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Archive for the ‘Edible’ Category

I know my woodland garden is entering a new phase when the beebalm starts blooming. Summer and humid days are here, the canopy above is much more stingy with letting light through (even the caterpillar damaged twigs are sprouting new leaves), and lush growth is all around. At the same time days are getting noticably […]

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It’s nice to see these milkweeds popping up everywhere, alongside roads and in meadows. The plants don’t require much tending – they prefer dry well-drained soils and full sun, and will do fine in poor soils as well. Common milkweed is quite drought tolerant. The plant can be grown from seed, and will readily self-seed. […]

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There is some┬ádisagreement on whether this plant is native or not. Achillea millefolium is a plant omnipresent in Europe and Asia, and most think that it was introduced in North America in early colonial times. Others seem to think that there is a native species, although it is indistinguishable from the Eurasian plant. I’ll consider […]

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Phytolacca americana is a tall fast-growing perennial, native to the eastern US. Currently pokeweed is starting to show greenish-white flowers, and in late summer and fall the plant will produce dark red berries that grow even darker over time. The juice of the berries was once used as an ink substitute, and to add color […]

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This native member of the pea family is fairly abundant in wet thickets and low lying areas of the bay side on Cape Cod. If you take a bike ride through the coastal areas of Yarmouth and Barnstable you will see the pink and blue hues of Lathyrus palustris. The seeds are edible – you […]

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There are some 250 different flowering plants in the genus Rhus (currently, as new research may lead to breaking up this group into smaller segments), but unfortunately we only seem to remember the infamous ones: Poison ivy (Rhus toxicodendron), poison oak (Rhus diversiloba) and poison sumac (Rhus vernix) can be quite memorable. They all contain […]

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This tough perennial finds its home in prairies, roadsides and among rocky hillsides from Manitoba to Florida and many states inbetween. The sunshine-yellow flowers are 1-2 inches in diameter and appear in early summer. These pictures were taken in the garden of the Brewster Natural History Museum. There is not a whole lot of sunlight, […]

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The lady fern is native to all of North America and Eurasia, and prefers semi-shaded deciduous forests. This fern seems to move – the old rhizomes will die off and fresh fern growth will appear elsewhere. Lady fern has some food value to wildlife – out west Grizzly bears eat this fern. Here on Cape […]

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Whether Vinland was located in Newfoundland, on present day Cape Cod, or somewhere inbetween, there is no dispute that the Norsemen were here long before Columbus re-discovered America. And I am pretty sure they named their discovery after the fox grape vine. This was repeated when Bartholomew Gosnold named the island of Martha’s Vineyard. This […]

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This species of spiderwort is also fairly common in the eastern US, including Massachusetts. I can tell it apart from Tradescantia ohiensis because I acquired virginia spiderwort from a plant center with purple-pink, rather than blue flowers. T. ohiensis also has a blue tint on the stems. However, you can’t rely just on color – […]

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