Cherished water, teacher of infinite lessons and giver of life, May I possess the grace and wisdom to know when to rest in a shallow still pool and when to jump into the current’s strong pull. As I bump up against the temporary solidness of rocks and yield in resilience, I pray that I can […]
Oak Apple Galls make nice powder puffs, once they are vacated. Another lesser-known use is a wet willy- tickler, as demonstrated by the adventurous Megan Riley. These are some of the most common galls I see in the southern Appalachians, and can be found growing from various red oaks, such as the Scarlet, Red and […]
Yesterday we had a wild greens salad with dead nettles as one of the primary ingredients, thanks to one of my enterprising apprentices. Dead nettles (Lamium purpureum, Lamiaceae) is one of the first plants to flower in the southeast; sometimes even in January. Native to Eurasia, it has taken quite nicely to our fields, farms, […]
Sweet shrub or sweet bubbies (Calycanthus floridus, Calycanthaceae) is a fragrant shrub, found in the forest understory of rich hardwood coves, and alongside streams and rivers. Its range includes the southern Appalachians and piedmont. The origin of the name sweet bubbies is not entirely clear, perhaps referencing the historical adorning of breasts with the fragrant […]
If you’ve ever picked any part of milkweed, you couldn’t help noticing the deluge of copious white latex spewing forth. If any of the white sticky substance made contact with your skin, its gluey texture and tenacity was soon evident. Milkweeds latex deters herbivory through chemical and mechanical means. Imagine being a little monarch caterpillar […]
Common milkweed was one of the few plants I could recognize as a child, thanks to my nature-loving Grandpa Joe, who appreciated the monarch butterflies. (More on the monarch/milkweed relationship in a subsequent post). My mother encouraged it in her front yard for the same reason, much to the chagrin of her suburban neighborhood association, […]
A couple days ago while gathering some giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida, Asteraceae) with my apprentices, we were attacked and bit by some very uppity ants. Now, ant-insect relationships excite me, and ant-plant relationships even more. Naturally I was intrigued, especially because we don’t usually have biting ants in the southern Appalachians. Upon closer investigation, […]
Milky Oats is the medicine made from the unripe seeds of Oats, the same plant we grow for the edible seeds.