Pickerelweed (US) Pickerel Weed (UK)

Flower pickerel weed

Beautiful. Grows in clumps all summer long here along the edge of our tidal pond and even creates wonderful blue and green islands in the middle of the pond. Grown from seeds and rhizomes, they are regularly planted in water gardens here and across the pond. Young shoots, leaves and seeds are edible. Make sure you are collecting from clean water.

 

“Saddlebags” of milkweed pollen! Busy bee!

insect bee and milkweed

It was exciting for me and the busy bee to find some milkweed blossoms the deer haven’t eaten yet! The milkweed pollen our bee is collecting looks like butter! I wonder what it tastes like. We ate young green milkweed pods once over 40 years ago. As I recall, you need to boil them twice, changing the water. Warning: Please Google before you try them. They tasted like string beans.

Wild Lettuce may really be “wild”!

flower wild lettuce 1

I tried eating the leaves of Wild Lettuce and wondered why it was named wild lettuce since it didn’t taste like anything you’d want to include in a salad. But because it is pretty easy to recognize, I thought I’d share a photo or two. Then I Googled it. Now I know why Wild Lettuce is called “wild”!  Another name for it is Opium Lettuce! Since you’re supposed to swear you are over 18 to get necessary details, I will leave further research to you other than to say I learned that some Indians use the herb to enhance the vividness of dreams. They believe that induced dream states provide more information about reality than the conscious waking state.

flower wild lettuce 2

It’s a tall, sturdy plant with cool seeds. Both the flowers and the seeds look like they belong on a dandelion. So they must be related.

Imagine wild mushrooms with your scrambled eggs

Mushroom puffball 4-7

Much to my surprise I found my first fresh puffball of 2017 on 4/7.  They are called puffballs because their dust-like spores create a brown cloud when the mature mushroom bursts. That makes it fun to kick them. The biggest puffballs contain 7 trillion spores! Unlike other mushrooms, the spores are produced internally. The mushrooms are delicious before the spores form. When people collect puffballs, they cut them in half to check the interior. If the flesh is all white and free of spores, it can be eaten raw or sliced and cooked in butter.

In Tibet puffballs were traditionally used to make ink by burning them, adding water and glue to the ash and then pressing out the excess water.

Eastern Redbuds are native trees!

Tree redbud 1

One of the most beautiful flowering trees, the Eastern Redbud, is in bloom now. I think it should be called the pinkbud or pinkish-purplebud.  Some people call it the Judas-tree. Even though it is called the ‘Eastern’ redbud, it is the state tree of Oklahoma. It’s lovely pea-like blossoms grow in clusters along the branches. Redbud flowers and the young bean-like seed pods (legumes) are edible. I didn’t know that! I’ll have to try them! (I did try the buds. They were ehhh, not bad, just ehhh.)

Tree redbud 2

Notice how the flowers grow right from the branch.