Tag Archives: foxglove

365 Frankendael day 52


A lovely walk today, began by spotting this particular Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) plant along the Lime tree avenue. There are many many Garlic Mustards still around But this one has a few really big leaves. The one on focus here was 14cm long! It’s handy to have your field guide with you for recording such herb spotter type things!


I saw this plant from a distance yesterday and mistook it for a Calamint. I have a very stinky sample of it in my field guide, beside me as I type and it is definitely not a pleasant Calamint. It is Field Woundwort (Stachys arvensis) with beetroot coloured flowers atop hairy, strongly “scented” leaves. It is a Labiate of great herbal repute. This particular Stachys has been long used for a huge range of ailments. Have a look at the Wiki link for an overview of them if it interests. I have used it now and then as a tea. I find the taste quite strong but not unpleasant. I think the most interesting uses are to treat pink eye (conjunctivitis) and styes. For these problems, a weak, cooled and very well strained tea is sometimes used as an eye wash.


I think that the above photo is of Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale). I will need to keep checking as it comes into flower. I did manage to forage our Brassica fix of the day though, plenty of Wild Turnip in full flower alongside the Middenweg today.


Here’s an eye catching member of the Plantain, Plantago genus. It looks like Ribwort but the flowers are super shaggy and I’m not used to seeing that in Ribwort. I have a feeling it is a hybrid between two types of Plantago. Claud Biemans told me about them when she walked with me here in Frankendael. Whatever it is I love those flowers, they remind me of a well worn Afghan coat.


Here is Digitalis in flower. Foxgloves have strikingly beautiful flowers but all parts of the plant are highly poisonous. It provides a well known herbal medicine which acts specifically on heart muscles. Not something to be picked or used.


Here’s another poisonous plant, White Bryony (Bryonia dioica) entwined around Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca). I was looking at Motherwort today because it’s flowers are just beginning to become obvious and soon the leaves of the plant will become more familiar to those who know its flower heads. Can you see the flowers developing in whirls close to the leaf bases and the square Labiate stems? This is a good time to harvest and tincture the plant but you should watch it for a full cycle to ensure its the real thing.


Lastly today, Hound’s Tongue (Cynoglossum officinale).

365 Frankendael day 45

It has rained all day and it although I got soaked through, it was a real pleasure to be out photographing and foraging this Full Moon morning when hardly anyone else was about in Park Frankendael.  I managed to harvest some gorgeous Elderflowers, Ribwort, Red Clover and Mugwort, without anyone casting me a glance of suspicion or sympathy!

Here are today’s photos:
Firstly, Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), it is abundant on in some parts of the park.  Here is a lovely patch with a dozen or so plants.

Next is Foxglove (Digitalis). What a beauty and so useful in times gone by particularly.  This is a poisonous plant and I think too rare in Amsterdam to harvest even if you knew what to do with it.

Now for my favourite of the day, Willow.  In fact two copiced Willows, one containing a lovely Garlic Mustard plant and the other just looking stunning, with light shining through a gnarled old trunk.  Perhaps it’s because Willow is such a water lover, or perhaps it’s the full moon energy, or perhaps neither but all the Willows in the park looked quite strikingly beautiful today.

Here’s the gnarly one:

Next is Elderflower.  Most flowers are in full bloom right now but some of the earlier bloomers are already going over and setting seeds within tiny berries.  Remember that Elderberries always need to be cooked to be safe and palatable. The flowers are different and can be eaten raw, although most prefer them cooked or infused, for various purposes.
Here is an Elderflower well on the way to making berries.

Lastly, beautiful rain filled Teasel (Dipsacus sp.). This plant is well known to Chinese herbalists but less so to those in the West. It has traditional applications in the treatment of muscle, tendon and join injuries and disease.