Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wildflower Wednesday-Edible Plants

 I am not an edible foods expert - I have a little knowledge from back years ago when I lived on acreage in Northwest Arkansas - and I wanted to share some edible wildflowres now in bloom with you.  Actually, a couple of these are not wildflowers at present, but rather the post-flowering flowering parts.  Now, that's a mouthful!

But first, a tiny tribute.  The first picture isn't of wildflowers, but rather are day lillies belonging to my neighbor who passed away on July 4th. But, I did want to talk about naturalized day lillies.

One variety, tiger lillies, have naturalized in this area and are in bloom now.  There is a patch right next to the flowers in the next photo below.  Did you know that most parts of this plant (not just the flowers) are edible?

I have eaten the flowers of the day lilies in our yard, which are only now coming into bloom.   Mine aren't orange but I suppose the taste doesn't differ that much.  My neighbor's lillies remind me of tiger lillies.   This is a nice article about tiger lillies, discussing (a little) how they can be used for food.

Next, chicory. These blue wildflowers, on almost bare stems, are everywhere this time of year in full sun areas of upstate NY, especially on roadsides.  I took this picture next to a place where my spouse and I like to breakfast.  (To the left, outside the range of my camera, were some tiger lillies.).   It came out a bit faded because it was taken at noontime on a very sunny day but these flowers are quite blue.

Sumac - I've posted pictures of sumac along our local rail trail, the Vestal Rail Trail, the last two weeks.  Now, the berries are reddening up.  As I mentioned in a previous post, red sumac berries are edible.  My spouse and I used to make sumac tea (very tart) and also used to mix it in with fruit juice when we made certain jellies.

 Cattails.  (the brown upright "things" in this photo.) 

Not only are cattails edible but have many other uses.  I have not personally eaten cattails.  The swampy part of our land ( a small pond) was almost impossible to get to through the gumbo muck that surrounded it although when I was younger I would have wished for another way to get hold of some.

And finally...a surprise on the Vestal Rail Trail - a daylily flower.  This is definitely a cultivated variety, so how it got there is a tiny mystery.

And now, a special treat for my readers.  We have so much in bloom right now, I hope to put up a second, "bonus" wildflower post later this week.  Stay tuned.  (this isn't an absolute promise, but I will try my best.)

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