Coltsfoot monograph for foragers

Tussilago farfara Coltsfoot Asteraceae family “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” ~ John Keats (1795-1821) If you were to go to an apothecary in the 17th and 18th Century, you would recognise this flower immediately from the signage outside. We know from Roman times that this herb was one of our ‘go-to’ remedies…

Hawthorn monograph for foragers

 Crataegus monogyna / C. leavigata   Hawthorns Rosaceae family “The art in medicine consists of amusing the patient whilst nature cures the disease.” ~ Francois Voltaire (1694 – 1778) These two plants, recognised as one, are truly remarkable. As common a tree as you can get, these spring flowering, summer-beckoning mainstays of the hedge, offer us unique…

Where to Forage in towns and cities?

Good question! The Answer…everywhere and pretty much anywhere! This article hopes to show that no matter where you live, there are opportunities to reap wild food rewards. Most of us now live in towns or cities. Some 80% of humans now live in the urban environment. Although not known for having mile upon mile of fecund…

Know your carrots (part 1)

 A guide to probably the trickiest plant family you can get to know This plant family is one of the most common plant families you will encounter when foraging for food in Britain. It also provides us with some of our staple vegetables, as well as a range of culinary herbs and spices. The world’s…

Poisonous and toxic plants

Poisonous plants: To learn them is to leave them! “Where observation is concerned, chance favours only the prepared mind” ~Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) When starting out, plant identification books should always, always be used when foraging for anything. Safety is paramount. If in doubt, leave it out! The subject of toxicity is an interesting yet by…

Oats. A monograph for foragers

Avena sativa & Avena fatua Oats / wild oats Poaceae family “When young, sow wild oats…When old, grow sage” Cereal grain crops continue to be the dominant component of human diets, comprising more than a third of what we eat. Oats is my favourite grain because it can be used as a preventative and curative…

Garlic Monograph for foragers

Allium ursinum, Allium sativum Wild garlic, Bulb garlic Liliacea family Only comparatively recently have the British public embraced garlic, a plant renowned globally for its culinary uses. Before the 1980’s it wasn’t used anything like it is today. In this discussion I deal with the similar culinary and medicinal aspects of both our native wild…

Burdock Monograph for foragers.

Arctium lappa / Arctium minus Burdock Asteraceae family Although appearing as one species when first meeting them, these two species reveal differences that become increasingly evident as you get to know them. The greater burdock (Arctium lappa) and lesser burdock (Arctium minus) both have a long-standing tradition of use as a medicine and food. These…

Red clover monograph

Trifolium Pratense Red Clover Leguminosae / Fabaceae family “Life can be easy, it is only a question of choosing between solutions and illusions.” This plant is one of numerous leguminous plants to grow on the British Isles. Found almost everywhere, red clover helps feed the soil as well as us. Although only small in stature,…

Monday Morning Monographs

I know, it isn’t Monday…but every Monday for the past four weeks, and for the forseeable future, I haver posted a monograph on one of my favourite wild plants, born from research done when at Uni and beyond. They have been published on my facebook group page but will now be pubished here first. You never know,…