Embrace Your Weeds!

A huge thank you to Ann Doherty from City Plot and all of the enthusiastic gardeners, who joined us in Wersterpark to embrace weeds, this afternoon!

We found lots of interesting plants which can act a soil indicators, food, mulch, compost activators, medicine and much more. Some of the plants that we found, in addition to those covered in the handout, are as follows:

Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) with those amazing fused leaves which capture rain and morning dew. It shows promise as a medicine for those with Lyme’s Disease.

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This pretty brassica with large clusters of tiny white flowers could be a type of Wild Candytuft (Iberis amara). There seems to be alot of this plant in parts of Westerpark. It certainly fits the criteria for a brassica. I need to have a look at the flowers with my lens and check out the soil to confirm.

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Japanese knotweed (Polygonium cuspidatum) Japanse knopjeskruid? Invasive alien plant which is the bane of many gardeners and home owners. This edible plant has some medicinal virtues but is best eaten in small quantities due to it’s strong acidic taste. See here for a tasty desert recipe. If you have problems eating rhubarb, you’ll most likely have them with this plant too.

Not such a good photo but we found Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) in the volkstuinpark. It’s arching stems of hanging flowers are strikingly beautiful but it’s the roots that have a history as a staple food amongst some native American people.
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Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) A tasty, easy to consume geranium with medicinal virtues. In the Canary islands it is sometimes used to help recovery of those who have received radiotherapy.

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Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum). This plant smells beautifully of sweet mown grass. I like to add it to a traditional German May day drink called Maybowl.

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One of the group showed me a photo of a distinctive weed which is making a comeback right bite in many patches of bare earth (including her garden!). It is called Redshank (Polygonum persicaria). It has distinctive black arrow-shaped blotches on the leaves. It is edible.

Pansies (Viola sp.) Are delicious, if unsprayed and organically grown of course. Beautiful on a salad or desert.

Cleavers (Galium aparine) Kleefkruid, a plant for I recommend highly to those who want to juice their weeds. Here’s how I do it when you have a handful growing in a clean spot.

And those three plant families that are best avoided; Euphorbia, Nightshade, Carrot. Not all poisonous plants belong to these families bit many of the most toxic do. Other notable poisonous plants: Yew tree, White Bryony.

Thanks again everyone – happy gardening and munching!

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