Week of October 14, 2014 - Weed Walk - Dandelions and Plantain

Monday, October 13, 2014 7:40 PM | Anonymous

Weed Walk


Plantain (Plantago major)
Plantain is most at home in disturbed places, especially places where people walk. Here is a shot of a study plantain crowding up against the pavement’s edge at the visitor’s center. And here is a shot of a plantain proclaiming herself in the lawn, with lots of ripe seed clusters just waiting to be harvested. There is nothing better than plantain to stop swelling and pain from a bee or wasp sting. In fact, all boo-boos – scrapes, wounds, rashes, blisters, even bullet holes – feel better and heal faster when treated with plantain.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
The queen of the disturbed places we call lawns is dent-de-lion. One photo shows a late blooming dandelion, with stubby leaves. Just across the way was another dandelion, one who was reserving her strength, feeding her roots, and exuding a loud “Eat me!” message. I think it is clear that we would choose the latter dandelion, the non-flowering one, for our medicine and our food.

Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceaus)
This relative of dandelion has leaves that make it look like a thistle, until you see the flowers. I found it growing happily here and there at the disturbed places we visited; always one or two, never in patches. In New Zealand, she is known as poo-haa, and treasured as an edible green. In fact, all members of the dandelion tribe are edible, though some are too bitter to be palatable.

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