Tag Archives: jewelweed

Ah, Wood Nettle a

20 Jun

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A typical foraging adventure where things just didn’t pan out as expected, a bit to early for the plant I had in mind though this new floodplain I’ve started exploring this year is turning up some interesting plants like this Wood Nettle – (Laportea canadensis).

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The greenery has grown a couple feet since my last visit, now there are many Wood Nettle peeking through the Sensitive Ferns and there are a few others like Poison Ivy I’m unfamiliar with and I’ve read it can give you a few different looks within a same area so I’ll have to be quite – rashional – in my approach so a few tools are in order like these gloves which I always carry with me anyway.

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This one I didn’t bring but it as a rule conveniently grows around plants which can irritate your skin so I’ll keep a few juicy stems of Jewelweed – (Impatiens capensis) around just in case things get uncomfortable. As it turned out I didn’t run into problems though I did place the stem juice on my skin just to stay familiar with the smell and feel of this jewel of a weed, quite refreshing.

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A few sunny light green Wood Nettles and lots of  sunny light green Sensitive Fern.

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Probably 75% of the plants in this view are tall healthy Sensitive Ferns.

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A slightly drier area and we have some large Wood Nettle plants, none have any flower parts opening up yet also in view are some Dryad Saddle mushrooms on an Elm tree straight ahead in the distance, you’ll need to click on the photo to see them.

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Now I’m a bit surprised that there a few areas on this floodplain with large colonies Wood Nettle covering several acres so I’ll gather a single leaf per plant and will have a year’s supply for tea, juices and soups in just a few hours. Back home the plant appears to have much milder stinging irritants as compared to the Stinging Nettles in the Urtica group I already know well.  The raw leaves de-activated of the stingers tasted better than the raw Urticas but raw and de-activated in fruit juice it didn’t have the same invigorating qualities as the Uriticas. There are a few medications which interact unfavorably with both Wood Nettle and Stinging Nettle so do your homework before using this food and medicinal. ciao

Investigating new forageables

19 May

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On the floodplain of a small brook near Havelock NB I’m gathering a few edible and medicinal plants and its interesting to run into some new plants which call for some investigating. I gathered some of my favorites like the fiddleheads (above), stinging nettle and jewelweed.

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Jewelweed

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Jewelweed to be prepared to soothe insect bites, poison ivy rash or other skin irritations. (notice the water beading on the leaves)

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This plant in the center of the photo looks similar to stinging nettle which is in large patches all around here, but this plant’s leaves are much rounder and there are a few other differences so I’ll wait till it flowers in a month or 2 before I can with confidence verify this plant as Wood-nettle (Laportea canadensis) which is a plant I have some interest in.

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This plant from the carrot family is also new to me and its early growth resembles that of the very deadly poisonous Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata), but it is even more likely a new invasive plant to New Brunswick, Woodland Alexanders (Angelica sylvestris) which is edible. The jury will be out for a while on this one. I suppose I could have ruined the mystery by returning to my car to bring back a spade to check out the roots which should help in identifying though that would have been a long walk and I would prefer to identify this type of plant using only above ground field characteristics if possible, then at some point I will need to check out the root system when I have become comfortable with all the above ground field characteristics.

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Here is one of  last year’s stocks, some measured over 7 feet tall which doesn’t count either Water Hemlock or Woodland Alexanders out. I’ll be back to check these plants out as they grow, I love researching this stuff, but in the end you must be 100% certain without question before ever taking a bite of any new plant or mushroom. ciao