Archive | June, 2012

Not all they’re cracked up to be

30 Jun

The folks on my street should back me up on this one, I do not mow the lawn very often, but today I gave it a whirl. What my neighbors don’t know and I hope you’ll keep my secret is, I avoided cutting the so-called weeds in the sidewalk cracks.

This is a bit of an eye test so you may choose to click on to enlarge the photos, but in this one shot we have from left to right (1) yellow wood sorrel, (2) dandelion greens, (3)  plantain, (4) pineapple weed and (5) sheperd’s purse, so a nice group of edible and medicinal plants which I won’t recommend you using from a site this close to a street, but these are potential collecting locations for seeds to be grown inside or in gardens or wild gardens.

Here are the same plants from a different angle. Sidewalks and gravelly train tracks have been generous providers of plant seeds from plants that are rare this far north such as milkweed and purslane. So I think I’ll collect some yellow sorrel and pineapple weed from a patch I have at the edge of my garden, which I didn’t mow today as well and try them combined in an ice tea as it’s 90 plus here. Wishing you a very weedy weekend. ciao

Blooming Aronia

23 Jun

Here we are viewing an area where at least 10 different edible wild fruits are available.

Let us focus on Aronia berry today as it is now in full bloom, to notice the blooms click on the above photo, Aronia is the dominant plant in this area and some of the local folks do gather blueberries and cranberries but leave the rest of the various fruits including tons of Aronia for me and the birds and other critters to enjoy. Aronia is in the same family as apples and roses and is considered by many to be a very healthy fruit to eat indeed. There are some interesting stories on how it became a very useful food to folks in some areas of Poland during the war years and is still quite popular there today.  If you have an interest in medicinals plants Aronia may somewhat surprise you as it is native to North America, but became acknowledged for it healthyness to at least part of its potential once it was introduced to Europe. Aronia berries are being grown commerically in Iowa in the last few years, check Aronia out.

Here is a photo from a post I did in March which shows the berries which resemble blueberries when used in muffins. ciao

Western goatsbeard has rolled into these parts

16 Jun

Actual my intend was to see if any wild oyster mushrooms had appeared on the aspen trees in my area, but the wild oyster plant relative western goatsbeard stole the show instead.

Western yellow goatsbeard appears quite common along the main railway line heading north through eastern New Brunswick, farther east in Nova Scotia I haven’t noticed this plant yet.

In this photo we have a western goatsbeard in the early stage of seed ripening along with the common eastern variety of yellow goatsbeard on either side. There are a few differences including the western Tragopogon dubius has much larger carrot-like roots, swollen stem just below the flowers and less purple coloring, longer green bracts than the yellow florets, longer seeds, so it will be interesting to taste the differences as well. I suspect it will be eastern Tragopogon pratensis for the spring shoots and western Tragopogon dubius for its salsify-like roots in the fall or spring. I’ ve collected both types of Tragopogon’s seeds today and will ripen the seeds a bit before sprinkling them in a less polluted area. I’ll keep an eye out for any other stragglers heading this way. ciao

Lost brook cave

10 Jun

This was my first trip to the Lost brook valley which features some gypsum and limestone caves where many thousands of bats hibernate for the winter, unfortunately some campers a few miles from the caves mentioned possibly all the bats died inside the different caves this year due to the white-nose fungus. So I followed a path as the campers directed and took a few photos near one of the caves. When I returned home I checked for info on the white-nose fungus and the campers were quite accurate in their figures as researchers did say 100% death rate in the caves was their estimate, normally around 6,000 bats enter the caves and the fungus was initially detected in this area 2 years ago.

This area has some plants species which are rare south of the arctic though today I will just show a few common ones to most rivers of the maritime provinces in Canada.

The second year stage of evening primrose, (Oenothera biennis), a fine medicinal and edible plant. This healthy one in the photo could easily reach 7 feet high near the end of summer.

I have not gathered or used this plant before, Purple avens (Geum rivale) though I may try it this year as its roots when boiled are supposed to have a flavor similar to hot chocolate once sugar and milk are added.

The light green leaves in the center of the picture are Orpine (Sedum telephium) which soon I will do a whole post on, as this plant I suspect will be of interest to some of you.

Good old Yellow goatsbeard, has these petals hauled in like a rain hat, I must admit I could have made good use of one today as well. rain for now

greens and things

2 Jun

A few things created a pause and a photo shot.

Here is a medicinal plant I don’t forage for, though I always enjoy seeing it in the woods, it was common in an area of large tooth poplar today, the plant is a ginseng relative known around my neck of the woods as wild sarsaparilla, Aralia nudicaulis The visible plant consist of the light green umbrella of leaves in the center of the photo and the 3 small ball-shaped flower heads below.

I reached down and touched the underside of this group of red-belt polypore and was surprised to notice they were holding a good supply of water drops and it hadn’t rained for a day or so?

I have shown a young Clintonia plant at a good harvestable stage for salads around a month ago, today the flowers are open and the leaves look very lively though long past the stage of tastyness.

A dizzy little slug was hanging by a thread around 5 feet from the ground, I extended my hand to help him down but my offer was not accepted, so I took a few photos, most turned out blurry as he was spinning at a slow but steady pace. ciao

I’ll be back around soon.