Tag Archives: taxus baccata

365 Frankendael day 172

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Today I found some beautiful and extraordinary fruit, belonging to a female Yew shrub (Taxus baccata). I never fail to be fascinated by these poisonous wonders. The glutinous (and delicious) fruit flesh is wrapped around a deadly exposed seed. Quite amazing to see!

Yew trees are either male or female. Both are full of deadly toxins – throughout all parts of the tree. Yew has been revered by the British for millennia. Druids apparently built their temples next to them, Christians built churches next to them. It’s very unusual to enter a traditional British church yard and not walk beside an ancient (or young) Yew. I like that.

I was taught the secret of how tasty the flesh of the fruit is, some years ago by a friend who worked with trees. Since then I try to enjoy one or two of those sweet, fragrant, glutinous morsels each year. But it’s not a practice to undertake lightly or ever in the presence of children! The seed must not be broken or swallowed, it is highly poisonous!

In recent decades Taxus baccata has yielded Taxol, a cancer fighting drug, often used to treat some ovarian cancers. Here’s a link that may be interesting about the Yew tree and conservation efforts, in light of this modern use.

365 Frankendael day 78

We filled our pockets with small, sour, fallen apples in the park today. We met an interesting lady with her dog, who told us about eating Walnut leaves, Hazelnut foragers and Honingclaver (literally Honey clover, Sweet Clover, Melilotus spp.). It’s fine to eat Sweet clover in small amounts but as you’ll read in the link above, it can interact with some blood thinning drugs and no one should eat too much of this plant.

Today’s photos:
Firstly, Ground elder (Aegopodium podograria) springing up in the rain soaked, just mowed outer verges of the park.  A welcome sight, I love eating this plant and much of it looks quite stale in the other areas of the park.

Next up, Burdock flowers. As mentioned before, the second year plants flower and are not useful really. But use this sight in the urban wild to help you find first year plants perhaps.

Next a beautiful Rose, growing next to Frankendael Huis. So beautiful ans so many ways to eat them.

Here’s fragrant, digestive system soother Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria). Please see the day 72 posting for further details and links.

Here’s a plant growing in the pond behind Frankendael huis which I spotted on the recent Greenpeace walks in Amsterdamse Bos. It is known as Gypsywort in Britaian and Bugelweed in the US (Lycopus europaeus). I still need to learn it’s uses but am pleased to have found it in Frankendael today.

Here is a very large, sprawling and Poisonous White Bryony (Bryonia alba), making itself at home over a big old Yew tree (Taxus baccata), also Poisonous and steeped in folklore, mainy to do with the dead.

Do you remeber that ploughed up strip of parkland, next to Restaurant de Kas?  Well this is how some of it looks today.  It seems to have been sewed with a wildflower mixture and it has begun to look quite beautiful.

365 Frankendael day 16

It’s been a busy day as I went with my little girl to the Cryptoforest foraging expedition in Sloterdijk. We met some great people and plants there!

So today’s entry for 365 is mainly photos…

First up, Forget me not – yes it’s edible! I need to do more research but here’s a link to get your mouth watering if edible flowers interest you.

Next is highly toxic Taxus baccata, Yew tree; The plant symbol of death and yet giver of life to many with terminal cancer. Equally contradictory, it’s deadly seeds are surrounded by the most delicious fruit I have ever encountered. They are truely bewitching.

Above is Horsetail, looking great at the moment. It makes a great tonic tea for weak nails because it is high in the mineral silica.

Here’s a snail getting acquainted with a rose bush. It’s a good time to seek out your neighbour roses, ready for the flowering season.