Last week the Ground-elder was fully covered in my blog for all its useful attributes and this week I hope to tackle all the remaining ones in the last family of all the Dicot families in Stace.
It is a large family with 50 genera although many genera have just the one native species and only a few having a small number of different species.
This post is again ‘colour coded’ for hopefully ease of reading! White and blue background for general information. Mostly this time there is a green background for edible and other uses. Pink background is when there is a warning for poisonous, which can also sometimes mean medicinal!
Several of our root vegetables and herbs belong to this family, although these are cultivated varieties, not always native (NN in list below) to the British Isles. I would as an exception like to talk about those towards the end of this post as they are fascinating to me and hopefully to you too. You can also follow the links below their names to find out more about their edibility (often as flavouring or herb) and medicinal uses. I’ve used Wikipedia a lot again as they have such valuable information about the individual species about their uses.
This week a relative small family in our regions; the Plantaginaceae or the Plantains.
The Plantaginaceae is now in the 121st family in the latest 4th edition of Stace, behind the colourful Veronicaceae (Speedwell family) and before the obscure Hippuridaceae (Mare’s-tail family). It consist of just two genera, Plantago with 7 species and Littorella with just one species.
Each species is a much more humble plant, not really shouting out for attention as some of our plant families covered in earlier blogs.
The generic name Plantago is derived from the Latin for sole and it should not be confused with the other unrelated plantain which is a starchy banana.
In my eyes it is an attractive genus with boldness in its various leaf outlines and interesting flower spikes.
Find out about all their uses to us people and our wildlife on the next page.
In my last post we covered all the more woody plants of this large family, which are most important to us for mainly their fruits. This week I like to talk about their much smaller members, which also have an important part to play for especially our wildlife but also surprisingly in our medical history or present day use.
There are again several genera represented in the British Isles of the smaller, herbaceous and occasionally sub-shrubs of the Rose family. See for more on the next page.
The Rosaceae or Rose family is a large and important family containing trees, shrubs, sub-shrubs and herbs. Although occurring worldwide, the greatest numbers of species are being found in the North Temperate region.
In Stace it is family 48, so relative early in the evolution of the Flowering plants. It has 36 genera but several genera + species are introduced garden plants and of course are easily spread by the seeds in their fruits which are attractive as a food for birds in particular, spreading the plants far and wide into natural areas.
As this blog is not about ornamental plants but is about our useful ‘weeds’ I will use the order of genera mentioned in ‘The Wild Flower Key. This has less of those ornamental genera and species as mentioned in Stace. It has also lumped all the trees and shrubs together followed by the herbs.
This week we’ll start with all the native trees and shrubs in the Rose family.
Foraging has been done for centuries but is hopefully getting a bit of a revival, people like to have a connection with nature again, especially with their daily exercise in lockdown situation and what a better way to do this then to go out there and forage!
So today I would like to introduce you to a document received from fellow botanist Mike Poulton, who used to do training sessions on foraging for wild plants. It was published before in my blog in 2018 but now with the aid of Gutenberg editing it can be made even more attractive. Added with several of Mike’s plants are separate links to my blog posts where you can find more info also on that plant as well as its related brother and sister species!
The edible parts of the native plants are listed with their common names and categorized in 5 sections: leaves and shoots (1), herbs (2), edible flowers (3), fruits and seeds (4) and roots (5).
A brief description of the weeds with pictures by my partner Matt Summers, unless stated differently, follow below this introduction. Most weeds have been covered in a more detailed post in earlier posts and then mostly about their whole family for which there is a link on the start of each plant description.
Weeds are not all bad; they are just inconvenient for us human beings.
Maybe we were just going to plant another more attractive plant in that place or maybe we desperately needed that exact spot for making a new drive for all our vehicles we need to park in front of our house? Or another more common reason is to just remove it as it looks aesthetically not pleasing to our tidy eyes!
Don’t worry I can just be as bad sometimes and not have a really proper reason for removing a weed…
But this is the exact reason why I write about them and try to make us see all their known good uses they got. All their bad reasons for existence are mentioned already on many websites and this is hopefully not why you came to my site in the first place?
This is a one off blog about some weeds encountered in tropical countries. Most of those are exotics from tropical climates although you will be surprised that their are also temperate plants to be seen!
My blog now got a big brother in the form of a short video each week about ten popular, or not so popular weeds!Watch the video below.