The Edible Weeds Among Us. Common edibles found in the backyard garden and other Not so wilderness areas. The difference between native and local.
The Edible Weeds Among Us Common edibles found in the backyard garden and other Not so wilderness areas.
The difference between native and local • Native plants are plants that have the origination in the geographical area described. Though they may have spread and adapted to other areas or zones. • Local plants are plants that thrive in, and can be found growing in a particular area regardless of the plants place of origin. • For this course we will focus on local plants as many of the edible plants in our area are not natives though the definitely thrive here. • Will identify which ones are truly natives to this area.
The loose definition of edible • Edible does not necessarily mean tasty. • Wild edibles come with a wide variety of flavors and textures that have been absent in our diet for a long time. • Some of the characteristics can be more intense with wild edibles such as • Bitter • Sour • Texture • Smell
Parts of the plants used • Arial parts • Roots, rhizomes, or bulbs • Barks • Seeds
Plants and Identification • I am not a botanist. • You take the responsibility upon yourselves to properly identify plants. • Plants that have potentially toxic look-a-likes will be shown. • Some plants have edible parts AND toxic parts. • Some plants are edible, but only when prepared correctly. • Seek out further instruction and reference materials.
Yellow dock. Rumexcrispus • Stout, hairless perennial from a yellow tap root. • 1 – 5 feet tall. • Leaves are alternate, lance to oblong shaped and have wavy margins. • Flowers on green spikes with single seeded fruit. • Seeds have 3 angled heart shaped bracts. • Leaves can be used in small amounts and have a slight sour and lemony taste. • Young leaves are best and make a good spring green. • Contains oxalic acid, and should be cooked though raw is alright too.
Purslane. Portulacaoleracea • Branching, low spreading, succulent annual. • To 1 foot • Leaves alternate and spatula shaped, smooth and shiny. Tips rounded. • Flowers yellow and stalk less. • Leaves and young shoots are edible raw or steamed. • Many people pickle the shoots. • Has a nice tangy taste with a peppery kick. • Has the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids out of any other green plant.
Cattail. Typhalatifolia • Perennial from creeping, tuberous rhizome, with pithy stems that are un-branched. • Up to 10 feet. • Sword like leaves, light green and 1 inch at base. • Tiny flowers in long dense cylinder at stem tips. • Rhizomes are dug and cooked to eat like potato. Must be cooked if picked during or after flowering. • Base of stalks can be pulled from crown and used like asparagus or celery. Best if steamed or sautéed. • New seed heads can be eaten like corn on the cob.
Dandilion. Taraxacumofficinale • Hairless perennial from stout tap root. Milky sap. • Leaves in a basal rosette of oblong to oblanceolate leaves, deeply lobed and toothed. • Familiar flowers in solitary head on hollow, leafless stem • Whole plant edible. • Young leaves are best raw, cook the older ones like spinach or put in soup. • Blanched crown tops are excellent sautéed or battered and fried. • Young root can be roasted like potato.
Common mallow. Malvaneglecta • Weedy annual • Leaves alternate and shallowly palmate, 5-7 lobes, margins are scalloped. • Flowers small and pink to white with petals notched on tips • Seeds in cheese like wheels covered by bracts. • Young leaves and delicious and mild fresh in salads or smoothies. • Greens excellent sautéed or prepared like spinach. • Seeds and bracts can be used in gumbos as substitute for okra. Can be eaten fresh as well. • High in mucilage and can be a little slimy
Plantain.Plantago major • Hairless perennial. • Up to 18 inches. • Leaves broadly oval in basal rosettes with prominent parallel veins converging at base. Bases rounded at thickened stalks margin wavy. • Flowers dense in elongated spikes. • Young leaves are good raw in salads, smoothies, or on sandwiches. • Older leaves should be cooked or steamed as they tend to be more bitter and tougher in texture.
Burdock. Arctiumlappa • Large leaved biennial. • 2-9 feet. • Leaves large rhubarb like, widely ovate, on long petioles. White and wooly below stalk is solid and celery like. • Seed enclosed in burr like head with hooked spines. • Young roots used as a stir fry vegetable in Japan. Gobo. • Young roots can be cooked like potato. • Stalks and large leaf petioles can be pealed and eaten fresh or steamed.
Black elderberry. Sambucusnigra • Deciduous shrub often lacking a main trunk. • Up to 25 feet. • Leaves are pinnately compound with 3-9 leaflets ecliptic to ovate. Tips pointed and midrib often curved. • Creamy white flowers in flat top clusters. • Berries appear blue but are nearly black and covered with a fine wax. • Ripe berries are used for jams, syrups and wines. • Must be cooked or may be toxic. • Contains cyanide compounds and must be heated to remove and destroy harmful compounds. • All parts of plant are toxic except fruits and flowers when prepared correctly.
Lambs quarters. Chenepodium album • Upright annual, grows upright until before flowering. • Leaves are alternate, roughly diamond shaped and roughly toothed. Waxy and mealy in appearance, white underneath. • Flowers are white to creamy, are small and radially symmetrical on dense cymes. • Young shoots with leaves and steamed or cooked. • Young leaves cooked like spinach. • Shoots can be pealed and used like asparagus. • Contains oxalic acid • Seeds can be used as flour substitute, or in a mush or hot cereal. • Older plants have strong undesirable flavor.
Golden currant. Ribesaureum • Deciduous shrub, upright. Stems smooth an without thorns or hair. • Leaves, light green with shallowly 3- lobed, lobes rounded. • Yellow tubular flowers, five parted with “spicy” fragrance. • Yellow to orange to red berries. • Fruits are delicious and tart raw. Can be used for jellies, jams and syrups. • High in vitamin C. • Easy to domesticate and bring home to the garden and domesticate for further production over the years.
Stinging nettle. Urticadioica • Perennial with stiff, stinging hairs, forming thickets. • Leaves opposite and mostly ovate, on angled stems, margins coarsely toothed. • Flowers tiny, and greenish in drooping clusters, • Leaves can be picked and boiled like spinach • Heat or drying evaporates the stinging acid. • Used in soups and as other spring greens.
Green amaranth. Amaranthusviridus • Upright coarse weed. Annual. • Leaves opposite and ovate deeply veined. Green to light green. • Flowers on elongates spike that are bristly and may droop. • Leaves eaten raw in salads , or boiled or steamed like spinach. • Seeds used like grain and used as such. • High in vitamins and has been used as a food plant for thousands of years.
Wild rose hips. Rosa woodsii, douglasi • Deciduous shrub, stems slender with straight prickles. • Leaves pinnately compound with 5-7 widely oval, hairless leaflets. Margins with gland tipped teeth • Flowers pink to rose. • Hips round and red to orange without sepal attached. • Hips can be used year round for food. • Seeds must be scraped out and then they can be boiled for tea or pounded and dried like any other dried fruit. • High in vitamin C and other beneficial vitamins.
Oregon grape. Berberisaquifolium • Evergreen upright or spreading • 2-10 feet. • Inner bark and roots bright yellow • Leave pinnately compound, leathery and holly like 5- 11 leaflets, flat and oblong with spine tipped teeth. • Flowers yellow at branch tips. • Berries blue to purple covered with whitish film • Berries used for fresh eating. Though can be sour and astringent. • Used for juices, jams, jellies, and syrups and wines.
Not All But Some • Plants included here are a some of the most easily identified and used native and local plants. • This list is in no way exhaustive, and further research can show a plethora of useful plants available in your own back yard.
Simpler offers a wide variety of services, including garden consulting, where Simpler Sam can visit your property and show you the edible and medicinal plants growing right under your nose, that you may have disregarded as weeds or other undesirables. These consultations include information on identification and the use of the plants identified.