Foraging plants and their uses; an easy guide by Mike Poulton

Nettle tops can be used as long as they look like this!

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 is a good, quick reference to the more useful wild plants for food!

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).

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Common Chickweed, Winter weed or Chickenwort! Part 1 of Caryophyllaceae (the Alsinoideae)

A typical sprawling plant of Chickweed (picture by I, Hugo – Wikipedia)

Chickweed or Stellaria media

is one of the weeds mentioned on the RHS site.

So a good reason for a post on this plant and its relatives!

It is a member of the Caryophyllaceae or Pink/Campion Family which is number 94 in Stace. 

I will be using a different flora than the usual Stace for this and the following blog on  members of this family, which is ‘The Wild Flower Key’ by F. Rose.  

The keys in this book are more straightforward.

The key to the main Campion family (Caryophyllaceae) is  subdivided in 6 more keys:

Don’t you just love all these common names?

We begin on the next page with the four last groups, which are the more weedy sorts!

The coloured backgrounds are blue for general interesting facts. Green for all sorts of uses such as food, ornamental, wildlife, etc. Pink for medicinal use or if the plant is poisonous!

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