Chickweed and violets (Viola spp.) are two abundant plants that can be found growing in gardens and lawns. Considered a weed, both are edible and very nutritious.
[Chickweed in late winter without flower]
[Chickweed in early spring with flower]
Disclaimer: All of the following information about the identification and use of this plant is accurate to the best of my knowledge. With that being said, only attempt to harvest and eat wild plants that you can identify with 100% accuracy. Buy a field guide or 2 on foraging for wild plants to learn to identify them at all stages. Cross-reference information and photos of plants with different sources. Know if there are any similar looking plants that might be poisonous. Before consuming a wild plant for the first time, eat only a small portion in case you are allergic.
Chickweed (Stellaria spp.)
Low growing annual with 1/4-1/2″ oval opposite leaves. The stems have a line of fine hairs along it. Tiny star shaped white flowers with 5 pedals (but it looks like it has 10 pedals). See photos above.
Chickweed can be eaten raw or cooked. Flowers and leaves are great mixed in a salad or added to a sandwich. Also great in stir-fry or stews. Chickweed is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin A, D, B, C, rutin, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, sodium, and copper.
Good for treating cuts, minor burns, and rashes by chopping chickweed and applying it to the area. Has diuretic properties. A hot tea can be made to promote flow of urine and to treat the kidneys and urinary tract.
Chickweed Tea Infusion
- 1/4 cup of chickweed
- add 1 cup boiling water
- cover and steep for 20 minutes
- strain and drink
Violet (Viola spp.)
A low growing ground cover with heart-shaped toothed leaves and a 5-petaled bilaterally symmetrical flower. Flower blooms in the spring. Flowers range from white, blue, yellow, and white/blue. They spread by underground rhizomes.
Both leaves and flowers are edible and can be added to salads. Although edible, eating yellow violets in high quantities can cause gastrointestinal problems. High in vitamin A, C, and E. Best to eat in the spring. Leaves become tough during summer.
A poultice of the leaves has been used for headache pain and skin abrasions.
So if you forage for chickweed and or violets, what are some ways you use them (as a food source or medicinal)?
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