Showing posts with label Pink Flower. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pink Flower. Show all posts

Barbados Cherry

Scientific Name(s): Malpighia glabra and other Malpighia species
Abundance: common
What: flowers, berries
How: flowers raw or tea; fruit raw, jelly, jam, wine
Where: landscaping
When: spring, summer, fall, winter
Nutritional Value: vitamin C
Dangers: none

Leaf Arrangement: Leaves are arranged oppositely along the branches.

Leaf Shape: The leaves are ovate to elliptical, typically measuring 1 to 3 inches in length.

Leaf Venation: Venation is pinnate, with a distinct midrib and smaller lateral veins.

Leaf Margin: Margins are entire, smooth, and sometimes slightly wavy.

Leaf Color: A glossy green, often with a leathery texture.

Flower Structure: The flowers are small and have a diameter of approximately 1 inch. They are typically arranged in clusters at the terminal ends of branches. Flowers have five club-shaped petals spaced widely apart.

Flower Color: The flowers are typically pink or rose-colored with a diameter of about .

Fruit: Produces a bright red, berry-like fruit, similar in appearance to a cherry.

Seed: Each fruit contains several small seeds.

Stem: Stems are woody, with a branching habit forming a dense shrub.

Hairs: There are no significant hairs on the leaves or stems.

Height: The plant usually forms a shrub up to 3 to 6 feet tall, sometimes taller under ideal conditions.

Barbados cherry bush.

Barbados cherry fruit.

Barbados Cherry


Close-ups of the Barbados cherry flowers.


Barbados cherry leaf.

Barbados Cherry

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.

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

Barbados cherries originally come from the Caribbean. When it was discovered a single berry contains the daily recommended dose of vitamin C it was quickly adopted by navies to help against scurvy and so planted in many places. The plant doesn't handle cold well, though it does fine in normal Southern winters if only a few hard frosts occur. They are evergreen, which increases their appeal in landscapes.

The flowers can be eaten raw or used to make tea. However, it is best to leave the flowers alone so as to maximize fruit production.
The fruit starts appearing in May and will continue to appear waves through the winter if the weather is mild. These berries range in flavor from somewhat sweet to very acidic, with the higher acid content also having the higher vitamin C. Eat the berries raw if they aren't too sour/acidic, otherwise use them in jelly, jam, juice or wine.

Many plant nurseries have Barbados cherries for sale. Plant in sunny, well-drained soil but do keep them watered. A layer of mulch will help prevent the roots from drying out. Single plants will produce berries but the fruit production will be much higher if two or more Barbados cherries of different varieties are planted within 4-16 feet of each other for cross-pollination.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Beefsteak Weed

Scientific Name(s): Perilla frutescens
Abundance: invasive
What: leaves, flowers, seeds
How: raw, cooked, tea
Where: shade, woods, borders
When: summer
Nutritional Value: leaves have fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, riboflavin; seeds have omega-3 fatty acids
Dangers: dried plants can become toxic to cattle

Medicinal Summary:
Leaves - antiasthmatic, antibacterial, general antiseptic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, emollient, expectorant, antioxidant; anti-inflammatory; antidepressant, and general tonic

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are arranged oppositely-alternating along the stems.

Leaf Shape: The leaves are broadly ovate to cordate, with a length of approximately 2 to 4 inches and a width of 1.5 to 3 inches.

Leaf Venation: The venation is pinnate, with veins creating a textured appearance.

Leaf Margin: The leaf margins are serrated or toothed, providing a slightly jagged edge.

Leaf Color: The top side of the leaves is typically green, while the underside may have a purplish tint.

Flower Structure: The flowers are small, tubular, and arranged in spikes or racemes at the tips of the stems. Being a member of the mint family, each flower typically has five fused petals and 4 stamen.

Flower Color: The flowers can vary in color, with shades of pink, purple, or white.

Fruit: The fruit is a small, nutlet or seed, produced after flowering.

Seed: Seeds are small, rounded, and may have a brown or black color.

Stem: The stems are square-shaped, a characteristic feature of the mint family (Lamiaceae). They may have a purplish tint.

Hairs: The plant has very distinctive hairs on the stem. Leave may have a fuzzy texture due to fine hairs.

Height: Perilla frutescens can reach a height of 1 to 3 feet, depending on environmental conditions.

Young Beefsteak Weed. The leave's flavor is excellent right now.

Mature Beefsteak plant.

Mature Beefsteak plant...note the purplish color on the underside of the leaf.

A stand of Beefsteak plants.

Close-up of leaf. Note the sharp teeth along the edge and how the veins run along the bottom of these teeth.

Close-ups of the reddish, hairy stem. Note the square shape, opposite leaves and how the flower stalks join the stems at the leaf joints.


Close-up of flower stalk after losing flowers. Note the alternating, opposite arrangement.

Close-up of flower.

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

Originally a popular seasoning herb and medicine in Asia, Beefsteak Weed has become an invasive plant across central and eastern United States. In Texas these plants are usually found near urban and suburban areas where they've gone feral from landscaping beds and gardens. Beefsteak plants seem to prefer disturbed areas, especially shady areas with moist but well-drained soil. Being in the mint family, Beefsteak Weeds have a strong minty scent, show the characteristic square hollow stem, have alternating-opposite leaves, and reproduce vigorously.

The sweetish-flavored young leaves have a long history of both being used in salads or cooked as a seasoning for rice and other dishes. The flower stalks (inflorescence) are used as garnishes. The seeds are roasted and mixed in with other dishes, dried and then ground as a seasoning, and were pressed for their oil. This oil is comparable to rapeseed oil.

An oil distilled from the leaves was used as a flavoring agent in both toothpastes and candy though these have been replaced by synthetic version nowadays.

The entire plant is dried then reconstituted in tea for medicinal uses. Traditional Asian herbal medicine states it is an antiasthmatic, antibacterial, general antiseptic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, emollient, expectorant, and general tonic. It supposedly has strong anti-cancer properties.

Being invasive, it should be destroyed on sight but at least it can be used after harvesting. Maybe someday if enough people start eating it we can stop it from damaging native ecosystems.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.


Scientific name: Arctium minus, Arctium lappa
Abundance: rare
What: young leaves, flower stalks, 1st year root
How: young leaves raw, as tea, stir-fried, or boiled in 2-3 changes of water; peel green skin of plant stalks to reveal inner white core which is eaten raw or cooked; root of 1st-year plants less than 1" in diameter and must be peeled then boiled in two changes of water until tender; roasted roots for coffee
Where: open fields, sunny areas, woods
When: leaves in spring, flower stalks in summer, roots summer and fall
Nutritional Value: Roots contain some minerals, vitamins C & B6, and some calories. Leaves contain many vitamins and phytochemicals
Other uses: you can stick a bunch of the burrs together to make a crown, but that usually ends badly
Dangers: burrs are clingy, do not confuse with toxic Cocklebur (Xanthium pennsylvanicum)

Medicinal Summary:
Root - liver protective and accelerator; anti-inflammatory (tisane, tincture)

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are arranged alternately along the stem.

Leaf Shape: The basal leaves are large, broad, and heart-shaped.

Leaf Venation: They exhibit pinnate venation, with a prominent central vein from which smaller veins branch out.

Leaf Margin: The margins of the leaves are wavy and slightly toothed.

Leaf Color: They are dark green on the upper surface and lighter, often gray-green, and woolly underneath.

Flower Structure: Burdock has globular flower heads, clustered at the ends of branches.

Flower Color: The flowers are primarily purple or pinkish.

Fruits: The fruits are burrs, which are prickly and hook-like, aiding in seed dispersal by clinging to animals and clothing.

Seeds: Seeds are small, enclosed within the burrs.

Stems: Stems are stout, ridged, and can reach significant heights.

Roots: Long, slender taproot approximately 1.5" in diameter at the upper, thickest part and growing over 3 feet in length. Outer skin of roots is brown and inner flesh is white to off-white in color.

Hairs: The undersides of leaves and the stems may have fine hairs.

Plant Height: It typically grows about 3 to 4 feet in the first year and can reach over 6 feet in the second year.

Burdock plant. Note the large, wavey-edged leaves.



Mature Burdock plant with flowers and immature seed bur. Leaves towards top of plant are much smaller than those at base.

Close-up of Burdock flower and seed bur.

Burdock stem.

Burdock root (partial).

More burdock roots. These are up to 32 inches long.

Close-up of dried Burdock bur. Not the roundish shape and long, thin hooks.

Close-up of cluster of Burdock burs.

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

Burdocks prefer moist areas such as along stream banks and shady, wooded areas that stay wet. These biennial (live two years) plants produces large leaves the first year followed by flower stalks, flowers, smaller leaves, and clingy burs the second year. Both the Common Burdock (Arctium minus) and the Great Burdock (Arctium lappa) are edible. The outer rind of both the roots and plant stalks is very bitter and must be removed. If the root still has some bitterness boiling with changes of water will remove it. I find the peeled roots have a delicious sweet/savory flavor and a texture similar to bamboo shoots.

The peeled roots can also be used to make a caffeine-free coffee substitute. Dice the roots then roast them to your preferred level of darkness in an oven at 400F. Grind these roasted roots in a coffee grinder than either use as-is or mix with regular coffee grounds.

The roots are also excellent when pickled using the Ball Book of Canning recipe for pickling okra.

Cocklebur (Xanthium pennsylvanicum), which are toxic, also produce clingy burs. However, the burs of Cocklebur are much more oblong/cigar shaped than Burdock burs. Also, Cocklebur leaves are sharply toothed whereas the Burdock leaves have a wavy edge.

Cocklebur plant. Toxic, do not eat!

Close-up of the toxic Cocklebur leaf.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Canna Lily

Scientific name: Canna indica
Abundance: common
What: Tubers, young shoots
How: Pulp to remove starch, cook shoots
Where: Sunny areas, often in landscapes
When: summer, fall
Nutritional Value: Calories
Other uses: They will absorb pollutants/contaminants from wetlands.

Leaf Arrangement: Leaves are alternately arranged along the stem, forming a spiral pattern.

Leaf Shape: Leaves are broad, lanceolate to ovate, often measuring 1.5 to 2 feet long and 6 to 10 inches wide.

Leaf Venation: Venation is pinnate, with a prominent midrib and secondary veins branching off.

Leaf Margin: Margins are entire, smooth along the edges.

Leaf Color: Typically a lush green, but some cultivars may have variegated or purplish leaves.

Flower Structure: Flowers are large and showy, with three petals and three sepals, resembling petals.

Flower Color: Varies widely among cultivars, commonly red, orange, yellow, or pink.

Fruit: Produces a capsule-like fruit approximately 1" in diameter.  

Seed: Seeds are round and black, about the size of small peas.

Stem: Stems are fleshy, erect, and can be either green or pigmented, depending on the variety.

Hairs: Leaves and stems are generally smooth, without significant hairs.

Height: Typically grows 3 to 6 feet tall, though some varieties may reach up to 10 feet.

Mature canna lilies in the wild.
The leaves look like banana plants and can be used to wrap foods for cooking just like banana leaves.

Mature canna lilies in my backyard.

Edible tuber. Use it just like a potato.

Young edible shoot.

Flowers (not edible).




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

Canna lilies were a vital food source for Northwestern Native Americans and contain the highest percentage of starch of any known tuber. They can be cooked like potatoes though the natives would also make flour from them. To obtain canna lily flour slice the tubers into 1/4" disks and allow them to dry for a day or two. Then crumble these disks up in a large bowl of water. The starch (flour) will sink to the bottom of the bowl and any fiber will float to the top where it can be collected and discarded. Allow the starch to dry completely then grind/pound it into flour.

The tubers can be eaten raw but cooking them makes their starch more digestible. Traditionally they are boiled but baking in medium heat (300F) a long time gives great results. Native cultures would bury them under a fire for up to 12 hours. Cook them with their skin to keep them from drying out during cooking but then discard the skin before eating.

The starchy tubers can also be used to make alcohol, just like potatoes. A amylase enzyme of some sort needs to be added to break its starch down into sugars which can be converted into alcohol by yeast. Yeast can't change starch into alcohol.

The young shoots can be cooked and eaten like asparagus and the leaves can be used like banana leaves to wrap food for baking.

These plants are hardy and grow very well in most conditions though they prefer sun and moisture. Leaf-roller caterpillars will "stitch" the top growing leaves together resulting in stunted, ugly growth but they don't kill the plant. Just open up the leaves and remove the caterpillar. You can also cut the rolled leaves off and the plant will resume normal growth.

These plants will thrive in the southern areas of the United States but north of the Mason-Dixon line it is best if you dig up the tubers and store them in a dark, cool (but not freezing!) place then replanting them in the spring.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Carolina Geranium

Scientific Name(s): Geranium carolinianum
Abundance: common
What: roots
How: medicinal
Where: yards, fields
When: winter, spring
Nutritional Value: none (not edible)
Dangers: Carolina geraniums are NOT edible but are only used externally medicinally in wounds and gargles, do not swallow.

Medicinal Summary:
Root - astringent; antibacterial; anti-fungal; soothes sore throat/mouth; anti-diarrheal (poultice, powder, tisane)
Whole plant - pain reliever, fever reducer, anti-inflammatory (tisane, tincture)

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves of Geranium carolinianum are arranged in a basal rosette. This means the leaves primarily grow at the base of the plant, close to the ground.

Leaf Shape: The leaves are deeply lobed, giving them a somewhat cut or dissected appearance. Each leaf typically has 5 to 7 lobes.

Venation: The venation is palmate, meaning the veins radiate outward from a single point like the fingers on a hand.

Leaf Margin: The margins of the leaves are crenate, meaning they have rounded teeth.

Leaf Color: The leaves are generally green, but they may have a hint of red or purple, especially in cooler temperatures.

Flower Structure: The flowers have five petals and are arranged in loose clusters. Each petal has a small, rounded notch at the tip. Individual flowers are about 1/5" across.

Flower Color: The flowers are usually light purple to pink, sometimes with darker veins.

Fruits: The fruit is a beaked capsule, which when mature, splits open to release seeds. The 'beak' of the capsule resembles a crane's bill, hence the common name 'Cranesbill.'

Seeds: The seeds are small, oblong, and generally have a reticulated surface.

Stems: The stems are erect to ascending, and can be hairy. They are typically green, but like the leaves, may have reddish to purplish tinges.

Plant Height: This plant usually grows to a height of about 10 to 18 inches.

Hairs: The stems and sometimes the leaves are covered in small hairs, which can give the plant a slightly fuzzy appearance.

Carolina geranium seedling in December.
Carolina Geranium

Getting bigger. Note the lobed leaves with rounded teeth, and how the stems are hairy.
Carolina Geranium

Mature Carolina geraniums can spread over 24 inches across.
Carolina Geranium

Close-up of leaves.
Carolina Geranium

Carolina geranium flowers have five petals, each with a rounded notch at the tip.
Carolina Geranium

Close-up of Carolina geranium seed pods.
Carolina Geranium

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.
Carolina Geranium USDA TX

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Carolina Geranium USDA NA

Many a yard, flowerbed and garden see this low, creeping weed show up in the Texas "winter". Left unpacked, it'll turn into a leggy, small bush around one foot tall and two feet across. The leaves are deeply lobed with rounded, toothed edges. Stems are hairy. The pink flowers eventually turn into a long, pointed seedpod thingy. The plant grows outwards from a single taproot and that taproot is the medicinal part that you'll want. The bigger the aboveground plant the bigger this root so put off harvesting it as long as possible.

The root of Carolina geranium is very astringent which makes it excellent for stopping bleeding. Astringent compounds cause capillaries to constrict, thereby shutting down minor bleeding. If you're spraying arterial blood or have a deep slash through several medium-to-large veins you're out of luck. Think nosebleed level of bleeding or smaller. These astringent molecules will also give some relief to a sore throat if gargled but don't swallow the decoction made from the root. After a minute of swishing/gargling spit it out.

Too use this root, simply pull it out of the ground and rub/rip away the small, side roots from the main taproot. You can use it fresh if you chop it up really finely then boil 1-2 teaspoons full in 1 cup water for ten minutes. My lawyer says I need to remind people to let this solution cool before using. Native Americans would dry the root, grind it into a fine powder, then sprinkle this powder into wounds to stop bleeding. Personally, I've never tried this powdered root method but hey, it might be good to know when the zombies come.

Two mimics of this plant are the poisonous Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens) and edible Carolina Bristle Mallow (Modiola caroliniana).

Poisonous mimic Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens).
Creeping Buttercup

You can see the leaves of the creeping buttercup are much less deeply lobed, shinier, and smoother. The stems are smooth and the entire plant hugs the ground more closely than Carolina geraniums. Creeping buttercups contain a chemical that, when consumed, makes mammals hypersensitive to sunlight. Skin hit by sunlight almost immediately starts to blister...basically, creeping buttercups turn you into a redhead!

Edible Carolina Bristle Mallow (Modiola caroliniana).

Carolina bristle mallow has very coarse leaves and stems. It creeps along the ground and puts down roots wherever the stem touches the ground. It is used to make a cooling tea.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

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