365 Frankendael day 57

Firstly today a poisonous member of the Nightshade family, which I have seen for the first time this year, today in Park Frankendael. It is called Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) And if you know what potato and tomato plants look like (also in the Nightshade family) then hopefully you will easily recognize this plant when you see it. Unbeleivably I found the tomato like fruits of related and extremely poisonous Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) on Thursday, growing on display in Beatrix Park’s beautiful herb garden. It is labelled poisonous, in Dutch, but I’m sure that young tomato loving children may not understand that sign. It isn’t labelled with the plant name, perhaps to avoid Harry Potter fans and the like, from recognising the name and sampling it. It was wonderful to see the plant in real life and up close, but very worrying none the less. I wonder if the volunteer herb gardeners wear ear protection when they dig up the Mandrake roots? If love to meet the gardener there with an interest in such plants.

Here’s Bittersweet in Frankendael…

Here’s the Beatrix Park Mandrake…

On the topic of interesting park management decisions, I returned to the patch of Pellitory, in Frankendael today. It has been strimmed down to the ground. I photographed it a couple of weeks ago and it has not yet set seed. Perhaps it was managed to prevent it spreading too much. Sure enough it does grow quite successfully in this part of the park and it certainly bounces back each year from this sort of management. It also reminds me that when I worry about harvesting from parks, at least I use what I harvest.

Here is Ground Elder, ripe for foraging today:

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