Very early this morning I was out tasting dew that had collected in this Teasel’s “water cup”, the part of the leaf that joins the stem. There had been a heavy morning mist over most of Amsterdam but by the time I got to the park it had been burned through by the midsummer Sun. This Teasel (Dipsacus sp.) had quite a lot of water stored in it’s “cups” or “traps” this morning. There are different ideas about why the plants are adapted in this way. Some think that the cup shaped leaf joints serve the purpose of trapping insects, perhaps to prevent them climbing the plant, perhaps which the Teasel then somehow digests and absorbs. The trap/cup which I chose was high up, fresh and insect free. The water within it tasted delicious and set me up for the rest of my cycle. Teasel is increasingly valued as a useful herb to help counter the effects of Lyme’s disease.
Next is the beautiful, if unextravegant, flower head of a small Mugwort plant (Artemisia vulgaris). This plant really is my Midsummer favourite. So many uses, so common, so inconspicuous to most, so tasty and so much interesting associated folklore. This plant grows as a welcome weed, beside a park planted tree. Just notice the moon-like silvery grey undersides of the leaves. A beautiful contrast to the dark green upper sides.
Lastly today is Brassica oleracea, Wild Cabbage. Yes, it tastes of cabbage! No need to harvest the whole plant though, this one is good as a cut and come again plant – cutt a leaf off now and again throughout it’s season. Very tasty and convenient!