Traditional and Modern Use of Cleavers

Cleavers earned its name thanks to the sticky plant’s tendency to ‘cleave’ to human clothing or animal fur. However, this common weed is also a surprisingly versatile wild edible. Common Name Cleavers. Scientific Name Galium aparine. Family Rubiaceae. Botanical Description of Cleavers Flowers white, in clusters of 2-5 together, rising from the axils of the … Read more

Traditional and Modern Use of Rosehip

Dog Rose (also known as Rosehip), is a climbing wild rose with white-pink flowers and a soft subtle scent. Its deep orange-red fruit, the rosehip, is the most commonly used part of the plant, although dog rose has many other uses in food and medicine. Common Name Dog rose Scientific Name Rosa canina Family Rosaceae … Read more

Traditional and Modern Use of Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle is a surprisingly helpful plant in food and medicine despite its stinging hairs, as seen below. Common Name Stinging Nettle Scientific Name Urtica dioica Family Urticaceae Botanical Description An upright plant with dull green, serrated leaves, covered with stinging hairs. The flowers are small, green and catkin-like with no petals. Status Perennial. Native. … Read more

Traditional and Modern Use of Elder

Elder is a valuable wild edible tree or shrub. Its berries have a cornucopia of uses. Common Name Elder Scientific Name Sambucus nigra Family Adoxaceae Botanical Description A small tree or shrub growing up to 10 m. The bark is brownish grey, deeply furrowed and gnarled in appearance. The leaves are long, oval and slightly … Read more

Traditional and Modern Use of Chickweed

Chickweed is a familiar garden weed recognisable by its tiny white flowers. The seeds were once fed to birds, which is how the plant earned its common name. In pastimes, the plant was a common potherb and had various medicinal uses. Common Name Chickweed Scientific Name Stellaria media Family Caryophyllaceae Botanical Description A fast-growing weed … Read more

Traditional and Modern Use of Sloe/Blackthorn

Sloe also known as Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is a thorny hedgerow plant with dark purple berries often sought after in autumn to make warming country wine or gin. The small tree or shrub also has a firm place in folk history and medicine in the British Isles. Common Name Blackthorn /  Sloe Scientific Name Prunus … Read more

Traditional and Modern Use of Water Pepper

As I write this I am sitting on a bench. Opposite me is a large patch of water pepper. I write with an ancient, primitive tool. A pencil that creates my scribblings on chequered paper in my journal. This morning, water pepper rises up amongst the Himalayan balsam as I sit on a bench overlooking a … Read more

Traditional and Modern Use of Laver Seaweed

Laver seaweed has traditionally been harvested in Scotland, Wales and Ireland to make laverbread, and cultivated in countries such as Japan, Hawaii and the Philippines as a sea vegetable. In East Asia, laver is one of the most commonly used seaweeds for human consumption. The name Porphyra is the Greek word for a purple-red colour, … Read more

Traditional and Modern Use of Purple Loosestrife

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) can be used as food and medicine. Below you’ll learn the parts used, harvest time, nutrition and other ways humans use this amazing plant. Common Name Purple Loosestrife Scientific Name Lythrum salicaria Family Lythraceae Botanical Description Stems erect, 2-4 feet high, slightly branched, glabrous or softly downy; leaves opposite, or in threes, … Read more

Traditional and Modern Uses of Bramble or Blackberry

A popular bramble fruit, blackberries are often picked in late summer to autumn to make jams, jellies and pies. The leaves of this versatile plant also make a pleasant tea. Bramble is one of our most commonly used wild edibles. Common Name Bramble or Blackberry. Scientific Name Rubus fruticosus agg. Family Rosaceae. Botanical Description Trailing, … Read more

Traditional and Modern Use of Wild Garlic

The leaves of wild garlic harvested before flowering have a delicious, sweet and pungent taste. Excellent raw in salads and as pesto. Dry or dehydrate leaves to make crisps. Cooked leaves are a good vegetable, and they lose their pungency. All parts of the plant make good lactic acid ferments. Steamed leaf stalks with buds … Read more