I'd like to post some information and resources on the plants we covered.
We started with one of my very favorite invasives, kudzu (Pueraria lobata): the vine that swallowed the south. Just about every part of this plant is useful and nutritious as a food source for people and livestock. The dried stems are great for basket weaving. Kudzu has also been used to treat alcholism.
|Pueraria lobata's distinctively shaped compound leaves of three.|
|Pueraria lobata covering all other growth.|
Even though there are not yet any nuts visible on the tree, I did point out the beech tree (Fagus sylvatica), since it is so plentiful in this area and recognizable.
Next, we covered the medicinal properties of English ivy (Hedera helix). A plant that I've used with great success to treat my family's bronchial problems related to illness and seasonal allergies.
We talked some about poison ivy (toxicodendron radicans) as well, something all Virginians should know how to recognize and avoid.
|Plantago Major(top) Plantago Minor (bottom)|
My six-year-old always insists on teaching this part of the tour, as yellow wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta) is her favorite plant. I can never get her to eat anything green inside the house, but whenever she's outside, she can be seen munching away on a handful of wood sorrel.
I pointed out the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), which I believe is an important source of medicine for preppers to know.
I pointed out the poisonous horse nettle (Solanum carolinense) that seems to be everywhere this year. It's spiny enough to keep most people away from the greens, but in late summer to fall, it will have some nice looking berries that may be tempting to children.
We saw burdock (Arctium species) which has a large tap root that can be eaten, or tinctured to use as an effective blood purifier. The leaves are also useful as a treatment for bruises and burns.
We sampled the little sheep sorrel (Rumex hastatulus) leaves growing along our path. It's pleasant sour taste got good reviews, and I've found it useful for lowering fevers in my toddler.
|Rumex hastatulus pretty little basal leaves remind me of a fleur-de-lis.|
|Artemisia vulgaris The white underside of the leaves, along with the wonderful comfrey-like smell, cinches it's identity for me every time.|
Next is curly dock (Rumex crispus), a plant that offers up tasty leaves, plentiful edible seeds, and a medicinal taproot.
We stopped to smell the lovely wild spearmint (Mentha spicata) that has recently volunteered.
The spiderwort (Tradescantia) was closed up for the day by the time we got to it, but it was still recognizable and we talked about this wonderful plant's culinary possibilities.
|Tradescantia, as it looked when I scouted the route in the morning.|
|Tradescantia, as it looked when the tour group got there.|
We munched on some tasty feild garlic (Allium oleraceum) seeds along the way and talked about the healing properties of this wonderful member of the alium family.
|Allium oleraceum seeds, poking out of the surrounding greenery.|
There are more wild edibles to be found on this property, but this is all we had time for. You can see why I love living here, and why I will probably lead another tour here in the future. You may have many of these wonderful plants growing in your own back yard too, so get out there and discover!
I hope you find some of these links helpful, I also want to give a recommendation to those with smart phones. Wildman Steve Brill's app is the most transportable and easy to use field guide for beginning foragers. I highly recommend it!