Archive | June, 2013

Seeing some early summer

29 Jun


Today let us look at some plants noticed while I was foraging, starting here with Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), I decided to lift his little hood so you could see him there.


I don’t know the wild Ribes clan very well though I suspect this must be a young Bristly Gooseberry (Ribes hirtellum).


Dwarf Red Blackberry (Rubus pubescens)


Some succulent Dandelion greens, these leaves were well over a foot long and very tender. Click on to notice the group of snails enjoying a snack on one of the leaves on the left side of the photo.


I must show this photo as it is an open Yellow goatsbeard seed-head again though here the parachutes are hauled in straight to protect themselves from the rain, it is interesting to see the natural intelligence of plants in their movements.


I did gather some Milkweed  flower buds which I will post on later, but lastly here is a rather rare pinkish Yarrow that I encounter today, mostly in my neighbourhood the local Yarrows have white flowers.


Yellow Goatsbeard is set to jump

26 Jun


Yellow goatsbeard open seed-heads look like giant dandelion.


This one is Tragopogon pratensis


Here is Tragopogon dubius, I am collecting the seeds from both of these forms of Yellow Goatsbeard before most of the seeds blow away.


I’ll be sprouting many of these though a few will be left to produce young roots and leaves to be eaten in the late fall.


In the Maritime provinces of Canada usually you will find a wild member of the pea family growing beside Yellow Goatsbeard and the photos today show no exception.

Favorite green, Live-forever

17 Jun


Since the late 70s (Sedum telephium) Live-forever leaves have gone into more of my spring and summer salads then any other green. In those days the only place I found Live-forever was where ostrich fern fiddleheads also grew near my local river.

On the land surrounding the Tantramar marsh Live-forever is much more common in damp old fields, thickets, forest and even tall grass as we kind of see today if we look closely. (click on for better view)

Live-forever in some soils produce bitter leaves, though in the Tantramar area I haven’t found any as bitter as the commonly used romaine lettuce, plus Live-forever can be stir-fried as well.


That’s enough green only,  here are some Aronia shrubs in blossom with a little more green and why not some blue too. ciao

Large-leaved Aster (Eurybia macrophylla)

16 Jun


Approaching someone’s home garden of Large-leaved Aster.


The best time to notice Large-leaved Aster is the month of June in eastern Canada. The best time to eat the cooked leaves of Large-leaved Aster is in the month of May.  So today I’m locating large beds of this perennial plant in areas close to where I live or frequently travel in preparation for observing the plant through its different stages as it grows and then returning in late April to start gathering the young tender leaves while they are still shiny and around 4 inches long. I may also gather  the seed heads after flowering in the fall to see how this plant grows from seed inside the house or in the spring outdoors in my garden.


A look at a young plant as this aster bed seems to be expanding outward in this area.


The 3 leaves on the left are acceptable for cooking, but the 3 leaves on the right though of similar size would be leathery to eat.


Here is another local animal who is fond of Large-leaved Aster and the Ojibwa hunters were well aware of this and dried Large-leaved Aster leaves and smoked them as a deer charm.

Goosetongue (Plantago maritima)

15 Jun


This very edible seaside plant is common in salt marshes and many other coastal environments included the clay banks rising from sandy beaches as shown below. The perennial goosetonge grows all the way up these salt spayed banks and a short distance into the field, if one is present.


Goosetongue can be added fresh to salads or cooked for 10 to 15 minutes and served as you would green beans. It is one of the most popular foraged greens in Atlantic Canada known by a few different names such as seaside plantain, goosetongue and passé-pierre.


Here is one from back in the salt marsh. ciao

Sea Rocket

14 Jun


Sea-rocket (Cakile edentula), this member of the mustard family is one of my favourite wild plants  for summer salads and stir-fry.  It is best to dice the fleshy sea-rocket leaves up into small pieces as they have a horseradish flavour only milder and saltier. This plant needs to be experimented with a bit as I see few recipes around for it and it seems a natural for fresh salsa and possibly as a pesto ingredient.


Sea-rocket often grows in patches well out onto sandy beaches, usually being the closest plant to the high tide line so it is very salt tolerant.


A healthy patch of Sea-rocket. This plant grows on both the east and west coast of N.A and also in some areas along the Great Lakes


Here are some (un-tasty) sea-rocket seed sprouts, I suspect only one sprout will likely survive here packed this close together, but luckily for many of these seedlings they will be coming home with me to be potted to produce seeds. These sprouts are from the bottom half of a 2 part seed pod as they remained attached to the parent plant and become buried in the shifting sand over the winter,  the upper pods on these plants are somewhat rocket shaped and often separate from the parent plant and are transported from the beach to  shores possibly great distances away. Oddly the sprouts and older leaves of this annual are not near as enjoyable to eat as the leaves in between these 2 stages of growth.

Just to the right of the sea-rocket seedlings are a few (darker green) Orach plants which are another good seaside edible which I’ll do a post on later.

Spring Oyster mushrooms

13 Jun


Pleurotus populinus, finally some spring oyster mushrooms which have a soft pleasant almond aroma, these can be found on trembling aspen  and possibly  other poplar trees, this oyster is much rarer than the Oyster mushroom which appears very commonly on sugar maples in the autumn in the maritime provinces.


Egg and flour coated Oyster mushrooms are quite tasty fried up with a little sea-rocket in your dip.

Sunny side up

12 Jun


A skate egg, I often see the dried-out black skate egg cases on the shore line, this green one with a yolk similar to a hen’s egg was an interesting surprise.


Skate egg  amongst some local previously owned  mobile homes.


A big maritime wave to you.


I think they’re done, there was a lobster cannery around Cape Jourimain many years ago and this was its boiler, I suspected this was something of a train at first glance.


A Lighthouse out on the point, lots of interesting plants around the beach and salt marsh areas which I’ll do a post or 2 on later.


A closer look at the lighthouse, it was a pleasant time in the light rain. ciao

Don’t slip in the mud

7 Jun

DSC05525 I’ll work my way from the edge of the salt marsh back to the main dyke focusing on a few plants along the way, actually I’m standing here on what remains of a very old dyke and I can’t judge its possible age, though they were being constructed out here as early as the 1670s. If you click to enlarge the photo below you will notice the muddy banks are quite steep on the edge of the marsh.


A patch of the controversal and somewhat edible Seaside Arrowgrass (Triglochin maritima), there are way to many factors involved to promote Seaside Arrowgrass as a wild edible plant to get out and forage for on the east coast of N.A., It is though a pleasant dark green to see out here today and it is in flower so have a look, but study this one well before you every consider trying its few edible parts as the green leaves and flower stems are possibly toxic.


Here is a view of some Seaside Arrowgrass flower stems.


This plant above is a popular edible salt marsh green known locally as Goose tongue and also Passe-pierre (Plantago maritima), notice the flat fleshy leaves with the sunken central ridge, it has a similar flowering stem to Seaside Arrowgrass though the stem is usually smaller and appears much later in the summer. It is wise to know these 2 plants apart ( Triglochin maritima and Plantago maritima).


Almost back to the dyke and here as expected are some Sow-thistles (Sonchus arvensis) which were popular and healthy greens in Europe for thousands of years before being introduced into N.A. around 1810, hey that’s when my kin folk arrived over here, I wonder?


Think I’ll make a soup and maybe do a sow-thistle ferment, in coming weeks again I’ll return to the salt marsh as there are quite a few very good wild edibles coming up soon out here. ciao for now and then

riding the winds

6 Jun


Timothy grass and wild horseradish together on the ridge above the marsh, click on the photo to take notice of the plants and also you can see the windmills at the Nova Scotia border a few miles away. Wild Horseradish competes well in the wind and tall grass. The photo below is a 45 degree turn to the right which takes you to more wild Horseradish and out into the head of the Bay of Fundy.