Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wild edibles of the Native Flora

Steve Brill would have a field day in the Native Flora Garden right now. There's a giant edible "chicken of the woods" mushroom just begging to be harvested and fried up, though I think Uli will leave it for folks to ooh and aah at. It's a good thing because this mushroom is quite massive and vibrantly colored, really something to see. Any potential foraged-dinner plate could also contain edible tubers from Apios americana (the groundnut vine), although I think you'd have to wait until later in the season to harvest. This plant provided a staple tuber of the Native American diet and it is flowering fragrantly and beautifully right now in Native Flora. According to Peterson's Field Guide of Medicinal Plants of Eastern/Central North America, the tubers have 3 times the protein of potatoes and under cultivation a plant could produce 5 pounds of edible tubers. I read online that you can also eat the seed pods. I love how there's always something to discover every time you wander into Native Flora.

Flowers of Apios americana

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