Plant & Tree

Yellow Archangel

9th May on grassy woodland edge

9th May on grassy woodland edge

close up of leaves and flowers

close up of leaves and flowers

Flowers close up

Flowers close up


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Yellow Archangel starts appearing at the end of March in woods and grassy woodland edges and hedges.

St. George’s Mushrooms

It is (or was before midnight), St.George’s Day today.

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A couple of days back we found some St.George’s Mushrooms growing on someone’s mown lawn next to the driveway.

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Jack by the hedge

Garlic Mustard

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Lovely in a salad and cooked lightly in the pot. Great flavour, growing in hedgerows and on verges. Don’t pick it from a busy road.

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Its just about to come into flower now. Soon it will turn bitter, so best get out and pick some.

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And here it is in flower. We found it bolted right after Beltane, it’s peak. It is now in mature old age, no longer the lad, but now the venerable one.

Scurvy Grass

Scurvy grass was dried out and taken to sea by sailors to help cure them of scurvy. It is common near the coast.

Some people say its edible but we think it tastes like glue.

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Scurvy Grass, Mid-motorway, 6th April 09

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Scurvy Grass, Mid-motorway, 6th April 09

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These pictures were taken in the middle of a dual carriageway near Petersfield.

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Dalmation Bellflower

This plant grows on walls and has purple flowers which i will take a picture of soon.

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Southernwood

Southernwood

An aromatic plant with a saucy background. Known as ‘lad’s love’ or ‘maid’s ruin’ (depending on your perspective), Southernwood is an aphrodisiac. Young men would rub it on their faces both to attract the ladies and to make their beards grow.  We will be doing some scientific field testing soon. Reports will follow.

The plant will help to ease menstrual obstruction and can be combined with Mugwort and Pennyroyal. It makes a relaxing addition to a bath and discourages moths from clothes (it was calle ‘garde-robe’ in French).

The old Welsh Physicians say “Take Southernwood, and pound it well, and add thereto some wine or old mead, strain well, and let the patient drink a portion thereof night and morning.” This was said to be a cure for those who talk in their sleep.

Southernwood yields a yellow dye from the twigs.

The plant likes rocky ground.

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Woad

Woad

Woad is the plant that makes the blue dye worn by Celtic warriors of Briton.
braveheart

You remember Braveheart?

The leaves are fermented in order to obtain the blue paint which as well as making the warriors look frightening, was also effective in treating their wounds.

A poultice of fresh leaves can also be used for treating wounds.

Woad was the main blue dye in this country until Indigo was imported from eastern lands in 1660. It was used to dye cloth, wool and skin blue. A pink dye is yielded by the younger leaves if you use an alum mordant.

Gather the leaves in the plant’s second season, before she flowers.

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Good King Henry

This plant is part of the Chenopodium family, most of which are good edibles. You might know Fat Hen, the sister of Good King Henry. It makes a good salad when the leaves are young, and can be lightly steamed as it gets on a bit.

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Soapwort

Soapwort

As the name suggests, soapwort leaves can be boiled in water to make a soap froth containing a good amount of saponin for washing with. In the summer it has pinky white flowers.

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Leaves of the Spring Trees 1

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Grazing has begun in earnest over the past few weeks. The Hawthorn trees have been in leaf for a fortnight and are extremely tasty.

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Nibble on the little bunches of leaves, and as they come into flower over the next month, you can eat those too. The leaves get more bitter as they get older, so take the opportunity now. Hawthorn is heart medicine, regulating blood circulation and pressure, and keeping the ticker ticking.

Elder leaves are also appearing, and the newest leaves are sweet to eat, giving spring immunity as the seasons change.

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Look at where the Elder is growing, making sure the ground seems clean with good soil. Do not eat large amounts.

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Happy grazing.