Tag Archives: plantain

365 Frankendael day 347

More molehill collecting for me today. I’ve been busy repotting some balcony herbs and took the risk of sowing a few seeds. So more soil was needed!


Some of the molehills in park Frankendael are very sandy, others are full of organic matter. Here’s a sandy one – just right to add drainage to the organic soil I bought from Albert Heijn. The little Plantain (Plantago major or media) in the photo was completely covered by the hill until I scraped the top soil away. Just that one molehill filled an empty 5 litre soil bag. Plantago media is an endangered species in the Netherlands, so if that’s the plant I’m extra happy. Either way, my molehill antics provided free soil for me and a freed herb for the park!


I’ve found lots of Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) today, both in the park and other parts of town. I’ve been collecting some of the flower heads to make Coltsfoot honey. They smell amazing when just picked and it’s easy to see why they are a great cough remedy. They are easiest to find in grassland close to water. They look like Dandelion from a distance. But close-up they look like strange Asparagus type scaly things, shooting up as spears through the soil and sending flowers to face the sun before producing proper leaves. Very difficult to mix them up with anything else.

So what else today?

Violets (Viola sp):

Young shoots of Rosebay willowherb:


More Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) NL:Hartgespan. If in doubt of this plant (but certain it’s a square stemmed Labiate) nibble a tiny bit of leaf. If the extreme bitterness literally knocks your socks off, it’s Motherwort!




And some lovely buds and shots from which I made a refreshing immune system boosting tea,

Lime tree buds (Tilia sp). Reach for a too high for dogs twig, maybe on a burr such as this. Snap off a fresh tip bud (after checking its OK with the tree of course) and just pop it in your mouth. After a little chewing your mouth will be full of unmistakable Lime tree goo! It’s great stuff for all manner of ailments and makes me feel very happy to know the tree, every time to do it. I can’t really understand why everyone else in the park doesn’t do this. There is some information I wrote a while ago about Lime, for those wondering what all the fuss is about.


Bramble (Blackberry bush) – just the soft green shoots.


Added to my Spring brew (and still really tastes great hours later as I write this and enjoy the second pot) was of course a leaf or two of my new herb friend Common Horehound (Marrubium vulgare).


Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) remains in pungent foliage.


And finally today, a real taste of the foraging weeks to come – Ground Elder (Aegopodium podograria). Just a few plants coming through today but it’s up! I absolutely love this herb (though it’s often a real pain to gardeners). It’s common English name is Goutweed because it helps clear the body of uric acid amongst other things. I love it because it makes me feel good and tastes rather like Parsley. It can be eaten, used medicinally internally and applied externally in things such as salves and compresses. Learn more about it at the June Embrace Your Weeds workshop which I’m running with City Plot.


Now back to my pot of Spring Shoots Tea…


365 Frankendael day 149

I’ve been busy preparing for the Elder workshop tomorrow and enjoyed a little walk in the park looking for ingredients for ghee based Elder ointment.  Elder leaves are very medicinal but contain a chemical which, when digested by the human body, turns into cyanide so it’s obviously not a good idea to eat it.  The ripe berries and flowers don’t contain this chemical although the seeds within the berries do.  Here are the herbs in my ointment, plus a couple of other plants which are also looking and tasting great at the moment…

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Elder (Sambucus nigra) growing close to the base of an old Cedar. Here’s a lovely Elderberry syrup recipe, from Mountain rose herbs, which uses honey for sweetness but doesn’t heat the honey – good news and unusual!

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis agg.)  making a stand for itself in a field of Plantain (Plantago major)

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacaea)

365 Frankendael day 131

Today I looked at small herbs, growing along the Middenweg, which could easily be”weeded” out and replanted in locations where they could be allowed to grow unhindered and provide food…


Here’s a little Hazel, coppiced by repeated strimmings and strong.


Lavender. Smells great, tastes interesting but more useful for remedies and use in the home. Consider adding a handful of the flowers or fresh seeds to a small jar of honey, infuse for anything from a few days and use on minor burns.


Hollyhock, seeds. Now’s the time to collect them and help new plants grow where you’d like them.


Olive, with little Olives! We lost our roof top Olive last winter, during the drop freeze, but they can do just fine here, if protected in mid winter. No need to wait for the fruit, the leaves are also useful.


A very well trodden Plantain. These look great in a put and are so useful.They do well in tree pits, are evergreen and can look quite attractive.


Chickweed, one if my favorites for food and remedies, even in the winter. grown in a put they can make a thick yet delicate edible herbal carpet.


Dandelion. So useful and so bitterly tasty! Encourage strong roots by digging the soil before transplanting to your chosen location.


Lastly today, Rosebay willowherb. Such pretty and tasty flowers.

365 day 102 Sarphatipark

Thanks to the watertolerant group who joined me to herb walk in Sarphatipark today. We found lots of useful herbs and also interesting park workers who told us how the park is maintained by a dynamic group of volunteers and is trying innovative edible approaches to eradicate Japanese knotweed. Above is a park warden, pictured by the enormous Jerusalem artichokes which are being used to keep knotweed at bay. When the invasive plant is removed, the ground can quickly turn into a home for other unwelcome invaders or can see the return of knotweed. Using Jerusalem artichoke, another rapidly growing and spreading plant, can provide tasty tubers and quash the knotweed. So far so good!

I was also reassured to learn that the Ginkgo trees I’m so fond of in parts of Our Zuid are indeed female and yield plentiful Ginkgo nuts. Amsterdam is fortunate to have such edible plant loving folk in its green spaces team.

The plants I remember finding today are listed as tags to this entry. The spreading soft leaved plant which looked quite like Agrimony but wasn’t, was indeed a cinqefoil, called Silverweed previously called (Potentilla anserina) but now reclassified as Argentina anserina . It is shown above and it is edible. If you were on the walk and can remember other plants which I have missed from the tag list then please let me know.

Thanks again to everyone who joined me. It was a real pleasure to walk around with you. If you signed up but were not brave enough for the wet weather, remember there are always trees to shelter under next time 🙂

365 Frankendael day 100

For the past 100 days, I’ve been going to Park Frankendael, Amsterdam to photograph and document some of the useful, edible and medicinal herbs growing there. Parks are amongst the best places for urban foragers and this one gives an indication of what can be found all over the city, along streets, canals, against houses, in hedges and amongst offices.

I hope to go on holiday quite soon and want the project to go on without gaps. So if you would like to send me a photo of any herbs you find in Amsterdam, I’ll gladly check their identity and publish the photos with credits here. All of my photos are taken in and around Park Frankendael but during my holidays, photos from anywhere in Amsterdam are fine and I’ll be very grateful of you’re involvement.

Please send your urban herb photos to Lynn.Shore@gmail.com with you’re name, the location of the plant and the date you photographed it. If you know the name of the herb, in English, Dutch or Latin, then that would also be helpful. Send them anytime from now.

So what have we got on Day 100?
Plantain (Plantago major, NL Weegbree) with towering seed spikes, very tasty, nutritious and soothing to the gut when cooked in rice, quinoa or similar. It is easy to harvest too, simply pick a few spikes and use a thumb nail to strip the seeds from the spike. Wash them and cook, that’s it.

Here is Teasel in flower, offering food for insects and candy to the eyes of thousands of Amsterdammers, attending today’s Puurmarkt in the park. Behind the Teasel you may see Goldenrod and Rosebay willowherb.

Here is a small but second year Burdock, having a second attempt at flowering in the park orchard after being mowed down a few weeks ago. No good for harvesting but a great indicator of where to find medicinal first year Burdock plants, now and next year.

Here’s a Gingko biloba tree. Those easily identified fossil like leaves, can be best harvested when they start to tinge with yellow, for drying and using as a circulation boosting tea. The circulation enhancing action gives this herb a reputation as a good one to help improve memory.

I know of dozens of street Gingko trees in Oud Zuid, close to Beethovenstraat particularly. I’m sure there are more areas with lots of them in the city. Someone who recently joined an urban herb walk told me that she is currently harvesting and drying the leaves, to help her during periods of study.

Loads more herbs in the park and city today. The above is just a taster. Please feel free to send me what you find, as and when you like.

365 Frankendael day 48

Here is a very tasty and edible salad herb which I hardly ever use but is quite easy to find in Amsterdam and many other cities. It is called Shepherds purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) and is well adapted to grow alongside roads, paths, grassy and waste areas. You can only really see the seed pods on the long flower stem in this photo, it is mixed in with another plant (White mustard). I found this patch alongside the Vomar entrance of Park Frankendael, right beside a path. It is very easy to identify, with it’s signature heart shaped seed pouches. The leaves quite slim and plain looking but are peppery tasting and are very good when picked young and added to a mixed salad. It has been found to be high in Vitamins C and K and has many stoic applications.

Next today is a mixture of mature (and thus not to tasty) Plantain (Plantago major) leaves and White mustard. These were growing alongside the Shepherds purse. So all in all the potential for quite a tasty salad, from this small green patch of land between the park and road.

365 Frankendael day 20

Day 20 of the project and after going to the park expecting to see just one or two new things I was delighted to find my first Elder blossom of the season, Wild Aspraragus shoots and several other delights. Here are a few…

Above, Japanese knotweed is still fair game for Foragers looking for something a little exotic in Amsterdam. Here’s a link to my
sweet sour JKW yoghurt recipe

Next is A Geranium species in flower. Very tasty cooked or raw.

Someone got to this Asparagus before me. It makes a stunning tall feathery plant when allowed to flower. I hope that whoever harvests this one leaves some other shoots to flower and fruit unhindered.

Above is Plantago major (NL: Wegbrood, Plantain) in full effect, prior to flowering. It’s not as useful a medicinal than its slender sister Ribwort (Plantago lanceolota) but its useful and quite good eating.

I feel like a bird spotter with this one… Above is my first sighted Elder blossom of 2012 and it gets me very excited. Elderflower fritters, Elderflower champagne, Elderflower tea and a host of other flower and Elderberry recipes are not far away! This huge Elder shrub is on the Middenweg, just up from the top entrance of Frankendael and opposite the Vomar supermarket. If only my arms were long enough! Remember to harvest with respect and leave LOTS for the birds and bees. Also be very aware of Elderflower look-a-likes. Here’s a photo of Ash or Rowan in flower, growing above an Elder shrub which is not in flower. It would be an easy mistake to harvest the flowers believing them to be Elderflower, when here is nothing to compare them with.