Tag Archives: teasel

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 71

Meadowsweet, buds still developing. I’ve been waiting for them to open into almond scented flowers for several weeks now. Still good for harvesting. Delicious as a tea and beneficial for stomach disorders and pain relief.

Here is my favourite tonic herb in flower: Leonurus cardiaca, Motherwort. My park harvested tincture is developing nicely on my kitchen shelf at present. So easy to make and so little of the herb had to be harvested. I used part of this plant for my tincture and there’s no evidence left to see, just a healthy and beautiful plant for everyone to enjoy.

Next is another pain reliever, but far too potent for me: Poppy, Papaveraceae sp. On a recent meetup group Lime harvest, a member told me how her French Grandmother used to swear by a cough syrup which she brewed down from poppy flowers and sugar. Isobel has made this her self and says it’s beautiful, works a treat but has an unfortunate blood pressure altering effect so she had to stop using it. Not so surprising as the poppy family is the source of morphine. I heard of another contemporary Poppy remedy this week on the Green Peace Walks I led. Boiling up the flowers in water, a decoction, as a heroine substitute! This was witnessed by a walker and not made by any of the Greenpeace walkers, I hasten to add. Not really my cup of tea, but certainly a useful last ditch pain reliever if ever there was an urgent need. The dosage of herbal remedies is often quite a fine art. The amount required for a medicine like effect, depending upon time of harvest, freshness of herb etc. That’s why I stick to mainly tonic herbs, they can be taken for a reasonably long period without negative effects building up and they work more by supporting health rather than suppressing illness. I think that Poopy remedies must be particularly subject to this variation and are thus seen as unsafe by almost everyone. A lot of people enjoy the seeds as a bread ingredient. By harvesting seeds from small patches of Poppy such as this one, the chance of Poppy plants next year is greatly reduced.

Next today is Veronica, also called Speedwell. I have never used the plant but it’s a useful and very beautiful one. I’m not exactly sure of the genus of Veronica but its similar to Veronica spicata.

There was more mowing going on in and around the park today and also I noticed that a sprawling poisonous White Bryony had been carefully removed, from the Juniper bush I watch it climb. Perhaps also by the maintenance team? This poisonous plant remains and does look rather lovely: Birthwort.

Here is Teasel, now with fully formed and about to bear a pretty ring of tiny flowers around those distinctive flower heads. This plant shows much promise in the treatment of Lyme’s Disease. I like to drink from the water collecting leaf joints, on dewy mornings.

There were so many other plants around today but not enough time to write about them. I also met Joop, looking for the Spoonbill and a freindly local woman, also taking photos of plants, who has a children’s clothing range inspired by the nature in park Frankendael. What a lovely idea! Sorry, I forgot to ask her name, if she reads this perhaps she’d like to email me or place a comment below.

365 Frankendael day 60


Very early this morning I was out tasting dew that had collected in this Teasel’s “water cup”, the part of the leaf that joins the stem.  There had been a heavy morning mist over most of Amsterdam but by the time I got to the park it had been burned through by the midsummer Sun.  This Teasel (Dipsacus sp.) had quite a lot of water stored in it’s “cups” or “traps” this morning.  There are different ideas about why the plants are adapted in this way. Some think that the cup shaped leaf joints serve the purpose of trapping insects, perhaps to prevent them climbing the plant, perhaps which the Teasel then somehow digests and absorbs.  The trap/cup which I chose was high up, fresh and insect free. The water within it tasted delicious and set me up for the rest of my cycle.  Teasel is increasingly valued as a useful herb to help counter the effects of Lyme’s disease.


Next is the beautiful, if unextravegant, flower head of  a small Mugwort plant (Artemisia vulgaris).  This plant really is my Midsummer favourite.  So many uses, so common, so inconspicuous to most, so tasty and so much interesting associated folklore.  This plant grows as a welcome weed, beside a park planted tree.  Just notice the moon-like silvery grey undersides of the leaves.  A beautiful contrast to the dark green upper sides.


Lastly today is Brassica oleracea, Wild Cabbage.  Yes, it tastes of cabbage!  No need to harvest the whole plant though, this one is good as a cut and come again plant – cutt a leaf off now and again throughout it’s season.  Very tasty and convenient!

365 Frankendael day 45

It has rained all day and it although I got soaked through, it was a real pleasure to be out photographing and foraging this Full Moon morning when hardly anyone else was about in Park Frankendael.  I managed to harvest some gorgeous Elderflowers, Ribwort, Red Clover and Mugwort, without anyone casting me a glance of suspicion or sympathy!

Here are today’s photos:
Firstly, Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), it is abundant on in some parts of the park.  Here is a lovely patch with a dozen or so plants.

Next is Foxglove (Digitalis). What a beauty and so useful in times gone by particularly.  This is a poisonous plant and I think too rare in Amsterdam to harvest even if you knew what to do with it.

Now for my favourite of the day, Willow.  In fact two copiced Willows, one containing a lovely Garlic Mustard plant and the other just looking stunning, with light shining through a gnarled old trunk.  Perhaps it’s because Willow is such a water lover, or perhaps it’s the full moon energy, or perhaps neither but all the Willows in the park looked quite strikingly beautiful today.

Here’s the gnarly one:

Next is Elderflower.  Most flowers are in full bloom right now but some of the earlier bloomers are already going over and setting seeds within tiny berries.  Remember that Elderberries always need to be cooked to be safe and palatable. The flowers are different and can be eaten raw, although most prefer them cooked or infused, for various purposes.
Here is an Elderflower well on the way to making berries.

Lastly, beautiful rain filled Teasel (Dipsacus sp.). This plant is well known to Chinese herbalists but less so to those in the West. It has traditional applications in the treatment of muscle, tendon and join injuries and disease.

365 Frankendael day 36

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.