Today the council mowed many of my favourite herb-filled verges, in this part of Amsterdam. Often I worry about harvesting from such verges, trying to do it in a way that leaves no obvious trace. Then this happens and I stop worrying quite so much. The time chosen does allow for many herbs to seed beforehand but not all of them. Those beautiful Burdock plants were just a few weeks away from seeding and Mugwort was at it’s most beautiful and useful phase. At present, most people don’t know about those plants and they would soon have looked too straggly for many. The poison Hemlock which I watched for weeks, was cut to the ground in this mowing. Just before the seeds matured, so I see that as a positive thing. I’m also very appreciative that the green verges are managed so that they look very attractive for most of the year and thus are welcomed in the city.
Near the garden centre entrance of the park, mowing also occurred today but a healthy strip of growth was left. Here are photos from that area. Firstly Hedge Woundwort,
Stinging nettle, setting seed,
and Cleavers, in flower,
Today some photos without much comment or translations…
Firstly the flowers of that Poison Hemlock on the Middenweg. It’s carrot family flowers opening to the sun today.
Next, some lovely Meadowsweet foliage.
Next Ground elder, just coming into flower. Another member of the carrot family but with completely different and easily recognisable leaves.
Here is Red clover. Perfect for harvesting, if you can find it growing in a clean spot.
Lastly today, a sign that tasty berries are not too far away; A Bramble (NL: Bramen) just opening it’s first flowers of the year.
Today again, is quite hot so the translucent and spiky Teasel (Dipsacus spp.) foliage does not have pools of water at the leaf bases. Teasel shouldn’t be harvested at all, due to it’s wildlife benefits. But the pools of water which accumulate within them can be useful.
Here is a Burdock (Arctium lappa) plant preparing to flower.
Restaurant De Kas has a lovely herb and vegetable garden wrapped around it, within park Frankendael. Obviously it’s not for public harvesting but the fresh young leaves on the Copper Beech hedge around that garden, may look quite tasty to some.
Here’s the Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) on the outside edge of the park, which I found some time ago. It now towers above my bike and it’s flowers are almost ready to open. Quite an imposing sight, close up.
Lastly today, two plants which I underuse from wild Amsterdam. If you have access to clean sources of Chickweed or Dandelion, they may be useful to you. There are many look a likes for both plants. Those for Chickweed are generally edible to but those for Dandelion are mostly not and some are poisonous.
Chickweed (Stellaria media) has a line of tiny fine hairs running down the medial line of the stems. Dandelion leaf teeth point downwards, but you need to have your guide book with you for this as any other edible plant, until you are totally secure about it’s identity. Here’s a nice link if you are interested in Chickweed and Dandelion in particular.
In just a 1 meter square patch of land, on the outer edge of park Frankendael, I found all these useful herbs today…
Medicinal Comfrey (Symphytum uplandica):
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and Ground Elder (Aegopodium podograria) growing amongst each other:
Also, Burdock (Arctium lappa)
Poisonous member of the Carrot family, Hemlock (Conium maculatum):
Notice how similar it looks to Chervil. It has a smooth stem and leaves. It smells a little unpleasant and has notable purple staining on the stem. This is not a plant to be handled or foraged at all! This plant was used in ancient Geek executions, including that of Socrates. The Latin name means to whirl, pertaining to one of the symptoms of hemlock poisoning, vertigo. This plant is deadly poisonous and I show it here as so many foragers are keen to find plants such as wild carrot. It is very easy to confuse members of the family, especially those with finely divided leaves such a hemlock, carrot and sweet cicely
Lastly another beauty which is not helpful to foragers. A Labrador delivering a little fertilizer to that interesting 1m square patch of park edge!