|| Can I eat it?!
|| Is it Medicinal?
|| How does it help my garden?
|| What can it tell me about my soil?
||– Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked (remove prickles first)- rhizomes, stems, and roots can be peeled and eaten raw or steamed (like asparagus)- Leaves can be rolled up to smash the spines.- Source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals
– Young spring shoots are considered most tasty – a delicacy in Scotland!
– Use in salads, throw it in your green smoothie for extra nutrients, bake in a lasagna, try out Thistle chips, etc.
|– Infusions and extracts of root were used for mouth diseases, infections, and a general health tonic.- Leaves can be chewed to relieve tooth aches or sore throats due to anti-inflammatory properties
||– An excellent source of nectar and pollen for honey bees (and given that they grow easily in poor soil, they do well in attracting pollinators to areas that need them!)
– Miner plant
– It’s incredibly deep roots help break up subsoil
– Roots bring up iron, in particular
|– Balance*- Indicates heavier, compacted soils
– Indicates dry soils
|– Roots contain inulin, an indigestible starch, so may cause bloating/gas- The thistle became the national symbol of Scotland after a Norwegian arm mounted a surprise attack, taking off their shoes to quietly cross the fields – their resulting cries of pain alerted defenders.
– In Norse mythology, the thistle is the lightening plant – those who wore it were protected by Thor, God of thunder.- “I pick them in quantity when the plant is under 1 foot tall, then rinse them to remove dirt and bugs. I find that rinsing (under a stream of water) tends to disable the prickles to a noticeable extent. I cut the plant’s stem with scissors via gloved hands, but rinse the leaves with bare hands. Then I cook them in water or stock (the latter is tastier) and the prickles are fully disabled”
|Purple Dead Nettle
||– Leaves, stem, and flowers are all edible- Very nutritious, high in iron, vitamins, and fiber- Eaten as raw green, or cooked
– Best collected when in flower for fresh eating- Make a tea, sweetened with honey
– Salads, stir-fry, pesto,
|– Bruised fresh leaves can be used to staunch wounds/cuts
– Used as a complimentary treatment for controlling and reducing allergies!
– They are significantly anti-inflammatory, and pain-reducing(inhibits the release of the hormone prostagladin-2, the main mediator for inflammation in allergies and chronic inflammatory conditions)- Has a range of antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
– Natural source of immune system building Vitamin C- Concentrated tea can be a laxative
|– Important nectar and pollen plants for bees, as they arrive in early spring (have been known as “bee nettle”)
||– Balance*- prefers moist, well-drained soil
– Will grow just about anywhere!- Typically indicates less nutritious and shadier areas
|– Consult your doctor before combing purple dead nettle with prescription medications- A beautiful plant! Use in flower bouquets an enjoy their bright colours and purple shine!- called ‘deadnettle’ in reference to the fact that they are not a stinging nettle
||– Delicious lemon taste!
– Used directly in cooking, salads, sauces, and soups
– Used across the globe
– Stewed leaves are popular with lamb and pork
– Used as a garnish
– Can be used to curdle cheese
– Provides flavour with it’s tartness
– Chop finely and cook on salmon
– Make a lemony cordial, champagne, or wine with the leaves
|– Anti-inflammatory agent
– Immune system booster
– Has been used in treatment for cancer, fever, and scurvy
– Vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E and K
– Can help reduce inflammation and pain in sinusitis
– Tannins in the plant help decrease mucus production
– Can be used to quench thirst
|– Brings up calcium and phosphorus, mineralize that alkalinize the soil
– Indicates acidic, low lime soil (pH below 7.0)
|– EXCESSIVE use may lead to kidney stones if one is prone to them, due to high amounts of oxalic acid
– Generally recommended children/breast-feeding women avoid this herb, due to lack of research
– Called “azeda” in Portugal, meaning “sour”
||– Was used as a main salad ingredient and pot herb in Europe- Older gout leaves are often cooked with cheese (think, spinach and artichoke dip? Gout and artichoke dip!)
– In Northwest Germany, Gout is made into grune suppe, or green soup
– Leaves eaten raw or cooked can have a tangy taste- For best taste, harvest before it flowers
– Use anywhere you’d use spinach
– This tends to be a love it or hate it plant, when it comes to taste! Give it a try!
|– All parts are a diuretic
– Has been used to treat rheumatism, arthritis, and bladder disorders- People consumed and externally used gout, crushing the root and holding it at the join to fight the sickness gout
– Stimulates digestion and metabolism
– Good Source of Vit. C and A, iron, manganese, copper, and trace minerals such as boron and titanium
|– Acts as a good ground cover plant
– Part of the umbellifer family, which are great pollinators!
|– Will indicate that your soil with healthy moisture levels
|– The veins of Gout weed leaf ends at the tip of a tooth on the underside of the leaf. Toxic hemlocks have veins that end between the teeth.- The genus, Aegopodium, is from the Greek words “agios” meaning goat, and “podion” which means little foot – the leaf shape resembles a little goat foot!
– RHIZOMES ARE NOT EDIBLE
– A good early season green
|Bindweed/ Morning Glory
– Steam the stalks
– In Turkey, leaves are used like spinach
|– Long known for its properties to purify and cleanse the body and calm the mind
– Works to eliminate toxins/heavy metals from your body- A rich source of compounds such as tropine, aspartic acid, alanine, etc.- Indigenous Peoples used it as an antidote to spider bites
– It exhibits actions similar to anti-diabetic mediations, checking blood sugar levels
– Flowers are believed to exhibit antibacterial and antifungal properties
– Treating stress; can be used to soothe and calm mind and nerves
– Research is being conducted on Bindweed and fighting cancer tumors
– A strong purgative
|– Can be used to purify and make cultivable chemical-laden, and overly used agricultural land (get rid of those pesticides, heavy metals, etc in your soil!)
– Specifically works well to eradicate chromium, copper, and cadmium from the soil
– works to restore the fertility and balance of the soil
– Acts similar to nitrogen-fixing plants, enhancing soil fertility
– Excellent ground cover plant
– Roots contain minerals that are returned to the soil when decomposing
– Attracts pollinators
|– It thrives in nitrogen-rich areas, hence indicating high-nitrogen soil (a result of chemical fertilizers or natural causes)
– Indicates poor drainage, often hard soil with a crusty surface
– Grows in neglected areas, does not like cultivated soil
|– Strong twining vine can be used for weaving or making good rope
(stems were commonly used as pack rope for carrying bird and marmots home after hunting)
– A green dye can be made from the whole plant
– Brought for medicinal and ornamental values
– Many European superstitions about the plant: if a young woman picks the flowers of Field bindweed, the object of her affections will die. If you pick the flowers there will be a thunder storm – often called “thunder flower” for this reason.
– Whole plant produces a green dye
||– Leaves have been used as a cooked green, boiled or as a pot herb
– Flower petals eaten in salads- Typically more bitter taste
– Flower buds eaten in sandwiches, soups, stews,
– Pickle and use flower buds or green shoots like capers!
– It was a medieval delicacy to have a salad of young leaves with sorrel leaves and dandelion
– Flowers, before opening give a pleasant taste similar to that of walnut
|– Leaves are especially rich in Vitamin C in early spring (comparable to that of lemons!)- Infusion of leaves can make a mosquito repellent
– In folk medicine, flowers are macerated in water to make a cough remedy
– Daisy preparations have been used to help heal wounds, and treat bruises
– Slows bleeding
– Tea has been used to treat asthma and whooping cough
|– Attracts pollinators- Popular with honeybees and hoverflies
||– Loves well-drained soil – often indicate drier soil
– Tends to thrive in low nutrient soils – grows in ‘worn out’ soils
– Low tolerance for shade, so indicates highly sunny areas- Enjoys more neutral soils
|– ‘Daisy’ is from ‘Day’s Eye’, meaning open only during the day- A daisy is not a flower but an inflorescence, being composed of many, tiny flowers, yellow, arranged in a flower head or floral disc
– Can be used to make a yellow dye
– Christianity told this flower came from the tears of Mary Magdalene- Found everywhere on Earth except Antarctica
– Introduced intentionally as an ornamental and accidentally imported
– Use in flower bouquets!
– In the Middle Ages, the knight who wore two daisies on his shield was the “Lady’s” choice. If a woman wore a crown of daisies, it meant she had not yet chosen her suitor.
||– Dandelion tea- Flowers make wine, cordial
– Leaves, flowers, and roots are all edible
– Can have a slightly bitter flavour, which is lessened by spring or fall harvest
– Cooking lessens bitter flavour
– Leaves / flowers make great addition to salads- Milk of the stem is incredibly bitter!
– Eat fresh, In food preparations, dried, in teas or other beverages, dried, crushed and used in capsules for health benefits, etc
– Roast and grind the roots as a coffee-like substitute
– Dandelion ice cream
|– Rich source of beta-carotene (we convert into Vit A)
– Source of Fiber, Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Phosphorus, and more!
– Contains more protein than spinach
– Has been used to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression
– Acts as a mild laxative that promotes digestion
– Stimulates appetite- Balances the beneficial bacteria in the intestines
– A diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt, and excess water
– Has been shown to remove liver toxins
– Rich in antioxidants
– Helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels
– Contains fatty acids and phytonutrients
that reduce inflammation in the body (relieves pain and swelling)
– Tea to treat upset stomach
– A spring tonic, after lack of vitamins in the winter- A one cup serving has as much calcium as half a glass of milk- More nutritious that most of the veggies in your garden!
|– Miner plant (excess numbers are typically a sign of nutrient-lacking soil)
– A pollinator plant – early spring flower
– Strong roots loosen hard-packed soil, allowing other plants to grow there more easily
– Roots aerate the earth, and reduce erosion
– They are natural fertilizers!
– If left alone, a plant can live for years, with the root growing deeper and deeper, up to 15 feet even! Imagine the wonderful nutrients being brought up for your other plants to enjoy!
– Roots in particular bring up calcium and iron
|– Require sun and disturbed soils – where they grow, is likely to have good access to sunshine, and have a history of human disturbance- Typically indicates heavier, clay-y, compacted, acidic soil (however, true, will grow just about anywhere!)- Thrive in ‘sour’ acidic soil (pH below 7.0)
|– Those allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion- Early colonists brought the dandelion to America from Europe- ‘Dandelion’ comes from the French ‘Dent de Lion’, meaning “lion’s tooth” – referring to the jagged points on the leaves reminding you of sharp lions teeth
– The French grow dandelions to eat as we would grow lettuce in our garden- Best flavoured dandelions are those not cut often – instead look for those where the grass grows long and freely
– Best time to gather is before the last frost of spring, before the flower blooms – the further in their lifestage, the more bitter they are
– Believed to be some of the oldest plants on the planet – have found fossils dating back 30 million years ago
– Have been used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and Chinese traditional medicines
– Famous for their beauty – a common subject for poetry!
– a one-inch bit of dandelion can grow a new dandelion
– They are among the most expensive items in the grocery store!
||– Try clover flowers sprinkled over rice, or cooked in soy sauce
– White clover is not as nutritious or flavorful as red, but just as edible!
– Every bit, from blossom to root, is edible, though flowers are the most tasty.
– Have a clover flower tea
– Pan roast the flowers until crispy
– Young leaves are good to supplement salads raw (1/2 cup or so)
– Older leaves should be cooked
– Typically seen as a ‘survival food’, as aside from the flower, it’s not particularly tasty, so why not add to a smoothie or soup pot to get their nutrients instead?
– Use leaves like spinach when cooked
– dried seed pods and flowers can be ground into powder and used as a flour
– dried leaves can add a vanilla flavour to baking
|– Flowers are high in protein
– has beta carotene, vitamin C, most of the B vitamins, and more
– Red clover is more nutritious than white
– Red clover is a good source of calcium, chromium, magnesium niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine
|– Obtains nitrogen from the air and fixes it into the soil when decomposed into it
– An excellent ground cover crop
– Brings lots of bees as a pollinator! (So many that in the US clover is legally discouraged in lawns and people might get stung from the bees. “Frankly, I think we need less lawyers than less clover.”
|– Indicates low fertility soil, low nitrogen levels
– Indicates sunny areas and typically moist soils- Red clover indicates high potassium
|– Clover is a member of the pea family, and its blossom is actually a bunch of little pea-like blossoms, called “wings and keels”
– Clover grows essentially everywhere in the world
– Careful if you are commonly allergic to plants.
– NEVER FERMENT AND EAT ANY PART OF IT. Either completely fresh, or completely dried. If too warm in climate, or in fermentation, can produce small amounts of cyanide.- Dried leaves have hint of vanilla aroma- Has much folklore and religious symbolism
– Remember to look for those four leaf clovers!