Here is beautiful and extremely poisonous native climber called White Bryony (Bryonia alba), which I noticed today in a shady Frankendael hedgerow, growing over some Stinging Nettles. This is a new place for me to spot the plant. It also luxuriates throughout the woodland quarter of the park, where I see it a lot. It grows all around the city and thrives with something to scramble up and over, so it is often found against fences, hedges and shrubs. At the moment, whilst in flower it is even easier to identify.
Above is Yarrow(Achillia millefolium), flowering all over the city at present. A very useful and tasty herb. Known as Nosebleed in some parts, it has the ability to staunch or start bleeding. Not one for pregnancy or infancy. A prized women’s herb.
I thought I’d take this photo today to show how easy it can be to confuse plants. It shows Pensylvannian Pellitory (Parietaria pensylvanica) my neighbours’ dog’s favourite, growing beside a seed-setting White Deadnettle ( Lamium alba). Both are edible and both are, amongst other things, both are diuretics. Do you know which is which?
Lastly today, here is a sure sign that the main Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petoilata) season is coming to an end. Today I spotted lots of very yellow looking plants, putting all their remaining energy into seed production, rather than those delicious leaves. So if you have a penchant for this plant, now is the time to harvest from the small, younger plants . Please remember to leave the plants with plenty of foliage and the seed pods intact. That way, hopefully we can all benefit from a good crop next year.
Today, many Burdock plants (Arctium lappa) are easily identified because their flower heads, or burs (which give the plant it’s common English name) are developing at the top of the plants. I’ve not really noticed them at this stage, before this year. They look very stately at the moment because the stems are growing fast so the large leaves are clearly separated. Burdock is a biennial plant, flowing during its second year. The roots are the part of interest to herbalists and those are only useful when harvested from first year Burdock plants. So although harvesting of Burdock roots should occur in the autumn, now is a great time to identify Burdock which is not flowering, is in its first year and may be of interest. Here’s a link to a Susun Weed article about Dandelion and Burdock.
Here is a little Elder (Sambucus nigra) shrub, growing at the base of a tall park side tree, on the Middenweg. Not a great location for harvesting the flowers. At this height you may also better understand why Ground Elder (shown yesterday in flower) is so named. Fortunately, although both are edible (at least in part), the flowers look quite different, one is a shrub and the other is clearly not.
Next, a lovely White Dead Nettle (Lamium album). This member of the mint family, which looks very like Stinging Nettle but is totoally unrelated, is still in flower and yielding a tiny sip of sweet nectar, if you pluck a flower and suck its base. This can also be done with Honeysuckle. However the Honeysuckle species is seen as poisonous and White Dead Nettle is edible. The whole plant may be enjoyed and benefitted from. This plant is good cooked like spinach.Here’s a nice recipe from a lovely blog about wild food called Eat Weeds.
Lastly today, Cleavers (Galium aparine) with flower buds clearly developing. It may still be used a tonic herb when freshly juiced or made into a tincture.