Wild Caraway and kin

20 Jul

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Caraway seeds are now ready to be gathered in the Maritime provinces as Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) is in full bloom. In the photo we see a group of already cut Caraway stems laying on the ground. Most places Caraway grows (including here in the high marsh) a dangerous relative or 2 is most likely close by so get to know this family well before you start gathering this or any wild edible carrot relative for food.

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Here we see some young green Caraway  leaves laying on top of the mature Caraway stems. This plant has edible roots, leaves and seeds. I like to chew the seeds and grow and eat the young shoot leaves.  Caraway (Carum carvi) was a popular plant in southern Europe and Asia for thousands of years and does also grow very well in the north as it has become quite popular in Germany and England in more recent centuries.

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Water Hemlock and Caraway are both members of the carrot (Umbelliferae) family and luckily they flower and mature at different times. Here we see the mature brown stems and seeds of Caraway in the bottom half of the photo with the poisonous Water Hemlock with white flowers in the top half of the photo.

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A closer look at the upper parts on a Caraway stem with seeds and the taller poisonous Water Hemlock still flowering in the windy background.

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Another carrot family member a few miles down the road side, the common vegetable Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) in its second year flowering stage. Water Hemlock is again growing right beside its cousin Parsnip only this time it is the smaller plant of the family.

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Parsnip is quite noticeable with its yellow flowers though Dill another family member has yellow flowers,  I should also mention you will need to wear gloves if you want to collect Parsnip seeds at the end of the summer due to potential strong contact dermatitis with Parsnip’s toxic leaf sap.

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Farther down the road Queen Anne’s Lace AKA Wild Carrot (Daucus carota), the direct ancestor of our orange colored carrot of today.

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A few more miles to the dykes edge where we see another Umbelliferae has like Caraway already gone to seed, the difficult to see here Scotch Lovage (Ligusticum scothicum)

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Back home, the last of the carrot family to be shown today, Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) which I believed was (Myrrhis odorata) for several years, this plant is rare to find in the wild in N.B. except here in my yard where it roams quite freely. There are lots more Umbelliferae family members you see on a regular bases along roads, in flower and vegetable gardens, at the grocery store and restaurants. ciao

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