I caught the bus to work this morning and was able to check out my usual Fat Hen (Lamb’s Quarters, Chenopodium album) and Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) collection spot. Here it is, a few days post council mowing. Fortunately there are lots of intact Mugwort plants in adjacent unmowed areas but the Fat Hen is no more. I’ll keep my eyes open for another patch of them as I really enjoy their flavour.
Here is poisonous White Bryony (Bryonia alba), flowering faintly as it grows over a hearty looking Bramble. I didn’t have much time for photos today so thought I’d look up the uses of White Bryony in one of my favorite old herbals – Mrs M. Grieve’s Modern Herbal. The link above is from a useful online version of that book. It was used historically as a purgative for people, cattle and horses. It is a powerful irritant and cathartic, i.e. it makes people throw up very violently and is not a plant to be dabbled with. I love the reference in the book to scoundrels of old, digging up the roots and placing them in moulds to allow them to grow into imitation Mandrake roots. If only their modern day counterparts had that much skill with plants! I really like the look of this plant and if I didn’t have a child or cat in my home I’d probably harvest some and use it in some way, but certainly not internally. All parts of the plant are poisonous.