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Woodland plants - identification please!
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nerion



Joined: 13 Mar 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 11 9:02 pm    Post subject: Woodland plants - identification please!  Reply with quote    

Hi folks, newbie here. I've only been foraging twice but really enjoy it and have already eaten lovely stinging nettles, dandelion and wood sorrel.

I've also made the common sorrel/cuckoopint mistake and won't be doing that again.

Anyway, on my last forrage in the woods, I saw a few plants I didn't recognise and wonder if someone could tell me their names - and if they're edible please.

I think the second picture may be cow parsley but I realise this can be mixed up with fools' parsley and hemlock. What are the best ways to differentiate?

Many thanks,

Andy






sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 11 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

top one lesser celandine, bottom dogs mercury I think

Last edited by sally_in_wales on Sun Mar 13, 11 9:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

Jamanda
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Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34920
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 11 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The first one is celandine. It will have pretty little yellow flowers soon. ( It's also called pilewort)

nerion



Joined: 13 Mar 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 11 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Flipping heck, that was quick! Thank you! Keep 'em coming.

Jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34920
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 11 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The middle one could be cow parsley or it might not - not one to eat!

Any way, welcome to the forum

eta you might find these interesting

http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/Finding_food/Top_Ten_Wild_Foods_in_March/

http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/Finding_food/Top_Ten_Wild_Foods_for_April/

Minamoo



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 1231

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 11 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

nerion wrote:
Flipping heck, that was quick! Thank you! Keep 'em coming.


Hello!

Good to see another person getting hooked by the foraging bug! The most important thing for you to do now before you go out and start picking things with the intention of eating is to invest in a good guide book. I've found that the river cottage series is amazing for beginners (I have 'Mushrooms', 'Hedgerow' and 'Edible Seashore' and love them). Foraging can be very dangerous if you're not careful. So a good guide book (preferably more than one as plants can look slightly different depending on their habitat) is a must.

You can eat the leaves on the lesser celandine at this time of the year. And if you have it in your garden, the roots when steamed taste like baby new potatoes. Very labour intensive 'potatoes' but fun to do once.

nerion



Joined: 13 Mar 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 11 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Awww, thank you! And it's Hugh and his wonderful gang who've got me into foraging - and growing my own herbs. Don't have enough room for veg.

I shall invest in the books. I have already bought Food for Free and Mushrooms from the Collins Gem series.

Thanks again,

Andy

PS What about plants no2 and no3 then? What are we dealing with?

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 11 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Dogs Mercury definately isnt edible, don't eat that one

Midland Spinner



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 2931
Location: Under a green roof
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 11 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I second the advice to get a good field guide - Don't just rely on foraging hand books, get a proper botanists field guide as well. AND learn to use it properly.
Personally I use "The Wild Flower Key" by Rose (but it may be out of print).

Practice as well: Start with plants you definitely know and follow the keys and then the descriptions to ensure that you can properly identify all the parts of the plant and reach the right conclusion from the key. Learn to use a hand lens. Don't just guess, do it properly. It Could Save Your Life.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 11 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Probably cow parsley, but it would be foolish to try to identify such a thing from a picture alone.

And the bottom one looks quite like ground elder from where I'm sitting.

The top one has been correctly ID'd as lesser celandine. Edible leaves, not THAT exciting, but useful at this time of year.

bubble



Joined: 13 Apr 2008
Posts: 960

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 11 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

the bottom one is dogs mercury,surprised you've been caught out there cab.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 11 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Could be a fine example of me wandering up to a patch of tasty plants with an expectant look on my face, only to be disappointed. Only happens once or twice on every forage

Dunno though, looks like a patch of ground elder poking through the leaves. I'd want a closer look.

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 11 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I didnt think ground elder got those little bobbly bits at this stage?

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 11 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Bobbly bits?

It'd be easy enough to be sure though, the two smell rather different, and in hand they're not at all confusing.

wildfoodie



Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 2169

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 11 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

that pale shiny green does look like newly sprouted ground elder but the bobbly bits for me make it a definite dogs mercury id.
cab- the bobbly bits - paler greenish yellow -are clearest on the plants in the bottom right corner of the pic nestling on top of the leaves

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