Scientific name: Stachys floridana
What: tubers, leaves, stems
How: tubers raw, cooked, or pickled; leaves & stems in tea or smoked
Where: shady undergrowth, lawns
When: during cool seasons, especially winter
Nutrional value: calories from tuber, antioxidants in leaves,
Dangers: plants can reproduce from even small section of tuber making them invasive
Plant and young tubers
Plant and edible tuber
Betony patch (plants with the purple flowers are betony)
Close-up of betony flower.
Close-up of betony tuber. The tubers will be this large in the spring and summer.
Close-up of betony leaf.
Sell your coat and buy betony!
Large patches of betony plants can be found in local forest from late winter until mid/late spring. During this time the tubers are growing, reaching full size of over four inches long. Not every plant produces a tuber, you need to dig up quite a few to find them. The looser the soild the bigger the tubers will grow. These plants readily reproduce from bits of tubers and roots and so are considered to be invasive.
Betony has a long history of being an herbal "magic bullet" capable of curing many ills. It's high tannic acid content helps it staunch bleeding; assorted alkaloids and antioxidants supposedly give relief from fevers and headaches along with improving overall blood circulation. In Europe it is believed to help with issues with the stomach, liver and gallbladder. It was ingested as a tea, herb, and also by both smoking and as snuff well before the arrival of tobacco.