Today a couple of photos of Hops (Humulus lupulus). Used for its relaxation imparting properties and its ability to impart good flavour into beer. I’ve been reading some old Mead recipes lately and Hops featured in several.
I bought a few more lovely storage Kilner bottles, from a shop around the corner if my house today. On the way from it, I found a street full of well tended hollyhock plants, with this years flower stems removed and the first year plants, which should flower next summer, taking over the plots. Such a useful city herb.
Here is another wonderful herb, seen less often in the city, Hops (Humulus lupulus), growing up and over the front fence of the NH Tropen Hotel. What a wonderful choice of herb. Perfect for a good night’s sleep. Now is a good time to gather the seed heads, they are used to stuff dream pillows and make numerous remedies.
At the bases of the same fence other plants have crept in. this one looks like Hazel. I didn’t notice any nuts.
Hop (Humulus lupulus – what a latin name!) is entwined about a meter up last year’s dead stems today and looks far healthier and more vigorous than any cultivated Hop plant I have seen. I am really looking forward to seeing whether or not its flowers are as impressive.
Mugwort is growing beautifully on wasteland near a Frankendael bus stop. It is helpfully showing the silver underside of a few leaves in the breeze.
This member of the Hawthorn species reminds us clearly that Hawthorns are members of the Rose family.
Valerian officinale is almost ready to flower in wetter areas of the park.
And Agrimony plants are making themselves more obvious is some drier sunny areas.
Also today, towering Pink Purslane (Montia sibirica) is in flower. It looks similar in structure to Winter purslane (Montia perfoliata, which is low growing and currently growing like crazy along the Centuurbaan fence of Sarphatipark. Often called Miner’s Lettuce it tastes great!) However, Pink Purslane is said to have a nasty acrid aftertaste and should be avoided by foragers. It’s such a beautiful flower at this time of year that it’s good to know it tastes bad!
Today two beautiful climbers, one deadly the other delicious.
Here is a photo of Hops (Humulus lupulus) scrambling over an information plate in the woodland section of Frankendael. Several Hops plants are becoming obvious at the moment. They begin the season by growing tall thin stems which arch high above other plants, reaching out for a suitable structure to climb. Then their leaves broaden and identification becomes easier.
Hops has been a popular plant for centuries, since it was discovered that it added a delicious flavor to beer. Medicinally, hops is useful as a relaxant and sleep inducer. It is found in many herbal sleep blends. If you have access to enough, it is very simple to stuff a pillow with dried hops, which is then slept on to bring about restful sleep.
Now to the poisonous climber: White Bryony (Bryonia dioica) has some ancient medicinal and several magical uses but all parts of this plant are highly toxic. Even small ingested quantities can be lethal. It’s a member of the Cucumber family. I’ve been watching the plant in this photo grow for a few weeks, admiring it’s resemblance to squash plants but until today, not knowing it’s true nature. It really blends into its surroundings today but up close it has rather an out of place appearance. As if someone had planted melon seeds in the woodland. However this is a native plant, often found in woodlands and hedgerows.
Bryony has several colloquial names which suggest historical uses and appearance; English Mandrake, Wood Vine & Mad Root being my favourites. It was traditionally used in image, money and protection magic. The roots of this perennial were particularly significant. Here is a clearer photograph of Bryony, taken today in Oosterpark. An enchanting and deadly specimen.