We are exploring the plants we have either discovered on our property during 2013, or that we learned new uses for this year.
You can find Part 1 of Wild Edibles and Medicinals 2013 by clicking the link.
Here is the next installment of plants:
Passionflower – (Passiflora incarnata)
Now here is a show stopper. Wild flowers are great and beautiful in all of their varieties, but this one really stands out. It is just too unique to blend in with any other of our local wildflowers.
When we found this, I had no clue that Passionflower grew in the wild like this – let alone here. I have a memory of my mother showing me some once, but it was at her employment, which was as a botanist at a large amusement park.
Nevertheless, here it is. More commonly known around here as Maypop, the vine will produce a small edible fruit. Bugs and such must have got ours, as I have yet to see one.
As for usefulness, besides the fruit and beauty, the whole plant is medicinal. The dried or fresh parts can be used in a tea to treat anxiety and insomnia.
If all you want to do is look at it, great. The fruit is the larval food of several butterflies. Double bonus, flowers to look at that do not just attracts butterflies, but grows them as well!
Eastern Black Walnut – (Juglans nigra)
This guy gets a bad rap. Maybe he deserves it, maybe not.
The trouble comes in the form of juglone, which is toxic to many other plants and to animals as well. The juglone can be found in the husks of the nut, roots, and leaves. Because of this, many plants find it difficult to grow near Eastern Black Walnut.
However, the flesh of the nut itself is perfectly fine and can be eaten and cooked with just like an English Walnut.
This is prolific on our property, despite us being on the very edge of its natural habitat, so we are looking to make the most of it that we can.
The husks can be harvested to produce a natural die for fibers, such as wool. The wood is highly valued. And, while controversial, the leaves can be fed to animals as a type of dewormer. It was, in fact, the most favored treat of our goats (we sold the goats recently).
Longleaf Pine – (Pinus palustris)
Go figure, we have pine trees in Mississippi. Who knew. From what I understand, any true pine tree (not just a conifer) can be used as mentioned below.
What I did not know, until my wife, who has been researching medicinal herbs, enlightened me, is that the needles are chock full of vitamin C. According to my own light research it has many times the amount of vitamin C than orange juice.
Now, I am not 100% sure I could get over the smell of pine while I am drinking (just being honest here) – but one cannot help but acknowledge the health benefits. Apparently we are surrounded by a way to combat the winter snuffles.
Perhaps combined with a little local honey it would not be so bad.
Check back at this link for more of our Wild Edible posts!