Cosmopolitan Weeds? New York’s brimming with them. There’s actually no reason to consider these plants top 6 of any list, except that I happened to have gathered and photographed these samples. I became more familiar with these herbs on a leisurely walking tour of edible plants in Prospect Park, with an amazingly warm and generous herbalist, Sister Tioma, here in Brooklyn. She helps guide clusters of plant lovers with ways to spot these common, under-rated, healing, plant foods. Here are 6 greens that make you go, hmmm… Of course, if you choose to try an plant, remember: be able to verify the herb through your own or someone else’s knowledge; choose plants away from trafficked areas, preferably near the upper part of a slope (away from dogs); wash/wash/rewash.
The flowers are so sweet an innocent looking, like little bursts of sunshine! It’s they’re ancient way of saying “try me!”. The leaves are detoxifying for the blood, and the roots are even stronger. Beware of the sunshine sweetness, bitterness abounds. Makes a salad or nice sauteed green (taste akin to broccoli rabe).
Plantain, apparently eaten for by humans for ages upon ages all over the world, offers us tremendous blood cleansing and healing benefits. Gotta give it up for antimicrobrial greens! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantago
Ignorantly passing by this shrub, one might think, bouquet filler. Turns out this inconspicuous bush makes a fragrant tea, which you might know by scratching the leaf to catch a scent of… something kind of sweetly reminiscent of skunk. Odd description? Yeah, it is. Refreshing tea? Yeah, it is.
Another blood cleanser–can’t get too much clean blood after all–burdock may be more commonly known among non-herbalists for its appearances in Japanese cuisine as a root veggie (long and stalky like a carrot). There are wonderfully mature plants with undoubtedly well formed roots in Prospect park, I’ve seen leaves at least a foot long, but they’re commonly around as inconspicuous, little ground cover leaves.
It’s like a garlic-scented mustard green! How brilliant is that? I mean, I would have put garlic in my mustard greens, anyway, and smell… voila! This plant was momentarily mistaken by a fellow tour-goer for a variety of violet in the park (also edible), but once you scratch-and-sniff this green, you’ll be thinking, now if only I had a tempeh/veggie/bean/organicbeef burger to slap this on…
Not exactly chosen for it’s green part, I simply picked up honeysuckle in an effervescent nostalgia for playing in the woods, seeking them out to taste sweet essence of the fresh flower.