While I was out photographing for updates to our bushfoods & bush medicines page, I found that most of the Boxthorn bushes (Lycium ferocissimum) where I was wandering were in full fruit. Boxthorn is an edible weed, a prime candidate for delicious berries and it was a bounty that I couldn’t pass by. So I spent half an hour braving the thorns to get enough berries to make a jar of Boxthorn jam. For more info on this prickly customer, check out this page where I go into more detail.
Portulacaria afra is a plant found in many gardens. It’s hard to kill and asks so little that we take it for granted as an ornamental. It goes by many names in many places, often named the same as other plants, so it gets a bit mixed. I’ve heard it called ‘Money tree’, ‘Fortune plant’ , ‘Jade plant’ , ‘Pig plant’ , ‘Porkbush’ or just ‘that thing by the gate’, We got our two many years ago because it is supposed to bring money to homes who have it by the entrance. We got two, just to make sure. Maybe they need to be bigger before the money comes… Anyway, I’m posting about it because a lot of folks don’t know that it’s edible. The thick, green leaves have a lemon like taste and bite. They are cooling and refreshing and remind me a lot of Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) in their consistency and ability to turn to mucus in the
I’m having a little talk at the Australian Plant Society Autumn Plant Sale on Sun 22 April at 1pm. It’ll be at Stirling Angas Hall, Adelaide Showgrounds (enter off Rose Tce). I’ll be doing my usual carry on about foraging for local bushfoods, edible weeds and wild herbs, so come along, buy some plants, listen to some interesting speakers (I’m not the only one speaking). My spot is for up to an hour, so come along with lots of questions to help us fill the time. I’m sure I’ll be able to make something entertaining up on the spot if I can’t answer them.
There’s so many folks I run into lately who are suffering from constant pain. Most of them are on some heavy duty pharmaceuticals and don’t like it. I decided to jump the gun a little today and make up some Wild Lettuce (or Prickly Lettuce) – Lactuca serriola tincture for them. Actually, I’m not allowed to use the word ‘tincture’ so, let me say ‘Prickly Lettuce infused alcohol’. I think that should be OK. By ‘jumped the gun’, I mean that I made it a little earlier than usual. The plant is at its most potent when flowering. The patch we collected from today had a few flower heads forming, so it was close enough. I’ll make more later. Mercy, as always, was full of advice about which bits to use. She’s usually right about most things, so I took her word for it. We made up what will become a litre and a half of potent, pain killing liquid
Your’s truly made a bit of a carry on about edible and medicinal weeds today at the Gawler Sustainable Living Festival this morning. All the plants I spoke about were harvested from the roadside in between our house and the fair. I wanted to let folks know that this stuff is really out there at arms reach. The whole day was great. The festival keeps getting bigger every year, thanks to the efforts of the great folks at the Gawler NRC. I think everyone enjoyed it…
Well, it looks like I’ll be at the Sustainable Living Festival at Pioneer Park in Gawler at about 10.30. It’ll be an early rise for me on a Sunday, but I promise to eat a healthy brekky and be there on time. What an I doing there? I’ll be rabbiting on about edible weeds and wild food, of course… Maybe I’ll see you there…
On Sunday, I took my first local weed walk, I called it ‘Food Underfoot‘. I’ve done a few walks further away from Gawler, but thought that we need to make a name for our town. I decided to host it in Henry Chenoweth Park which now has the dubious honour of having the most edible weed species of any of our local parks. Is that a good thing? It is to me! H. C. Park is a pretty, open area bordering the South Para River and sits between the Gawler Community House and the Elderly Centre. It is only 5 – 10 minutes walk from the heart of Gawler too. It is a shortcut between two parts of town and a favourite of dog walkers and cyclists. I knew it would be a bit of a gamble, with the day being on a long weekend and also the day that the football grand final was being held in Melbourne.
Here’s something interesting… We ignore this plant, Goosefoot (Chenopodium album) yet it contains more goodies than its relative, Spinach. I dug up a ‘weed’ from the footpath and planted it in the middle of this bed. Around it I planted more traditional vegetables and herbs, then neglected the bed, giving only a sprinkling on the hottest days. The Goosefoot is thriving, while the only the Parsley survives to keep it company. Says a lot, doesn’t it? I’ll be growing this instead of Spinach from now on. Here’s a conservative breakdown of what’s in the leaves… http://nutrition.healthgrove.com/l/17185/Goosefoot-Leaves