Chinese chestnuts (Castanea mollissima, Fagaceae) are a common yard tree in the southern Appalachians, and can easily be found this time of year, with their spiny burrs and nuts falling from the trees. The Chinese Chestnut is not affected by the chestnut blight, which has so strongly affected the American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) and chinquapin […]
Partridge berry is an evergreen trailing vine which stays close to the ground as it weaves its way over the roots of hemlocks and other conifers. I have seen it growing in the shade of mature forests in acidic soils, often near streams, from Florida to New England. It takes its sweet time, growing slowly […]
Lambs quarter is one of the most common weeds in gardens, backyards and fallow fields, following human habitation closely. If you add horse or cow manure to your garden you will have a steady supply of these tasty wild greens for most of spring and summer. Easy to recognize with its alternate, triangle-to-diamond shaped leaves […]
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata, Brassicaceae) is one of our earlier wild spring greens. With a flavor slightly reminiscent of mild arugula and roasted garlic, it makes a nice addition in salads with milder wild greens like chickweed and violets. I find that its flavor doesn’t mellow when cooked, as do many other brassicas, and so […]
One of my favorite breakfast dishes; a heart-friendly, wild foods/herbal version of the classic toasted bagel – Violet leaves and flowers and chickweed greens with a raw garlic olive oil sauce atop a whole grain bagel. Both chickweed and violets are rich in anti-oxidant vitamins and the violet flowers are colored by bio-flavanoids. Both wild […]
I first met this beautiful plant as “Green headed coneflower” while exploring the rivers of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I had learned about using its roots as an immune stimulant, similar to Echinacea roots, from my teacher, Michael Moore. I was camping and felt the first whispers of a possible cold so I decided […]
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, […]
The daylily is not only a versatile wild edible, but a beautiful and easy-to-grow perennial garden flower. It is native to Asia and has escaped cultivation over most of eastern North America. Daylily is a familiar sight alongside streams, roadsides, and fences. Chances are you are already living close to a patch of this showy member of the Xanthorrhoeaceae family.