Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring chickweed

I've decided to forage for old botanical illustrations to supplement this year's blog. Not that my point and shoot pictures were not great, but, good drawings help people learn plants better because they can caricature a plant, highlighting the identifying features. Botanical illustrations also often capture a plant at various stages of development. Although I haven't found an early illustration of daylily that shows its "shoot" stage, where it looks like a green haircut dude buried in the ground, hair poking through. But I did find a nice illustration of flowering chickweed:

For most of the foraging year, when I spot chickweed it is just stems and leaves, no flowers. This spring though, it is out in abundance and it is a matted white flowering ready-to-go salad. The leaf shape is a helpful indicator: like a spade on a deck of cards. Chickweed (called so because it's eaten by chickens, so I read) is Stellaria media, Stellaria means star in Latin; the white flowers look like little stars.

I am continuing my investigations of daylilies. Specifically the fact that I am allergic to them. Raw..no good. Had a tiny amount the other day, felt it a little. So, had some for breakfast today, cooked, and feeling fine. More to come on this.

I weeded my first urban garden this past weekend and almost already had an "incident". A gardener came in and asked me my name, but it wasn't like she was curious about my name, I could tell what she really wanted to ask me (what with my backpack open and my spade out) was if I was a member. But I distracted her with plant chatter ("all the weeds are up..yummy wild onions...") and then ducked behind the shed and hopped the fence out of her line of sight. Anything to avoid a conflict, even when I know I'm in the okay zone. I yanked plenty of chickweed and evening primroses for people, saving them a few moments, and aerating their soil for them.

Here's what those primroses would have become had no one touched them:

Instead, they are pickled, in my backpack, and waiting for me for lunch.

The spring begins!

1 comment:

Jon Reisman said...

David, was it the evening primrose roots you gathered? Have you found a difference between late fall and early spring roots in general?