Tag Archives: Lime

365 Frankendael day 326

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Today was Forest school again and I finally identified this tree in Beatrix park by nipping of a leaf bud and chewing it very gently and thoughtfully! The taste was unmistakable – Lime tree (Tilia sp).

The taste itself was mild for a tree bud but more importantly upon prolonged chewing it released a large amount of gooey unctuous mucilage – as does fresh Lime blossom. It also tasted exactly the same as those midsummer blossoms. I was very pleased to find this as I have a real fondness of Lime and it’s lovely to now know a tree with low hanging branches and hence flowers in midsummer.

365 Frankendael day 187

Beautiful Roses, still in bloom and edible if unsprayed and growing in clean locations, here in Amsterdam.

Next is Russian Comfrey (NL: Smeerwortel, Symphytum uplandicum x) which I picked a leaf from today. Am currently brewing a tea from it ready to feed to my houseplants.

And lastly, the Park Warden blowing leaves from beneath the Lime tree avenue (NL:Linden, Tilia sp.)  in Park Frankendael.  Today seems to be Amsterdam leaf drop day, they are thick along the pavements and streets. Time to make the most of the beautiful autumn colours.

365 Frankendael day 152

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Today has been quite wet, will at least when I have had any free time. So I didn’t take many photos. Something that caught my eye was a row of Horse Chestnut trees, in front of Amstel station, with no conkers forming. This struck me as I’d because the enormous Horse Chestnut in the middle of my school is loaded with apple sized young Conkers. Not that they are edible, they do make useful medicine though. Will have to check whether there are male and females…

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And here’s a photo of the enduring nettles and lime tree leaves at the front of Huis Frankendael.

365 Frankendael day 145

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Just an autumn photo of a Hugo de Vrieslaan today. Late to work, lots to do.. I just thought it looked nice to see the Lime leaves (Tilia spp.) beginning to fall. There’s still time to harvest a few fresh green leaves if you’d like a stock for winter infusions and other Lime medicine. Lots of the local Limes have enormous burrs on their lower trunks, each offers hundreds of leaves in an unusual location and making it easy to harvest a handful. So there’s no need to shin up a 50 foot tree trunk.

365 Frankendael day 75

I went for an earlier walk in the park today and was rewarded by finding the freshest and most delicious Lime (Tilia) flowers that I have ever harvested.  Here’s the tree they came from.  I turned them into a tea and shared it with the painters and my little girl.  Lime tea is especially good on a warm summer day like today. It is cooling and refreshing.

Here’s a neighbouring Tilia tree in the park. It must be a different variety as everything about it is a little smaller than most Tilia in the park and the the leaves are a little darker.  The flowers are also placed slightly differently on the twigs. I don’t know so much about the different varieties but I do know that Tilia tastes good and is very beneficial.

Next is a harmonious grassland combination of Plantain, Yarrow and Red clover in bloom.  I set off today hoping to find enough Yarrow to make a tick-deterring tincture. I got rather side tracked by other herbs and in the end, didn’t notice enough to harvest. So instead of tincturing, two flower stalks are brightening up a small vase on my dining table.  It’s good to remember just how many ways there are to benefit from flowers.

Here are two of my favourite things, my little girl and a huge Brassica plant.  As with most naturalised and wild brassicas, all parts are edible and quite strong tasting. Just a carefully picked leaf or two should liven up a meal.  (Thanks Jennie for correcting me on this one, I thought it was Wild Cabbage but that only grows near the coasts on chalky soil). This one may be Rapseed (Brassica napus). My friend Jennie Akse is running a herb walk focused on edible yellow flowering plants, around in Amsterdam at present.  Have a look at the Meetup group for details.

Here is a herb that I find quite wondrous, Dark Mullein (Verbascum nigrum). Useful for many disorders, such as lung weakness and infection and most popular, I think, as an ear infection remedy.

Next up today is another herbal harmony, Veronica‘s towering blue spires mixed with more Mullien, Mugwort and Agrimony.

Here are some striking and Poisonous Lilies, in the formal garden behind Frankendael Huis and Merkelbach.  I add this photo because yesterday I featured the very edible Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva), which can look very similar to the uninitiated.  All parts of Lily are toxic. I have never thought about eating this type of plant but I find the pollen, when trapped in a living room with it for instance, very irritating.

Here is Catnip (Nepta sp). A member of the mint family, it can be used in similar refreshing ways. I like to make a sinus blasting pesto with it sometimes. It has many uses and is quite easy to grow.  Many will already know about cat’s affinity to this herb.  Some love it and find it quite a turn on, others seem to lack receptivity to it and many show more of a loved-up reaction to Valerian.

Another minty wonder is shown below, the often overlooked and trampled Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea). The pretty purple flower spikes are gone from most of the plants now but just look at that rich foliage! Now is a good time to harvest and use it or dry it for the winter. But why bother when this ground covering  plant is around all year long?

Next is a delicious Garlic Mustard plant (Alliaria petiolata), showing different stages of seed pod development. This is a wonderfully tasty herb to add to all sorts of cooking.  It is also great used as a salad leaf or flower.  Looking at these seed pods reminds me of why it’s a pity to harvest the flowers of this super biennial.  Less flowers, less seeds, less plants next year.

Next is a large plant which I’ve been hunting for some time – a first year Burdock (Arctium lappa), ripe for root harvesting.  It seemed that all the Burdock in Amsterdam were second years, in bloom and not very nutritious or medicinal.  Now that the council have mowed some patches of the park, some first year Burdock have been kindly left to develop.  I won’t be digging this plant up but it’s good to see it and be reassured that a first year plant is easy to identify.

Lastly today, a type of Hyssop (Hyssopus sp.).  I used this plant quite a lot last year, it is very aromatic and makes good tea. I’ll have a careful look at this one again soon to identify it fully.

365 Frankendael day 74


Lots of edibles but not much time to photograph them today. Here’s a photo of a smart young Tilia, Lime or Linden tree growing on the edge of the park. I just wanted to mention that the trees are still very much in flower and the flowers are very tasty and easy to dry for later use. Tilia is nothing to do with citrus Lime, although many find it a very refreshing herb. Here’s my previous post about Lime and it’s uses.


Next is Daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) a flowering plant that looks too dramatic to be wild or edible and yet it is quite a forager’s favourite. Please be aware that regular lilies are definately not edible. Day lilies are different. I haven’t yet tried them and hope to later this week. Here are a few links which you may like to peruse if you have mind to harvest and eat some…

Susun Weed, Lily family article
Dining on Daylilies
Eat the weeds article

365 Frankendael day 61


Today is the Summer Solstice, Midsummer’s Day and I am having a lovely time! Myself, Livvy, Isobel, Esther, Isobel and the two babies, harvested leaves and flowers from some of the Lime trees (Tilia sp.) Which form the main avenue in Frankendael Park. It was so pleasant to share the Midsummer harvest with other like minded people. We cleaned the honeydew from the leaves, in a bowl of fresh water, made tea in flasks of boiled water and sandwiches from the harvest and some Lime honey.

I’ll be doing this again on Sunday in a different location, but I think there is nothing quite like the burgeoning green energy of Midsummer’s Day. The plants seem to be about to pop with the amount of goodness within them and some of them have certainly sprung suddenly into flower today.

I found lots of Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) just in flower, today and harvested some for a tincture. Likewise, Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is in perfect form for tincturing. These and Lime are the three summer herbs which I love the most so I spent time with them today.

I was also pleased to see that some of the Mullein plants in the park have quietly started to flower and patches of Feverfew close to Frankendael park are also standing out. The Plantain (Plantago major) leaves are currently enormous and I will be tincturing some of them and their flowers in the days to come along with Lime tree leaves and flowers.

If you tend to see Midsummer as the end of the lightness and you morn its passing, perhaps try and see it in a different way. More as a time to thank the Sun and light for all the transformation it has provided and welcome in the gradually approaching darkness. The darkness can teach us much about ourselves, it gives a chance to reflect inwardly on what has happened in the preceding time and encourages us to appreciate the light, when it returns.

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.

Lime (NL:Linden) for Magical Midsummer Happiness

City bees are dizzy with happiness at present. The sweet perfume of Lime (NL:Linden, Tilia spp.) trees fills the air in many streets and parks, attracting bees from far and wide.  This tree looks wonderful, can grow to a stately height, is great for wildlife and it’s flowers are used to make the best herb tea and honey on Earth (well, I think so anyway!).  The Lime tree is able to calm our nerves and bring us happiness.

The tree is easily identified. It has a classic tree shape, if allowed to grow unchecked, has large heart-shaped and sharply toothed leaves which are smooth above. Lime flowers hang yellowish-white from the trees from Midsummer to July, not necessarily all over the tree. There are often burrs on the handsome trunks.

Uses

  • Linden flower tea is very popular here in the Netherlands and across the continent.  Lime grows abundantly in the UK yet is less widely used.  The French prize the herb tea made from Linden flowers above most others and call it Tilleul.  It was used traditionally in Europe to treat nervous disorders such as hysteria, nervous vomiting and palpitations brought about by stress.
  • Linden honey has been highly prized for generations, has a heavenly taste and carries many of the properties of the tree.
  • Lime wood is excellent for minutely detailed carving and turning, being close grained, strong, durable and unattractive to woodworm.
  • Lime bark has been traditionally used in Europe to make baskets and fishing nets.
  • The sap is plentiful in spring and has a high sugar content.  It can be tapped in the same as Maple and Birch.
  • The leaves can also be made into a tea/infusion whereupon they yield an extremely thick (mucilaginous) and cooling drink.  They also make a simple and tasty sandwich filling.
  • It is found by many to be helpful for coughs, colds, fevers, headaches, inflammation, as a diaretic, general tonic, to calm the gut and to soothe nerves.
  • In general this herb is thought of as soothing, relaxing and promoting feelings of happiness.

Narcotic intoxication:
Lime blossom is easy to harvest, dry and use but as with all herbs, it should be treated with great respect.  Harvest when in full bloom and all should be well but beware that Lime blossom tea can produce a mild, non addictive intoxication.  Flowers left on the tree too long before harvesting are said to have a more intoxicating effect.  The mildly intoxicating effect of appropriatly harvested Lime makes many of us feel happy. It also makes Lime extremely valuable to those seeking to enter a state of trance and other magical journeying.

On a spiritual level, Lime is renowned as a tree herb which can help relieve grief and induce feelings of vibrancy and youthfulness.  To appreciate these qualities it is said that you should carry a small bag, filled with dried Lime leaves, or that you place them under your pillow.

How to harvest Lime/Linden.

Harvest from mature Lime trees, in as clean and unpolluted an area as is possible.
Choose a dry day, preferably before it becomes too hot and after the dew has dried.
Snip off young healthy sprigs, containing blossoms and a few leaves, from branches which you can reach easily.
Respect the trees and harvest sparingly.
Spread the harvest out on a clean dry surface, preferably on trays so air can circulate easily.
Leave in a warm, well ventilated place for 2 – 3 weeks, until the sprigs are thoroughly dry and brittle.
Store in sterilised airtight containers.

How to make Linden/Lime tea and infusion.
You can make Linden tea by simply steeping a sprig of fresh Lime in a cup of boiling hot water for as long as desired for taste.  Or you can use a teaspoon full of dried crushed herb per cup.

To make an infusion place about 5 tablespoons of crushed dried herb in a pot or jar which holds about 500ml of water (you could scale this up to suit the size of your container).  Add 500ml boiling water and leave with a tightly fitting lid and without heat, for between 4 and 8 hours (preferably overnight).  Then strain, separately retaining both the herb and infusion.  The infusion should be good for 24 hours if refrigerated.  Return the “used” herb material to the pot and add about 300ml of boiling water.  Simmer gently, for up to 2 hours, after which a very mucilaginous fluid should be obtained.  Again this should be good for about 24 hours if refrigerated.