Very pretty Maple tree, in flower close to Amstel Station.
And I was really happy to find a tree pit full of Winter Purslane / Miner’s Lettuce (perfolium) along side the park today.
See how similar the Miner’s lettuce looks to this other plant at first glance. Both were growing in the same patch of dirt. But the leaves are a little different and crucially, the flowers all have a different number of petals. This third plant today is a Speedwell ( Veronica) species.
When I took this photo I thought it was a Speedwell, probably ivy leaved speedwell. A pretty, edible and apparently versatile little plant which has been used over the years for many things including to cleanse the blood, to ease itchiness, even thrown into a chicken broth to help fight cancer. Certainly interesting! I like to eat different Speedwell species in salads sometimes, the little blue flowers are an easy way to get to know the plant on your plate.
Here’s a nice link about Speedwells (botanical info) and another about more recent uses and applications for this abundant herb genus.
However this “Speedwell” does not have flowers and the way it grows is is different to the speedwells I am familiar with. Looking closer at the plant it seems it could alternatively be the more succulent (and also edible) Pennywort. I must have a better look later this week. With flowers it would be very simple to tell the difference. Must take my vegetative key along with me on Thursday…
Today a little plant which I thought had disappeared in the snow, but no, it’s as full of life and taste as previously!
It’s a type of Speedwell (Veronica sp.). It is edible and has medicinal uses. For some reason, each time I meet it, I forget it’s name. Maybe that’s part of it’s magic 🙂
I thought that this is Malva sylvestris, Common Mallow though it more likely could be a stunted Lavatera arborea (must look at it again this week), growing in one of my neighbour’s roadside planters. This plant seems to offer flowers all year long! The whole plant is edible and soothingly medicinal – if it’s Malva. If it’s a Lavatera then the leaves and flowers are also edible though the medicinal qualities are far less than Mallow.
I believe that this is Slender Speedwell (Veronica filiformis). Its a pretty little plant with forget-me-not style flowers, which is edible and medicinal. The ladybirds were having a field day on it, munching through aphids, not yet killed off by cold weather. Here’s a useful and inspiring blog post about Speedwells, which may be of interest.
And here is one of the easiest and most useful herbs to grow in Amsterdam. Calendula officinalis. You can save the seeds and they’ll reward you handsomely next season, add the flowers to cooking pots (it’s called a pot herb for this reason) for colour and bitterness, make healing oils, ointments, lotions, lip balms, dyes, soaks etc from the leaves and flowers. It’s a magical plant. Here it is still flowering along my street, in another neighbour’s pavement garden pot. If you’d like something very simple to grow and safe (well, within reason of course) then I’d go for Calendula.