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July 25, 2011

Picture of the week (Bluebells)

Filed under: Picture of the week — Tags: , — Marcus @ 2:00 am

Going back through my pictures from this spring I see that I never posted this picture.  Sometimes when I pull the pictures off from my camera and go through them I am shocked by them.  Walking around the island on the Chagrin River where I took this picture, there were bluebells everywhere, at one point I walked through a field of them, it was truly stunning.

Normally I only take 2-3 pictures of each plant as I go by, but I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of the different bluebells as I ran across them, and I am glad I did take so many pictures.  The picture featured in the post today was one of the last ones I took while I was out.

Of course I would choose to post a picture of BLUEbells and have it be one of the few pictures where the flowers were mostly pink 🙂

July 18, 2011

Picture of the week (Milkweed)

Filed under: Outdoors,Picture of the week,Wild Edibles — Marcus @ 2:00 am

The theme this week is going to be Milkweed, it is fast becoming a favorite plant of mine, easy to identify, very edible, and has pretty flowers to boot. I will have some info up later this week on how to prepare young milkweed pods to eat.

Besides being human edible, milkweed is the primary food for the caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly, it also provides them with a natural defense since every part of the milkweed plant is extremely bitter, and in turn the caterpillars and the resulting butterflies are so bitter that other animals do not want to eat them.

I took this picture a couple of weekends ago at Paul & Jess’ new farm.

July 14, 2011

Mystery Plant of the Week (Identified as Hepatica)

Filed under: Outdoors — Marcus @ 8:32 pm

So I am getting quite the collection of plants I have taken pictures of that I haven’t identified yet, so I think I am going to start posting some of them up as I get a chance.  The last couple I have posted people seemed to really enjoy trying to figure out what they were (And I got answers to all of them I have posted so far!).

I took pictures of this plant on November 6th while hiking out at the Allegheny National Forest with Paul and Jess.  This looked like a plant that should be edible, and I figured it would be an easy find because it was a fairly unique leaf.  I had figured something in the clover or sorrel families, however I made two passed through my wild edibles books and some sites I use online and came up with nothing.

This plant was unique because it had such large leaves for what seemed like a grass like plant, also the fact it had the three distinct lobes on each leaf.

Anyone know what this one is?  Unfortunately I haven’t run into it again this year to see if it flowers or anything else distinct, all I have are the three pictures I took last year.

Update 7/14/2011: That was quick, I got an answer on Facebook that this was Hepatica (Also known as liverleaf or liverwort).  After doing a quick search I can easily confirm that is correct.  From looking at pictures online it appears that Hepatica has beautiful flowers very early in the spring, I will have to keep an eye out for them.  Also as I always am looking for wild edibles, I checked up on this one, historically it was used for liver issues, but that is more to do with early medicine using plants that look like the part that was sick, and since the leaf on this plant has three parts, the same as our livers, it was used to treat liver issues.   Thanks Beth for correctly identifying this plant for me!

To see a nice writeup about Hepatic, please check out the following link: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/hepatica_nobilis.shtml

July 11, 2011

Picture of the week (Honeysuckle)

Filed under: Outdoors,Picture of the week,Wild Edibles — Tags: — Marcus @ 6:52 am

So once again, its been awhile since I have posted, same reason as before, summers are very busy for me 🙂

This weeks picture is of a honeysuckle bush that is loaded down with berries.  I found this at Paul & Jess’ new farm when I went out for a walk before anyone else was up on Sunday.  It took me awhile to identify it, all the matches on the fruit led to pin cherries or choke cherries or some kind of cherries.  However all cherries have a toothed leaf which this one does not.  It seemed that all the matches I found for the leaf was not close to the fruit it is bearing.  I ended up just searching Google for “Trees with red berries” and an hour or so later I had a pretty solid idea this was a honeysuckle.

So the big question, is it edible? Depending on the source you range from delicious to deadly.  There is a LOT of misinformation out there on honeysuckles from my research, and it seems to come down to the fact that there are quite a few species of honeysuckle.  The general consensus on sites I trust say that the berry is mildly toxic, it won’t kill you, but it will probably upset your stomach and maybe give you diarrhea.  There are a couple of the honeysuckle species that are edible, most notably Lonicera Caerulea (Blue-berried or Sweetberry honeysuckle), this appeared to be one of the only ones with blue fruit, but I did not research that much since the ones I found had red fruit.

If you do want a treat, from my reading, when the tree is flowering you can pick the flower and there will be a dot of nectar at the base of the flower that tastes like honey, it seems that you can eat this from any of the honeysuckle family.

So in summary, very pretty, bright fruit, but for the most part inedible.

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