Just one photo today, of Gallant Soldiers (Galinsoga parviflora, NL Kaal knopkruid) in a crack at the local garage (where we took our car to get the golfball hailstone dents taken out). I certainly would advise anyone against harvesting from such a location, as it’s sure to be polluted but it certainly is a nice example of this edible plant. Gallant Soldiers seems to be everywhere at the moment so if you develop a taste for it, you certainly won’t go hungry.
It was apparently brought to the UK Kew Gardens from Peru, in 1798 and made a very successful break for freedom. It has since become a garden weed throughout Europe and much effort is put into weeding it out. However it is edible and tasty, it’s used to spice up a particular potato & chicken soup called Ajiaco, in Colombia and I intend to try it out this weekend. The only problem for me being that each time I see it, it’s growing in quite dirty locations. It’s obviously quite a survivor! Here’s a recipe which seems to be fairly authentic, although it does use stock cubes. The herb they name as Guascas is Gallant Soldiers.
As I was searching for more uses of the plant I found this treasure trove of a website. Scroll through the list of herbs to find out African uses. Gallant soldiers is apparently a known wound herb in Kenya. Pound the leaves and stem, squeeze the juice onto the wound.