A Beginners Guide to Edible Weeds

JP 1983

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This thread is for the general discussion of the Article A Beginners Guide to Edible Weeds. Please add to the discussion here.

A note for housekeeping: spp. refers to all species in the genus (sp. = species, singular; spp. = species, plural).

Et al. means "and others," from the Latin et alia, a common academic way of referring to a resource that has more than 3 authors, contributors or editors.

Introduction [LINK]
Foraging Guide [LINK]
Sow Thistle (Sonchus spp.) [LINK]
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) [LINK]
Catsear/Flatweed (Hypochaeris spp.) [LINK]
Salsify/Goatsbeard (Tragopogon spp.) [LINK]
Fat Hen (Chenopodium spp.) [LINK]
Angled Onion (Allium triquetrum) [LINK]
Blackberry Nightshade (Solanum americanum & spp.) [LINK]
Purslane/Pigweed (Portulaca oleracea & spp.) [LINK]
 
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JP 1983

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Added Catsear/Flatweed (Hypochaeris spp.) [LINK]

Working on Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius).

Also been expanding my reading, and the Introduction (sources) and Further Reading section of the articles now reflects this.
 

JP 1983

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Added Fat Hen (Chenopodium spp.) [LINK]

I also made additions and edits to the Introduction (more resources added), and slightly reformatted the other articles and their Further Reading sections to suit. This will be maintained for all future articles in this series (and part of the reason why they now take so long to write! I'm trying to do a thorough job so I only have to do each article once!)

The article on Dandelion got a new header image of the perfect dandelion picture, and a few additions to the medicinal section.
 

SamfromWA

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Nice job JP, flat weed has pretty similar medical properties to dandelion and is useful for stomach problems. I was just transplanting some purselane into my new garden recently as that "weed" hasn't arrived here yet and i rely on it pretty heavily through the summer months in stews. Tried duckweed recently but i need to improve my cooking skills to make that one tasty haha. I've also been trying dock seeds which are not too bad but need the husk removed. Might try putting them through a wheat grinder open just enough to scratch the coating off. I also use elephant bush (portulacaria afra) in soups and stews for a sharper more acid flavour.
 

JP 1983

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Cheers @SamfromWA

I currently have 60+ weed articles waiting to be written; much of the photography has been done. It takes me about 4-5 hours to compile one page after carefully consulting my notes, photography and source materials.

I will do dock very soon as I was out harvesting dock seed for the first time only 2 weeks ago. Bonetto uses a coffee grinder on his dock seeds to mince up those tough husks. They're quite tasty, though, and very easy to harvest (spiders and aphids notwithstanding!)

I do not want to add medicinal uses of common weeds without a reasonable source to back them up. Duke does not mention Hypochaeris at all, which is odd for me, but that plant didn't make his top 100 either (and he wanted to expel Sonchus too, but it was saved by its yummy flowers which Duke ate regularly). Apelian only mentions uses for it in passing. If you have a better source other than anecdotal I'm all ears.

I have articles on portulac (pigweed) lined up shortly.

Thank you for the encouragement!
 

SamfromWA

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No worries, yep all just in my own experience. Yep dock is really quite a nice wild grain, it has quite a large taproot as well though i haven't yet tested it out to see if it can be used. Any thoughts on the edibility of Asparagus asparagoides? Everything seems to eat the berries, i haven't seen any signs livestock sickness or death around this plant and it also has a mats of tubers, i was going to test it out one day.

Good luck with your work and have a good Christmas and new year.
 

JP 1983

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Any thoughts on the edibility of Asparagus asparagoides? Everything seems to eat the berries, i haven't seen any signs livestock sickness or death around this plant and it also has a mats of tubers, i was going to test it out one day.
You just inadvertently identified one of my Smilax lookalikes! I do not know anything else about this plant other than it very much resembles native sarsparilla (Smilax glyciphylla especially).

I once watched a youtube video (which I can no longer find) of an American forager who ate asparagus fern tubers (in NSW & QLD, the species is usually Asparagus aethiopicus or A. plumosus, fern-like with poisonous red berries and oval tubers). The tubers were poisonous, and I expect the dense rhizomes of A. asparagoides to be similarly toxic. You could give them a try but I expect you might end up with gastric upset. There may be ways to leach the toxin by grating and repeated rinsing in fresh water, as with other poisonous lilies.
 

SamfromWA

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You just inadvertently identified one of my Smilax lookalikes! I do not know anything else about this plant other than it very much resembles native sarsparilla (Smilax glyciphylla especially).

I once watched a youtube video (which I can no longer find) of an American forager who ate asparagus fern tubers (in NSW & QLD, the species is usually Asparagus aethiopicus or A. plumosus, fern-like with poisonous red berries and oval tubers). The tubers were poisonous, and I expect the dense rhizomes of A. asparagoides to be similarly toxic. You could give them a try but I expect you might end up with gastric upset. There may be ways to leach the toxin by grating and repeated rinsing in fresh water, as with other poisonous lilies.
Quite widespread in WA, lots of different animals eat the berries including foxes, rabbits and birds, not any certainly of safety for people but i'll try a very small sample one day and see.
 

JP 1983

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I added Blackberry Nightshade [LINK] today after a tough slog to get it done! I'm going to turn my attention to a few Bush Food items before I return here, likely to complete portulac (pigweed/purslane).

I have also discovered an amazing herbal resource in Duke's bibliography which I have added to the Introduction and intend to keep using (and retroactively update my previous weed articles with any pertinent information from it):

Joerg Gruenwald et al. (2000). PDR for Herbal Medicine. 2nd edition; Montvale: Medical Economics Company.​
A physician's desk reference (PDR), this 858 page tome details clinical indications, pharmacology, preparations, dosages, contraindications, adverse effects and overdose symptoms of 700+ herbal medicine plants. It is much easier to use than Duke's due to the fact that each entry is accompanied by copious unabbreviated citations of scientific and medical literature to take the avid student further.​
Brilliant!
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Amazing!
I'm fairly certain I have this growing in our backpaddock. I think I've seen it growing on the culvert. Too bad I just went out poisoning. I'd not dare eat it as there was a breeze and some may have been carried over.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Quite possibly. I think the stigma around eating weeds is considered "poor" and "bad", when in reality they are a great source that can even taste good. I think it's also really cool trivia when you go camping with friends, and possibly convince them to try some prepared with their normal food items.
On top of all that, I think people consider all weeds to be bad, when they can be very beneficial to nature too. Dandelions are considered a weed, yet they are edible and signs of fertile lawns. Their roots help break up tough ground, which in turn aerates the ground, and their taproot brings nutrients up from deep in the ground, which allows other plants access to it as well.

I wonder when we decided that these beneficial plants were weeds instead...
 
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