Saturday, 2 April 2011

Wild Food

served with smoked trout and boiled egg

These are not just any old leaves, these are organic leaves with a very low carbon footprint. They have travelled just a few feet rather than food miles and can be eaten fresh within seconds of picking.The taste is peppery, similar to mustard and cress or rocket and it may well be growing in your garden.

This plant is a member of the mustard family (Cruciferae family) and is native to Europe, Asia and North America. This small plant forms a rosette of leaves at ground level, during Autumn and Winter then from March onwards sends up stems with white flowers made up of 4 petals and provides an early source of nectar for bees and butterflies.
It is Cardamine hirsuta or hairy bittercress but it's not bitter and you would need a magnifying glass to see any hairs!
A long distance runner of the plant world it can produce seed about 5 weeks from germinating. The flowers produce thin seed pods that explode when touched, throwing the seed several feet. It pops up in plant pots, flowerbeds, lawns and cracks in paving.

This wild flower is an invasive weed so I don't encourage it in the garden but it pops up anyway and makes a good alternative to those supermarket pillows of air full of 'designer leaves'
It is the wild version of land cress.

It loves sneaking into overwintering plant pots and has often produced seed before I've even noticed it.

1 comment:

Ceci said...

can't wait to start my veggie garden...from ground to door to kitchen!