Tag Archives: stellaria media

365 Frankendael day 197

One herb photo today – Chickweed (Stellaria media), taken in a tree pit of Lavender around a Pine tree, in Christian Huygensplein. Chickweed is a delicious peppery salad plant that is full of nutrients which can help us through the winter and can soothe skin which suffers from heated complaints (such as some forms of eczema). Chickweed is
powerful against itching and cysts. It makes a good juice, tea, straight raw or cooked food and is very useful in ointments.

Respectfully grab a handful when you see it invading a clean spot, give it a good wash, gently shake it dry and use as you wish! One super use if to infuse it in apple cider vinegar, perhaps along with Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris).

This little beauty of the herb world will be around through the depths of the Dutch winter, even if under snow, and is only really absent from the reach of urban foragers in the fight of summer, when it dries out and sets seed.

Look for the minute line of hairs down one single edge of the stem and the tiny white star like flowers.

Here’s a link to some historical uses and a link to a Susun weed post about this wonderful herb.

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.

Chickweed Amsterdam April 2012

Chickweed abounds!

Chickweed Amsterdam April 2012Chickweed makes a delicious and nutritious sandwich filling, it’s also plentiful, easily forage-able and available almost year round (it gets scorched and disappears at midsummer and has a slightly different form in mid winter but still tastes great).

It’s a popular medicinal herb, used as a tonic and for a multitude of ailments including skin complaints. It tastes fresh and peppery and it’s so successful that you are very likely to notice it as a”weed” in any plant pots or borders you may have. Birds love it, hence the name.

I took the photo this afternoon in my neighbourhood, the chickweed is growing in a city tree pit (aka dog latrine) so I won’t be harvesting this patch. But when I find chickweed on my balcony or in a nice clean area, I don’t hesitate to pick some for food.

If your not familiar with it use a good field guide for wild flowers to help with correct identification. Herbalist Susun Weed has lots of detailed information about this plentiful nourishing herb on her website.

As low impact lunch items go, I don’t think you can get much better than a weed which most people dig up and send for incineration here in town. If you haven’t already, please give it a try and let me know what you think.

Update:
Today I shared an exquisite meal at gastronomic restaurant Bord’deau in Amsterdam with my lovely and was delighted to find chickweed in one of the amuses! In the photo you will see a sprig of fresh chickweed nestling against beetroot and mustard ice cream. A perfect combination and what a great recipe that would be for the blog. The meal also included a sprig of what seemed to be rock samphire and many other seasonal herbs. Umm, no dinner required for me this evening.