Tag Archives: evening primrose

Evening Primrose

11 Nov

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Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) still remains a common plant here in eastern Canada and I suspect the folks who lived here thousands of years ago were very fond of this health plant.

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This is usually the time of year I gather this plant though I do enjoy the yellow flowers in salads during the summer. The whole plant is edible and my favorite part for eating are the boiled roots which become very soft textured with a pleasant flavour and a peppery aftertaste.

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Evening Primrose oil which is a well known herbal product is made from Evening Primrose seeds either grown commercially or gathered from the wild, so here we are looking at a stem with the 4 chambered seedpods.

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Here I’ve opened a couple of chambers to show you the brown seeds which can be used as a peppery condiment.

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These still green basal leaves are what you’re looking for if you’re interested  in the large roots which can be harvested from these first year plants as long as the ground isn’t frozen and the 2nd year stems haven’t begun to grow. All the above photos were taken around my shed, this plant grows in a variety of areas including roadsides, railway banks, gravelly soils along brooks, drier areas near salt marshes and disturbed soils.

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I usually freeze the leaves for winter use but this year I’ll dry some to use as a pepper replacement. This plant was taken to Europe in the 1700s and was given the name the King’s cure-all, so it must of proven to be a beneficial plant in its new homelands.

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Above are a couple photos of Evening Primrose in flower taken this summer. ciao

Summer salad arrangements

14 Jul

DSC05662Here are a few wildflowers blooming in my area today.  The first one above is Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) which is only considered by a few foragers to have edible flowers, so do plenty of research before trying this one. Our native to this area Impatiens capensis is smaller with different colored flowers, both are known to have edible seeds which have exploding seed capsules which are a fun challenge to gather.

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Himalayan balsam is kind of rare to see growing in the wild here in my area, but is considered an invasive in the UK.

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Fireweed with flower buds, (Epilobium angustifolium) is a common plant in the Tantramar marsh.

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Here is Fireweed with some open flowers.

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Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

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Here we see the Evening primrose growing along the train tracks for a mile or so running through the marsh with a young groundhog using the rail as support while watching the traffic on the highway.

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On the way home a stop to gather some elder flowers, (Sambucus Canadensis) Elderberry is not a very common plant in my area.

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A look at an Elderberry bush, if you’re from the east coast of Canada and are just starting up an interest in Elderberry flowers you should  become familiar with the plant shown below.

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Here is a wet field of approximately 20 acres which is covered with the very poisonous Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata). It often grows quite close to Elderberry bushes and can grow to 6 feet in some sites, so learn the differences between these 2 plants before gathering Elderberry flowers for the first time in the Maritime provinces.

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A closer look at the typical 3+ foot Water Hemlock with white flowers to the left and behind the pink wild roses. ciao

Cool to be green

9 Dec

DSC05299Shepherd’s Purse seems to produce the year’s best tasting and largest leaves in December in our yard. The life cycle from germination to producing mature seeds ready to start it all over again can be within a 3 week span. It would be hard to find a place on earth where Sheperd’s purse couldn’t grow as it can even stand up to the intense heat of the tropics as well.

DSC05301Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) is a European plant I noticed growing quite wild here in Canada as it has spread its way around our yard. The folks who lived in our home in the 1960s planted some rather hardy edible, medicinal plants which were usually planted as ornamentals during those years though these plants are re-emerging as plants of interests due to their useful and self-sufficient nature, which makes them idle northern permaculture plants.

DSC05306Here are a couple sweet cicely roots ready to be eaten raw, the roots at this time of the year have a hardy anise flavour which I find make a tasty nibble and breath freshener. The leaves are less intensely flavoured and can be used in teas or as a sweetening agent.

DSC05303Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a very common native wild plant, here we see the first year basal rosette leaves.

DSC05304Another first year evening primrose with  the pink root several inches out of the soil which is a common sight in the Maritime provinces of Canada. Evening Primrose is a rather interesting edible and medicinal plant which is found in most disturbed soils and at the edges of salt marshes as well, the leaves are very peppery and I have used them medicinally in teas, the flowers are good in salads and roots have a taste I’m fond of though the slimy texture prevents them from becoming a popular vegetable. Evening Primrose seeds are a well known source of GLA.

DSC05310Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) seems to be as green as ever during these days when temperatures are dipping below the freezing mark much off the time. Still exploring new ways to enjoy this very aggressive lawn plant other than the usual medicinal tea mixes.

DSC05309Another chilly night  approaches with Jerusalem Artichokes  in the slow cooker with some onion and dried King Bolete (boletus edulis), this recipe will continue to be a favorite on our supper table, as long as you can dig where I’m coming from. 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

Floodplain food and friends

10 Apr

Here are a few photos from a walk  along a river floodplain this weekend. These are vibrant areas even in the early northern spring and I really enjoy the energy flowing in these spots, always lots of activity, and small animal dens.

Ostrich fern fertile frond

baby Ostrich fern fiddleheads

Goldenrod insect galls

In the bottom central area is an Evening primrose stem with opened seed capsules and in the background plenty of wild cucumber vines.

young Red-belt polypore

Staghorn sumac

Not 100% sure what this plant is? It is pretty though. Not far from here I seen a Mallard swimming beside a pair of Canada geese, as I moved closer to the group it became obvious three is company four was a crowd as the geese got quite cranky at me, so I moved on without taking a picture.

With my camera I won’t get many wildlife photos, plants, trees and fungus are more my speed thought occasional a creature may approach me or as in this case a groundhog allowed me to come within 60 ft before he retreated down under. ciao for now

Cool local produce

25 Feb

Initially my thought was to collect some Jerusalem artichokes and also to bring a few hopniss tubers inside to grow as house plants.

This area is a section in our yard I devote to some of my favorite wild plants and also a few hardy self-sufficient others which inter-be in this location. Below is a summer view of this area.

Since the ground was still frozen on the snow-covered areas, I decided to check out some of the plants located near the edge of the surrounding buildings.

Here is the biennial, evening primrose.

Some sweet cicely under icy water.

Lastly near the foundation of the house some Jerusalem artichokes were obtained for supper.

You can click on the photos to get a closer look, also in coming months I will revisit this wild garden area to share and possibly introduce many of the plants which were not visible in the summer photo above, this will include mints, woundwort, hopniss, caraway, sweet cicely, orpine, chives, stinging nettle, yellow goatsbeard, sea rocket, orache, seaside plantain, mustards, smartweeds, sorrels and surprisingly quite a few more.

If your a wild food gatherer, a little indicator garden like this one can be helpful in choosing where and when to plan some of your wildcrafting excursions, especially if you are travelling some distance to your collecting grounds, this one has been most helpful to me, I can assure you. cheers for here