Tag Archives: Aristotolochia clematis

365 Frankendael day 122

Today I was kindly sent a batch of beautiful photos of herbs in the park by Joop Eisenberger.  I often meet Joop in Frankendael whilst I hunt for herbs and he hunts for dragonflies, butterflies, frogs, bees, plants etc. He is well known for taking the most wonderful nature photos in this area.  Joop, thank you so much for sending these to me! I am showing a few photos today and will post more over the coming days. It’s always inspiring to see the work of someone who takes such time and effort to get just the right shot.


Firstly, black rosehips of Burnet Rose (Rosa pimpinellifolia).  These are really quite an amazing colour, compared to most other hips. I showed the flowers of this shrub a few months ago and now the hips are maturing and standing out gloriously. All rose hips, of whichever colour, from whichever species, can be transformed into delicious and nutritious vitamin c rich conserves. I look forward to giving these a gentle squeeze, when I return from holiday, to see how ripe they are. Rose hips need to be fairly soft but not at all rotting, to be harvested. Whatever preparations are made from hips, the pips (seeds) must be carefully removed by sieving, before the final storage as they are covered in tiny irritating hairs.

I thought most St John’s / Joan’s wort flowers (Hypericum perforatum) were over now but this photo taken yesterday prove otherwise.  I have taken a bottle of oil, infused with this plant, on holiday with me. It is my sun lotion.  Contrary to popular beleif, this sunny little wonder herb can prevent sunburn as well as soothing aches and pains and uplifting depressed minds.  Avoid the dried herb for depression, it tends to make things worse. The tincture seems to do a better job.  If you are interested in this herb, take a look at the writings and recordings about it by Susun Weed.  The herb can interect with the contraceptive pill, so beware.

Speaking of contraceptives, I’ve a renewed interest in Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) flowers and seeds at present because where I’m holidaying is absolutley covered in the plant. There is some extrememly interesting reseach into its effectiveness as a birthcontrol herb, by Robin Rose Bennett. Read her research findings and updates if it is of interest to you.  In short, it appears to work like a herbal morning after pill. If taken regularly it stops working. So if you facy trying it, read up on it thoroughly, get some advice and make sure you harvest the right flowers or seeds!

Lasty today, here is a poisonous herb, also associated with birth, or otherwise.  It is called Pijpbloem in Dutch, Birthwort in English and Aristotolochia clematis in Latin. The Doctrine of Signatures was responsible for wrongly linking many herbs with dieases of body parts which they resemble. This is one such herb.  It was thought to resemble the birthcanal or uterus and was used by many for quite sometime to help childbirth proceede and for other gynacological issues.  It does cause the uterus to contract, eventually, but it all also causes kidney damage and failure and thus sometimes death.  It’s quite a beautiful plant, creeping around the woodland area with unusual leaves, tendrills  and a vibrancy that really makes it stand out from the other plants. It is very poisonous and shouldnt be ingested.

365 Frankendael day 35

Today a very speedy look around the park, in the late afternoon sunshine…

Roses are opening up all over the city. Perfect weather for them to bloom. This is one of my favorites in the park, Rosa arvensis, the Field Rose. Very pretty now and produces excellent hips in autumn.

Birthwort, NL: Pijpbloem (Aristotolochia clematis) highly poisonous, with some historic uses (and recent infamy from causing kidney failure when accidentally incorporated into ground wheat flour). I am looking forward to finding out what the Latin name is all about.

Lime leaves (Tilia) are mostly covered in something sweet & sticky at the moment. Either excrement from the masses of insects seeking out nectar from the new flowers, or the nectar itself dripping down onto lower leaves. I’m not too sure which it is but at the moment this sticky stuff is clear, but visible and certainly delicious. Wash it off or not, the leaves taste great and many blossoms are already present so let the harvest begin! In a short while the sticky covering will thicken and blacken. Then it needs a good scrub and or soak in clean water to get it all off. The leaves do stand up well to such treatment and can then be dried thoroughly for storage or used directly.

Sage, (Salvia officinalis). Beautiful and so tasty! Beware the power of Sage if taken in higher than culinary doses and stay away for it during the few few months of pregnancy. Not a tonic herb but a very useful one for the body and mind.