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Capsicum

Foraging

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One of my stronger points in connection with the land around me is a deep natural skill to locate and identify wild herbs.  I'm not sure how exactly to go about posting this, as there are different herbs in all parts of the world but was trying to see some of the different information that might be used by various people here on how they locate herbs and perhaps other things of interest (like owl nests).  I know there is a near-infinite amount of plants that can be foraged and used but obviously I'm mostly limited to what I find locally in my own forest (located in central Virginia) and their typical growing areas. There's no real way I can remember everything in one sitting so I guess I'll keep this updated from time to time as I remember things.

 

 

Baneberry--forest edges near maple trees

Boneset--shrubby fields, overgrown roadsides, literally everywhere here

Cinnamon fern--literally everywhere in the forest

Clover (red)--shrubby fields, overgrown roadsides, literally everywhere here

Clover (white)--shrubby fields, overgrown roadsides, literally everywhere here

Dog Hobble--in briar thickets near water

Horsenettle--disturbed soils, grazing pastures, sandy areas.  This nightshade is a very familiar garden weed

Indian Pipe--I find these very very rarely in damp old growth forest areas near water.  Mayapples and pines may be growing in the area

Indian tobacco--shaded areas in meadows

Ironweed--shaded hedges and roadsides

Jimsonweed--disturbed soils, grazing pastures, sandy areas.  This nightshade is a very familiar garden weed.

Lily of the Valley--very rare but found them in shaded woodlines as a kid.

Mayapple--damp open forest areas near water, a sign of healthy soil

Mistflower--shaded hedges and roadsides

Mistletoe--hardwood trees and small woody shrubs, look up!

Morning Glory--disturbed soils, grazing pastures, sandy areas.  A familiar garden weed

Nakedflower--damp open field spring areas

Pennywort--damp open forest areas near water, a sign of healthy soil

Pipsissewa--found on forest floors growing in clusters covering about 1 meter area.  Evergreen, during summer one of the only flowers in the forest

Sassafrass--well it's a tree, if you know what the leaves look like you know what to do

St. Andrew's Cross (St. John's Wort)--woodlines often near poplar or gum trees

Wild phlox--near creeks/streams in fields, usually when the creek has a deep ravine, near bridges

Wild sweet pea--overgrown hedges and fence lines

Woundwort (Allheal)--moist or damp woodlines.  usually if there is moss under pines there will be allheal plants growing as well

 

 

Like I said, I'll add to this from time to time, feel free to make your own list too!  Finding phlox here may be different from finding phlox in Eastern Europe or California so it can vary!  Perhaps I can even add photos of some of these in their natural habitat if I remember to snap pictures when I'm out in the bushes.

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What a lovely topic!  Virginia sounds like it has quite promising foraging options.

 

I live in Alaska, and relocated from one part of the state to a somewhat-nearby region on the coast.  (Up here, 100 miles as the crow flies is considered "somewhat nearby". ;) )  Because we just bought and moved into our home last November, the property has yet to reveal all of its foraging options yet.  I've been cataloging what grows wild on the homestead, and am quite pleased with the witchy and herbalistic prospects:

- Yarrow

- Clover

- Willow (Barclay's willow)

- Raspberry (wild "Trailing Raspberry")

- Devil's club

 

Within a 10-minute drive I have found:

- Lungwort

- Valerian (Sitka valerian)

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I live in West Virginia. The possibilties are...immense. I'll just say the big ones I usually use:

 

Yarrow -everywhere

Chicory - roadsides

Mugwort - roadsides

Queen Annes Lace - roadsides/fields

Squaw root - deeeep forest, in places with only ferns and mayapples and certain trees

Mayapple - deeper forest, but readily found in large clumps

Joe Pye Weed - roadside, some fields

Cinquefoil - roadsides

Jack in the Pulpit - forest is the only place I have seen this

Goldenrod - everywhere

Burdock - everywhere

Japanese knotweed - EVERYWHERE. REALLY EVERYWHERE. Invasive as shit, it's taking over mostly the riversides but damn i can't get rid of this horrible shitty, shitty, invasive, murdering, successful little bugger

Sensitive ferns - Roadsides as well, seen often in cracks of cement. Have yet to see big batches in forests, as there are usually other ferns there

Morning glory- anywhere it can vine up stuff

Jewelweed - everywhere

Plantain - everywhere, usually sidewalks work just fine

Dandelion - same as above

Wild bergamot - shrublines by disturbed areas, and fields with milk thistle

 

DId I mention Japanese knotweed? Because, Japanese knotweed.

Bluebells - woods, in wet spots

Spicebush - I see it in a lot of fields...

Witchhazel - hillsides, near seeps as an understory, forest line pioneer-type species

Ironweed - I see this in a lot of fields

 

EDIT - Sorry, was tired, I did the last four and forgot to show where I got them...

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Guest monsnoleedra

Nice listings.  I have to admit though that's what we used to call wild crafting.  I know many books still refer to it as wild crafting.  Just adding as additional info encase others should come across the term later.

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Just piping in with my 2p here about wildcrafting:

 

All that stuff you find on the side of the road? It's absorbing auto exhaust which may be fine for magical workings but not for medicinal use.

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Indeed, MW. That's actually my biggest complaint about chicory - I want to try chicory coffee, but I'm afraid to ingest most of it!

 

I prefer wildcrafting for certain things...I like the solitary walk to get herbs, and feeling out which plant is special for this working. I like filling my basket and keeping everything seperate with twine. I like sorting them out on my kitchen tables and preparing them. I think that wildcrafting can be a sort of meditative practices. I like growing things I use for cooking, such as basil and lavender, but there are certain things I would much, much rather go to the hills for. 

 

Random tidbit, but I only use mayapple from places where I find squaw root. Local lore says that squaw root shows a pure part of the forest, I believe this is due to its liver cleansing and diuretic properties and the wet soils it prefers, and its revered as a sensitive plant which cannot be disturbed much (it's a bit parasitic to certain trees, but won't kill them, more that it is "clingy"). So, to be, mayapple near squaw root is like a bonus.

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Indeed, MW. That's actually my biggest complaint about chicory - I was to try chicory coffee, but I'm afraid to ingest most of it!

 

I prefer wildcrafting for certain things...I like the solitary walk to get herbs, and feeling out which plant is special for this working. I like filling my basket and keeping everything seperate with twine. I like sorting them out on my kitchen tables and preparing them. I think that wildcrafting can be a sort of meditative practices. I like growing things I use for cooking, such as basil and lavender, but there are certain things I would much, much rather go to the hills for. 

 

Random tidbit, but I only use mayapple from places where I find squaw root. Local lore says that squaw root shows a pure part of the forest, I believe this is due to its liver cleansing and diuretic properties and the wet soils it prefers, and its revered as a sensitive plant which cannot be disturbed much (it's a bit parasitic to certain trees, but won't kill them, more that it is "clingy"). So, to be, mayapple near squaw root is like a bonus.

 

 

Definitely can be meditative, I agree. Chicory coffee is amazing by the way!

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Definitely can be meditative, I agree. Chicory coffee is amazing by the way!

 

 

Does it really taste like coffee or is it different? I've never had it!

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The mayapple in my woods disappeared. It's just gone. I had no idea what it was, just thought it was cool looking. Saw it mentioned on here so I googled it. Just went to go look for it and it's not there anymore. This is supposed to be when the fruit is ripe.... I'm so frustrated.

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It dose actually taste a lot like coffee, it has a very rich earthy flavour. I am badly addicted to caffeine, and this was really the only thing I tried that could come close to replacing coffee for me, even decaf coffee is not anywhere near as good.

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Use the root for the coffee beverage by the way, you may already know this. The leaves and flowers can be used for salad and tea as well, but its the roots that give the nice rich flavour, roasted is best.

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The mayapple in my woods disappeared. It's just gone. I had no idea what it was, just thought it was cool looking. Saw it mentioned on here so I googled it. Just went to go look for it and it's not there anymore. This is supposed to be when the fruit is ripe.... I'm so frustrated.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Mayapple is usually blooming/fruiting in May. The part of interest on the plant is usually the root...they call it wild mandrake but the roots look more like small elephant tusks. Maybe it would help to add bloom seasons to the list?

 

 

 

Also, good point about car exhaust. ..if you gotta have it then you gotta have it! Fortunately all of that stuff is found in my yard :)

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Really? I don't know much about it but it says it's poisonous except for the fruit that you can make pies, jams and stuff with. I saw that it's called wild or american mandrake but it's not even really related to the mandrake at all, from what I've read so far. As far as blooming seasons, I guess it really depends on the area. I noticed it in late May or early June and hadn't gone back up there in a while. It had flowers then but not one fruit. I was reading that the fruit comes out and gets ripe between July and September. I'm guessing I'll just have to keep tabs on it every few days next summer if it comes back so I can try the fruit out for myself. 

 

I really have to get my shit together with finding wild herbs. I know basic herbs for health related things: milk thistle, dandelion root, burdock root. I buy those in my local vitamin shop because the only thing I can find myself is dandelion. I really need to study my yard even... I had no idea what a Dog Hobble was (I've been looking up everything I don't know to see if I recognize it) and it's growing in my back yard. I just thought it was a decorative yard plant... 

 

Well now I know what I'm going to be spending the rest of my summer doing... lol

 

ETA: well this thread has motivated me and because of it I have now discovered that we have Ajuga growing in my backyard.  :witchnana:  I'm so excited to actually try doing something with it. I never expected there to really be anything useful in my yard but I guess with how overrun it is with so many random things I really shouldn't be. 

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Has anyone ever eaten Magnolia fruit before? I'm fairly certain I discovered several sources for them in my back yard. Some of them look like berries (almost like grapes), then other ones look just like this... faw-magnoliafruit-jacedelgado.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

regale_hand.jpg

 

These ones above appear to be growing sporadically in clusters like the ones shown below. Although I haven't seen a cluster that large yet, there are more vines w/these berries all throughout the side of my house that total more than the one cluster below. Some of the berries are still small and not quite "ripe" looking, while the ones that look very similar to the color above are the ones that I discovered on the ground. The plant/tree/vine that's producing the "pods?" in very first picture I posted is different than the ones growing throughout the side of the house in the vines. 

 

magnolia_vine.jpg

 

 

I can go outside tomorrow and take some pictures if anyone thinks they can possibly identify them. 

 

We have a large persimmon tree in our back yard, but I know after several years of squishing through those by accident during the fall that they aren't the same as the new fruit/berry and tree I just discovered. 

 

 

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They appear to be some cultivar of grape, probably concord but the leaves seem a bit smaller than the ones I grow :smile: Especially given the leaf type, vine habit, unripe fruits and size of the ripe fruits.  Might be a little bitter without processing first and cooking with sugar...but if your season has been as rainy as ours they may be fairly sweet.  Look like grapes to me, do an image search and decide for yourself. Still a very important foraging item regardless :biggrin:

 

I'm notably unfamiliar with Magnolia, the only time we see them here is if someone plants a cold hardy variety of them in their yard.

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Has anyone ever eaten Magnolia fruit before? I'm fairly certain I discovered several sources for them in my back yard. Some of them look like berries (almost like grapes), then other ones look just like this... faw-magnoliafruit-jacedelgado.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

regale_hand.jpg

 

These ones above appear to be growing sporadically in clusters like the ones shown below. Although I haven't seen a cluster that large yet, there are more vines w/these berries all throughout the side of my house that total more than the one cluster below. Some of the berries are still small and not quite "ripe" looking, while the ones that look very similar to the color above are the ones that I discovered on the ground. The plant/tree/vine that's producing the "pods?" in very first picture I posted is different than the ones growing throughout the side of the house in the vines. 

 

magnolia_vine.jpg

 

 

I can go outside tomorrow and take some pictures if anyone thinks they can possibly identify them. 

 

We have a large persimmon tree in our back yard, but I know after several years of squishing through those by accident during the fall that they aren't the same as the new fruit/berry and tree I just discovered. 

 

 

The first pic here looks like magnolia fruit and leaves to me. The others look like some type of grape like Capsicum said. We don't get magnolia here really, so I'm not an expert on that either, but I don't think it is ever recommended to eat the fruit of magnolia, although it is not considered toxic. In some species of magnolia I know you can eat the flowers, and the leaves are use for seasoning, like bay leaves. Bottom line, these are different plants. Look at the leaves of your plant, the leaves of magnolia are like in the top pic, they even look quite a bit like bay leaves.

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Capsicum, we have most of these in Norfolk as well (no surprise), and many grow in my garden. The exception is pipsissewa, which is new to me... and lovely.

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I feel like an idiot.... I just found Indian Pipe in my woods and touched it to take a picture and then read that touching them kills them :sad:. I'm so upset with myself. 

 

IMG_1912_zpsfe5379ff.jpg

 

There were only two that I could find so far but reading about them... it seems late summer and fall is more common times for seeing them so it seems these were out earlier than normal, I guess. I'll keep going back to check. 

 

Also... is this Jack in the Pulpit?

 

IMG_1916_zps31646f17.jpg

IMG_1915_zpse1b63455.jpg

 

I feel like these pictures are coming out looking huge right now...Hope that fixes itself once it post.

 

ETA: did not fix itself... I'll upload them to another thing and resize them and fix that asap. Sorry about that.  Okay, that's better.

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Hmm I've never seen any Jack in the Pulpit around here but it certainly looks like what my web searches are turning up.

 

 

I also need some help identifying this plant if anyone possibly knows.  it's definitely a wild orchid.  I think it may be southern twayblade but the flowers don't match...it has even length sepals and petals (in comparison to the long lower sepals on a twayblade) and the notable orchid labellum (lip) extends far back behind the bloom, they look more like shadow witch orchid flowers but the plant has no chlorophyll which means it's either parasitic or depends on fungi to survive.  I'm completely confused by this one.

 

20140814_182225_zpsm52bceia.jpg

 

20140814_182311_zpscobebqzv.jpg

 

 

any orchid nerds on here? :wink:

 

 

For comparison, here's

southern twayblade

427198833_94914f2b84.jpg

 

shadow witch orchid

10070177743_3f9135bdab_z.jpg

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The first pic here looks like magnolia fruit and leaves to me. The others look like some type of grape like Capsicum said. We don't get magnolia here really, so I'm not an expert on that either, but I don't think it is ever recommended to eat the fruit of magnolia, although it is not considered toxic. In some species of magnolia I know you can eat the flowers, and the leaves are use for seasoning, like bay leaves. Bottom line, these are different plants. Look at the leaves of your plant, the leaves of magnolia are like in the top pic, they even look quite a bit like bay leaves.

 

 

BWR, the pods are magnolia and the grapes are scuppernong grapes, and I am jealous.

 

 

Are they good Christine?! Some of the things I've read say they are...and even quite expensive. 

Yeah I have a ton of different plants, trees, and vines on my property. Can't believe I've missed them all before... Speaking of which, can anyone take a guess as to what these are? There are tons of them on the side of my yard next to my neighbor's. *Sorry about the brightness of the pics- I'm a night owl and these were all taken at night, which makes it harder to really see them, at least in my opinion*

 

@Solanaceae- Those weren't actual pics from my back yard. I'll go out there and take pics of it/them for better clarification. Thank you :smile:

 

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2s0bpev.jpg

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I can't tell for sure, but those look like pictures of a honeysuckle vine with some ragweed growing through it.  The little yellow flowers are actually a part of the plant below it that has leaves that look like a marigold.  We normally call that ragweed here.  Ragweed is good as a topical solution to insect bites, however it also is the number one cause of hay fever allergies.  It's an Ambrosia so it's associated with immortality in Greek and Roman mythology.  Honeysuckle (if that is in fact what the bush/vine is) is Japanese and has a multitude of medicinal uses...not sure of any magical properties it has but I'm sure there are plenty. 

 

EDIT: I just looked at my honeysuckle vines, it looks a bit different,...but if it has little yellow flowers all over it during spring it could be....the name is eluding me...starts with an "h" I believe...XD  can't remember.  People plant it in hedgerows all over the place here.

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Bewitching, that's really not a great picture, but it looks like Heavenly Bamboo. If I saw a picture of its overall growth I could be certain. Heavenly Bamboo, or Nandina, has mostly dry but extremely pretty bright red winter berries. Culinary applications are few. I have noticed that they harbor shades readily, much as does true bamboo. And yes, bronze scuppernongs are choice.

 

Capsicum, I'm an orchid ignoramus but I know those are gorgeous wildflowers.

 

Chloe, I have an Indian Pipe growing in my garden, and I have not noticed that touching it has any effect.

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hey, looks like heavenly bamboo to me based on the pictures I just looked at :)

 

learning new things all the time :mdance:

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