Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wildflower Wednesday- The Poisonous, the Edible and the Blue

Some of today's pictures were taken at home and others on the Vestal Rail Trail.

Before I dig in, the usual warning:  be careful if you decide to pick/eat any wild plant.   Use a guide, or better yet, be taught by an expert who knows what he/she is doing.  The life you save could be your own.

The first plant could be (in a way) considered a wildflower - since right now it is in flower.  But pokeweed  is known more for its leaves, edible in the early spring.  The mature leaves, and the berries these flowers will develop, are quite poisonous.

Many people associate pokeweed with the south, but I've seen it in various places here in Upstate NY.  It just doesn't grow as big as it does in Arkansas, where I made its acquaintance.

This plant is growing in a place in my front yard where it gets a lot of shade. It's grown there for several years.  We end up pulling it up (there isn't enough to harvest for greens) each year and somehow it keeps coming up.

The leaves, by the way-I've eaten them and they are pretty good.  But they are a lot of trouble to prepare.  In Arkansas, some people would pick them and sell huge bags:  which would cook down to almost nothing.

There are also some medicinal uses given for this plant - I certainly would not try to do this myself.

This next flower is growing right outside my front door.  It has teeny tiny blue flowers with five petals and a yellowish center.  They remind me of forget me nots but I have something I've called forget me nots come up in early spring, with slightly larger flowers.  I spent a lot of time tonight trying to google his plant and I am just not sure.

Speaking of blue, I decided to revisit the chicory.  Our chicories (blue sailor) are so prolific this year.  They are blooming their little hearts out.  These are an import, and are quite an interesting plant.  I finally got a picture showing their beautiful blue.  They are both edible and medicinal, although I'm not sure how truly edible the wild variety is.  I've never tried to find out.

Last but not least is this huge wildflower plant, the Common Mullein.

This plant is medicinal, although (again) I have never used it for this purpose.

Next week:  upstate NY starts to drift towards fall, even as we celebrate summer.


  1. I have such respect for folks who know and use wild plants and flowers! I have a friend who knows and uses them. I'm a city girl and wouldn't trust myself as far as I could throw ANYTHING. But I love reading and learning about it. Thanks!!

  2. I am a firm believer that we should grow and EAT the plants native to the countries in which we live. A lot of this tribal knowledge has been lost. Thanks for sharing and keeping knowledge going.


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