Today, two new arrivals for 365 Frankendael…
Red clover is starting to bloom in the park. At least today is the first day I have noticed it. Unfortunately the huge clover area next to Restaurant de Kas was cleared for some purpose, this spring so that won’t be available for harvesting but it is present in many other places and is very easy to identify. The blossoms are harvested for most remedies and a red clover infusion is easy to make. The blossoms also dry well.
Koninginnenkruid in Dutch, Hemp Agrimony, in English, (Euphatorium cannabium) is an interesting herb which I have only really noticed here in the Amsterdam canals but it is also prolific elsewhere. It’s a very tall plant, up to about 1.5m at it’s peak in mid summer, bearing quite attractive fluffy looking pale pink flowers and leaves which are a little like those of hemp (hence the English name). It has numerous historic uses, ranging from preventing bread from going moldy, as an infusion to spring cleanse the body and prevent scurvy, to fight off colds and flu and my favourite… to help Dutch people who had jaundice accompanied by swollen feet.
However if you are suffering from such a complaint, think twice before racing off to a local patch of this herb. Hemp agrimony contains a highly volatile oil which has been found to stress the liver and even cause cancer so much caution is advised. Hemp Agrimony is considered toxic these days. The plant does smell quite pleasant when cut so this year I intend to try it in some home decorations. Here’s a patch growing beside still water in Park Frankendael. You can see the dried stems from last summer, towering above the new foliage and suggesting how tall this perennial will grow over the next few weeks.