Betony

Scientific name: Stachys floridana
Abundance: common
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
betonytuber.jpg

Plant and edible tuber
Betony.jpg

Betony patch (plants with the purple flowers are betony)
betony2.jpg

Close-up of betony flower.
BetonyFlower

Close-up of betony tuber. The tubers will be this large in the spring and summer.
BetonyTuber

BetonyTubers

Close-up of betony leaf.
BetonyLeaf

BetonyCloseUp

Sell your coat and buy betony!
-Italian proverb

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Betony

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.
BetonyTX
This map is VERY incomplete. Betony appears all through Gulf & East Texas.

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 solid 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.

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