EAT_YOUR_LAWN

EAT YOUR LAWN: Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Your Lawn.

PART ONE

A lot of the weeds that we find in our lawns are edible and or have medicinal value. So instead of viewing your lawn weeds as just a problem see them as plants which should be removed and controlled manually and not thrown away but rather be used for their nutritional and medicinal value.

DANDELION – TARAXACUM OFFICINALE

This broad-leafed perennial weed which we have discussed before is probably your most common lawn weed which I am sure we have all experienced at some stage. The reason this weed can be difficult to control is that they have a very deep taproot. Please note that all parts of this plant are edible, but please first do some research as to how to use them in an edible manner. The flowers are tastiest when young and have a sweet, honey-like flavour. Please see our previous post on Dandelions.

WOOD SORREL/ OXALIS – OXALIS ACETOSELLA

This broadleaf perennial has light green clover-like leaves and cup-shaped yellow flowers in summer and autumn. Wood sorrel is an incredible thirst quencher and is refreshing to eat. The leaves, flowers, and immature green seed pods are all edible having a mild sour flavour that some say resemble lemons. Wood sorrel can be added to salads, used in soups, sauces and it can also be used as a seasoning. Please remember to only eat this plant in moderation (once in a while) as it contains oxalic acid and this if ingested in bulk or to regularly can be slightly toxic.

WHITE CLOVER – TRIFOLIUM REPENS

This broadleaf perennial has distinctive three lobe leaves and white cluster flowers. This weedy plant is actually quite beneficial to the health of soil as it is part of the legume family and therefore is a nitrogen-fixing plant, increasing the nitrogen in your soil by converting it into an available and accessible form. The flowers have a sweet, anise, liquorice like flavour and were used in folk medicine for gout and rheumatism. Native Americans used whole clover plants in salads and made a white clover leaf tea for coughs and colds. Please note when choosing flowers to eat, that flowers which are not fresh and turning brown are very bitter, and also eat flowers in moderation as they can be difficult to digest if over consumed raw. Cooking them can help with this. Leaves are also edible but eat in moderation.

EAT YOUR LAWN 1

EAT YOUR LAWN: Part 2.

Stelleria media – Chickweed

This annual weed which pops up everywhere is usually short-lived but will come up time and time again. This plant is commonly also called ‘snow in summer’ because of its small white star-shaped flowers that usually bloom in the spring and last until autumn. This plant can serve as a vegetable crop for both human consumption and is also a very important poultry crop. Leaves, stems and flowers of this plant are edible. All parts can be added to salads. It can also be used as a cooked green like you would spinach, in for example soups and stews. Chickweed can also be used as a medicinal plant and is used for its cooling properties. It is also very rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Please note though that this plant should not be overconsumed as it can cause a bit of a runny stomach if overused.

Portulaca oleracea – Purslane

The reason this succulent annual trailing plant is so weedy and invasive is because it thrives in poor soils and conditions and is just so hardy. This has fleshy stems and leaves and forms a thick ground-hugging mat. It can be eaten as a cooked vegetable and is great to use in salads, soups, stews or any dish you wish to sprinkle it over. Purslane can be used as a spinach substitute and many people prepare it by sautéing in butter with salt and pepper. This tasty weed has many culinary uses as described above but is also extremely medicinal. It is high in vitamins, specifically A, B and C vitamins but is also extremely high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids prevent heart attacks and strengthen your immune system. This weed is also Purslane is antibacterial, antiscorbutic, depurative, diuretic and febrifuge. Please note the weedy invasive purslane is the variety with yellow flowers. One also gets cultivated varieties in different colours which are not as invasive.

Plantago major – Broadleaf Plantain

This broadleaf perennial weed can be commonly found in grassy areas and other parts of the garden.
Leaves taste best when they’re young and offer high levels of calcium and vitamins A and C. The leaves are quite tough and should be treated like other hard leaf veg like kale and spinach. This is also why using young leaves is very important. Eat young leaves raw in salads, or boil like cooked greens. The leaves are also steamed and eaten. Leaves can also be blanched and then sautéed with some garlic and butter. Plantago is extremely medicinal and has been used for centuries as medicine by many cultures including the Persians. Plantain has been used for stomach problems, coughs and wounds. If a person chomps on some fresh leaves, these can be applied to the skin to treat minor burns, insect bites or open wounds.

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