Tag Archives: Pelargonium

365 Frankendael day 56

I visited the park very early this morning and was pleased to find a surprise clump of my favourite herb for grounded-ness and muscle pains – Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca). It is shown in this photo growing in a location quite far away from the ones I already know. So, I have high hopes that there is quite a good population of this useful plant in the park and also the city.  I’d really like to know if any followers f this project know of Motherwort growing near them in other locations.  I know that Jennie Akse knows of plenty in Beatrix Park, I’m not sure in which part they are but they certainly like it there too.  Note that the pink flowers, next to the Motherwort leaves, are from another plant (see below).  Motherwort is sometimes mistaken for a member of the Geranium family due to it’s leaves, however it is easy to spot the square labiate family stems. Failing that, if you mistakenly taste even a fraction of a Motherwort leaf, the extreme bitterness will soon teach you it’s not an aromatic Geranium!  Motherwort is generally used as a tincture.

Here is a beautiful plant, from a very common and varied city tolerant herb family – called the Cranesbills or Scented Geraniums or Pelargoniums.  I think that this one is most likely Geranium pyrenaicum, Hedge Crane’s-bill and as I’ve mention plenty times before, all member of the Geraniums are edible, tasty and useful.  I read the other day of an old Rose Geranium infused alcoholic punch recipe, from Arabia.  It is in Patricia Telesco’s Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook – a nice resource book containing many traditional and interesting herbal recipes. This plant is not Rose Geranium but itis related and extremely fragrant.  I am quite tempted to have a go at it, maybe when the summer really arrives.

Another herb which is in season for harvest at present, is Lavender.  I don’t see much of it in this park but it grows prolifically in the city and can be used very easily for many applications.  Christian Huygensplein, near my home is planted out with it.  Thank you Amsterdam Oost! Unfortunately, each day I have had time to visit any Lavender with my scissors, the weather has been damp so harvesting those pretty flower stems has been out of the question.  No point in harvesting when the flowers are likely to mould, before they can dry out thoroughly.  If you are lucky enough to find a huge patch of Lavender, the flower stems can be carefully but quickly thinned out, just above the foliage, perhaps taking every 20 stems, without much visible impact on the plant.  I’m sure that my neighbours would not appreciate anyone chopping clumps of the flowers from the shopping area but I’m sure a few carefully flower stems wouldn’t be missed.

Lastly and shown above, is a striking herb which I have no experience of using at all but know it has historic uses.  It is called Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris) and I know it only as a garden plant from Somerset.  Here’s a link to a page from a wonderful recent-historic book, offering a glimpse into historic uses of herbs.

365 Frankendael day 51

I harvested a little Russian Comfrey today, to make a healing foot ointment. The plant is still in flower but the leaves will stay contain many of the active constituents. Also plucked for the table were a small number of Daisy flowers, some Ground Elder, a little Garlic Mustard and a few pretty Pelargonium flowers. The Ground Elder itself is still on top form for foraging although it is starting to become quite dirty in some locations, due to bird droppings and general honey dew dripping from aphids and ants in the trees above. So I would say that by now it is just past it’s best and I need to focuss my forager’s attention elsewhere.

Here are today’s photos:

Here is a White Dead Nettle, setting seed alongside the Middenweg and the park. I think you can quite clearly see how the flower and now seed clusters encircle the square Labiate family stem, quite unlike the unrelated but often mistaken Stinging Nettle. Both plants are edible.


Above is German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) growing close to the White Dead Nettle.


Above is Brassica rapa Wild Turnip. It smells of cabbage when picked and the flower heads remind me of broccoli. It was growing close to a patch of very young Fat Hen (Lambs quarters) but both were unfortunately in a bit of a dirty location so not for the plate tonight.ill certainly keep my eyes open for both tomorrow though as they are perfectly in season at present and make very good eating when cooked. All parts of Wild Turnip are edible and tasty.

I was also very pleased to spot some Calamints in flower for the first time this year. Photos of those tomorrow hopefully.

365 Frankendael day 46

I’ve been preparing for the next Urban Herbology walk today so here are several photos and not much chat…


Developing cobweb-spirally Burdock flowers.


The Middenweg Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) continues to grow despite being reported to the council. Apparently it’s not a risk to the public because it is growing in the green strip… It is now wider than my bike, well over 2m tall and (although less than before I pruned it) still overhangs the pavement. I shall snip off the flower heads before the seeds set. A deadly beauty.


Greater Celendine, with seed pods developing well.


Comfrey (Symphytum uplandicum), still growing, still flowering – everywhere in the park!


Skullcap (Sculletaria altissima) in the woods. Flowers development very quickly moving up the stalk, sowing be visible for much longer.


The flowers of wild Sage (Salvia officinalis).


On the edge of the rhododendron planted section, I found this shady patch of tasty Pelargonium, Garlic Mustard and also Stinging Nettle and Cleavers, just out of shot.


Lastly, frothy flowers of Hedge Bedstraw.

365 Frankendael day 33

I don’t think a real Herbology session would be complete without at least a mention of frogs or toads and today I had great fun listening to mating frogs in a pond within Park Frankendael. No uses for these as they look and sound so great where they are, alive, kicking and trying so hard to make tadpoles, in the water.

Endangered Hoary plantain (Plantago media) in flower. I am so pleased to see this plant in the same location, a year on from first noticing it in the park. This year there are two plants instead of just one. I really hope it will reproduce unhindered this summer. Seeing it up close and in the proximity of Plantago major and Plantago lanceolata makes it easy to see why it was named P. media. The leaves are really about midway between the widths of the other two species.

Bistort is a herb I dont use much but I found this plant which looks very similar in the park. There are several patches growing well, near Frankendael Huis and it is in the labelled herb garden. Will have to do some more investigation to check the identiy.

I also found a huge patch of well hidden nettles in a shady place which doesn’t get as many visitors as other quarters of the park. Probably a good spot for harvesting the tops.

Chickweed (Stellaria media) worth a mention today for its array of self help medicinal uses and high vitamin and mineral content. It is neglected by many (including myself) through the summer months as there is so much edible plant life to choose from. But come midwinter most foragers will be pleased to add this to a plate. At midsummer chickweed won’t be visible anymore. It will then return after the hight of summer, when this season’s seeds start to germinate. Chickweed is big and delicious at this time of year. I’ll try to take a better photo of it tomorrow.

Lovely Pelargonium foliage.

Walnut foliage. Perhaps there is a tree near you. Have a look at Boskoi or similar apps and maps perhaps.

Cats Tail (Typha spp.) Not Bull rushes but yes, edible. I mentioned these a while ago when I spotted them on another edge of the park on day 17. All parts can help make a feast but why bother when you don’t know the water quality and they do look so stunning for everyone in town to enjoy.

Lastly, a statue close to the old Frankendael house. Beautiful flowering carrot family flowers and stinging nettles at its feet.

I’m looking forward to Claud Biemans joining me in the park tomorrow. She’s going to help me identify a couple of herbs which I have no clue about, but which smell amazing and are surely worthy of some attention.

365 Frankendael day 28

Today, two new arrivals for 365 Frankendael…

Red clover is starting to bloom in the park. At least today is the first day I have noticed it. Unfortunately the huge clover area next to Restaurant de Kas was cleared for some purpose, this spring so that won’t be available for harvesting but it is present in many other places and is very easy to identify. The blossoms are harvested for most remedies and a red clover infusion is easy to make. The blossoms also dry well.

Koninginnenkruid in Dutch, Hemp Agrimony, in English, (Euphatorium cannabium) is an interesting herb which I have only really noticed here in the Amsterdam canals but it is also prolific elsewhere. It’s a very tall plant, up to about 1.5m at it’s peak in mid summer, bearing quite attractive fluffy looking pale pink flowers and leaves which are a little like those of hemp (hence the English name). It has numerous historic uses, ranging from preventing bread from going moldy, as an infusion to spring cleanse the body and prevent scurvy, to fight off colds and flu and my favourite… to help Dutch people who had jaundice accompanied by swollen feet.

However if you are suffering from such a complaint, think twice before racing off to a local patch of this herb. Hemp agrimony contains a highly volatile oil which has been found to stress the liver and even cause cancer so much caution is advised. Hemp Agrimony is considered toxic these days. The plant does smell quite pleasant when cut so this year I intend to try it in some home decorations. Here’s a patch growing beside still water in Park Frankendael. You can see the dried stems from last summer, towering above the new foliage and suggesting how tall this perennial will grow over the next few weeks.

Lastly, here’s Another pretty Wild Scented Geranium (Pelargonium sp.). This one is growing in a full sun position and looks quite different to the ones we looked at yesterday.