

Also, wild harvesting purslane is a good idea for nutritional benefits.  It’s easy to prepare.  And, you can find purslane many places!  Purslane grows abundantly in sunny, dry soil.  And, it is easy to prepare like a salad.  Purslane grows abundantly all over the world!

A word of caution:  if you are prone to kidney stones or other problems with oxalate foods please see a health professional in regard to consuming foods with oxalates.  Purslane contains oxalates as do many vegetables, seeds, grains and fruit.  Not all but many do contain oxalates. 

I am not an expert. Merely a happy enthusiast glad to share what I have learned and discovered!

And Purslane could very well be the missing link in a lot of people’s diets today.  Wild Harvest or Grow your own.  Wild Harvest in areas free of pollutants.

And enjoy your Purslane…by whatever name you call it.  It is a global food.

Here is a poem and art piece inspired by the Persian word for Purslane:  Khorfeh!

image

image

Burdock the Edible Medicinal Root. From Burrs to Rhubarb and Back to Burdock!

Arctium minus
Common Burdock

This is Burdock!       

image

image

image

*Caution!* Sometimes the word dock is used as a nickname for Yellow dock/Curly dock as well as Burdock!
Here is my post on Curly Dock a.k.a. Yellow Dock Each plant has very different effects when used!

*I am not an expert. I am an enthusiast. Please seek expert advice and identification for all foraged plants!*

Now back to my discovery of Burdock…with some help from a friend! Phew (wipes sweat from brow!)

image

image

image

image

image

Burdock flowering

image

Identifying wild plants is serious business.  For example, I initially mistook this plant for rhubarb. WRONG!   BURDOCK it is.  Young burdock can be confused with FOXGLOVE which is deadly poisonous… so take an expert with you and a field guide too!

****Here is a helpful page to distinguish between new growth of burdock and foxglove. Check it out!

http://www.woodland-ways.co.uk/blog/wild-food-diaries/one-to-watch-out-for/

Burdock:  sometimes it is mistaken for rhubarb.  I know that well.  I had forgotten what I knew as a child.  What I had learned in the New England woods…that rhubarb likes damp soil.  Soil prone to swampiness like its plant neighbor skunk cabbage.  Known for its strong skunky odor.  I find skunk cabbage fascinating.

image

And when its roots are broken it emits the skunky odor.

But, on this day with visions of strawberry rhubarb in my head…I found BURDOCK!

I made a newbie mistake.  I found what I thought I was looking for…meaning you want to see what you are looking for…but stumbled upon an even more complex and exciting plant for me.  BURDOCK.

Embarrassingly…I posted a picture of burdock as rhubarb.  I dressed burdock up as rhubarb and I am grateful my friend Ed noticed.  Being my facebook friend, and my friend for 30 years where we met as young adults…it is fun to know we both share an active interest in wild edibles and wildflowers.

He wrote me back and said the plant looked a lot like burdock or dock as he called it.  So, I want to thank my friend for showing me the way to burdock…through a strawberry rhubarb colored door…I took a carnival door…filled with tricks in mirrors…on my discovery to the world of Edible and Medicinal BURDOCK. 
Here is a picture of my friend as a child

image

And, what I am gathering on this journey is that allies appear in life and I thank Ed for being that role for me.  And, I could see that burdock wanted me to move past sweetened stalks of rhubarb in pies and rhubarb’s poisonous leaves…to the healing edible nutrition of burdock’s roots.

So, I delved deeper.  Learning that burdock creates burrs after the flowers bloom…I remembered.

I remembered being a four year old girl and visiting a childhood friend of my mother.  This felt like a special event for the two women and I remember playing outside in the meadow like area in the back of the house.

I felt this irresistable urge to go deeper and deeper in.  Being only four at the time the weeds and wildflowers came up to my chest or higher.

Inexplicably, I kept forging a path ahead.  I even remember what I was wearing that day.  A shell pink cableknit sweater and slacks.  Usually I had a strong aversion to pink but, for some reason I really favored this sweater.

As my mom retreated into a world of reminiscences and fond reconnection with her childhood friend…I felt the tethers of my own hesitation unraveling.

There I was, deep into the middle of the weeds and it seemed stunningly and shockingly, that in an instant, unrecognizably, I was covered by sticky velcro like brown orbs.  Where my favorite outfit had been…my tenacious exploration had put me into the grasp of a completely altered physical appearance.  I had never experienced such a startling shift.

I was covered head to toe in sticky burrs.

It was then my tether to my mother twisted and braided itself back to my mother and I just hollered for her.  And, finally what seemed an infinity she came to see what my dilemma was.  And, she seemed to agree with me that I was indeed changed in appearance.  I never could get all those burrs out of that sweater.

The only photo I have of myself at that age is a family snapshot of my 2 brothers and sister and me.

image

So, seeing Ed’s picture of himself as a child reminded me that I had already met burdock.  It stands out as a unique and startling experience at how rapid transformation can be!

A lot of research about Burdock has ensued and please get “second opinions” but, what I’ve read is that the root has culinary and herbal healing value. 

Its scientific name is:  Arctium Minus
It is in the Daisy Family! Or Asteraceae Family!

In order to harvest…look for first year foliage.  Seek expert advice here.  Do not confuse FOXGLOVE with BURDOCK.

Harvest Burdock when it has formed a base of leaves but still close to the ground.  If the stalks have formed long…then it is an older plant.

image

The root is deemed the most nutritious when in the fall of its first year the energy of the plant turns back down into the roots.  The roots are dark brown on the outside and white on the inside.  And taste akin to carrots or parsnips.  Second year plant roots are woody and less nutrient rich since the burdock plant is biennial and flowers in its second year.  The root is used as energy for the plant and thereby less tasty and nutritious.

I’ve tried burdock only once and sauteed it.  It stays crunchy is what I remember.  Now I have a better idea how to harvest it. 

A popular Japanese dish called Kinpira Gobo would be a great way to try burdock.  Sauteed burdock with carrots and daikon… many recipes online!

******Here is a helpful site:*******

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/asianveg/msg0620555927082.html

What I’ve also read is that burdock is a blood purifier and removes toxins from your blood…and being diuretic in nature…you pee out the toxins. 
Hey, but remember I’m an enthusiast not an expert and just like to hand out tidbits I’ve learned! 

Thankyou for traveling with me on the carnivalesque way that burdock has greeted me throughout my life with the help of a friend and wild edible and wildflower enthusiast like myself.  Plus Ed’s a kickass gardener.  Inspiration!

Milkweed is for Monarchs and Mullein is a Soil Indicator!

Verbascum thapsus
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Common Mullein

What a Beautiful day today…travelin’ through Virginia!  So Beautiful, in fact, that I started to feel anxious! Were we ever going to stop and get out to take a closer look at all the beautiful wildflowers we were passing by.

And, passing by…is just that! I was jonesin for a closer look!  Two plants especially caught my attention.
Mullein and Milkweed.

Mullein has a fabulous stalk rushing out the top…with glorious yellow blooms! 

I’ve heard and read that mullein has many medicinal uses such as for cough, respiratory ailments.  A friend of mine even dries the leaves and smokes it to ease lung irritations!  I guess the smoke eases his symptoms.

Look at this grand mullein plant!

image

The mullein stalk, when in bloom, bears beautiful, small yellow flowers. These flowers, when infused in oil, make a good remedy for ear infections. A traditional remedy.

image

Not for use with injured ears or perforated eardrums.
Seek medical help when needed.

Here is an interesting blend of 5 leaves that can be mixed as an alternative to tobacco. Some leaves are recommended dry whereas some with some moisture still so please be sure to check it out. It is a wonderful guide written by Amy Jeanroy who I also quote further on.

http://herbgardens.about.com/od/herbrecipes/tp/What-Herbs-Can-Be-Used-For-Smoking-Mixtures.htm

Here are the 5 herbs recommended as a substitute blend for tobacco and perhaps helpful for non tobacco users as well.

-Raspberry Leaves
-Catnip
-Sage
-Lemon Balm
-Mullein

And for those of you looking for medicinal uses here is some good info.

Here is a website that has mullein uses:
http://herbgardens.about.com/od/medicinalherbs/p/Mullein.htm

I can’t resist in showing you some of the photos I captured of sensuously lusty Mullein I found today in Virginia!

Basal leaves of Mullein

image

image

image

image
Here are some old dried remaining stalks of mullein.

image

So it is the lovely Mullein that encouraged me to poke around today.  There is so much to learn and I am a passionate enthusiast of foraging.

Here is a VERY USEFUL piece of information that I have learned from Amy Jeanroy on the above posted site herbgardens.about.com (please click on link above)

I use this information and use mullein as an indicator of contamination in soil not just for mullein itself but other nearby plants. *******

****”mullein is a wonderful indicator of a soil’s contamination level. When looking for wild mullein, only harvest from straight, vigorous stalks. The crooked stalks indicate a high level of chemical contamination in the soil.”****

Mullein near the atlantic ocean, in the dunes and sand.



Here also is a wonderful site for those who are also interested in a spiritual and/or holistic view of plants. Mullein in particular. It definitely did act like a torch for me. Leading me toward it and around it. Comforting me by its familiarity and intriguing me by its extensive amount of uses. This is an inspiring, historical account and very useful site in understanding Mullein’s many useful preparations.


http://bearmedicineherbals.com/a-golden-torch-mullein%E2%80%99s-healing-light.html


And here is a species of Mullein I noticed in New Hampshire.

I had never seen one with so many flower stalks!

…………………………………………………………………………….

(above image from wikimedia commons)

Nearby the healthy, useful and beautiful mullein that I saw was the glorious common milkweed!

The nearby Milkweed was showing its beautiful blooms!

image

I was lucky enough to take some beautiful pictures of milkweed and their immature blooms and foliage today! There are many types of milkweed but, I believe, this is Asclepias syriaca.

I am concerned about butterfly habitat. I used to write about foraging the common milkweed but, encourage planting and preserving the habitat of the Monarch Butterfly instead of foraging. Milkweed is habitat for the Monarch butterfly. AND, the Monarch butterfly is in serious danger. 

So, preserving and protecting and extending their habitat and the habitat of the milkweed is my goal of emphasis for this post now.

Plant milkweed, be a part of the Monarch butterfly’s habitat and the milkweed’s. It’s that easy and fun, too.

image

image

image

Signing off for now….wildlettucegal

image