Category: Plants

Pine Pollen

I’m lucky enough to be in a small village in Scotland surrounded by wild natural areas. One common tree here is Scots Pine so an abundance of pollen is released every year. Every year there is a dusting of yellow on our cars and in the streets in the village. This year it has been dry as the pollen is released and you can see swathes of pollen being released. It is really is amazing…

Dandelion

Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale Dandelion leaves are a delicious addition to a salad and are used in many parts of the world. I like using them as part of a Spring pesto. They have a mild bitterness and sweetness when they are young as the dandelion plant matures and comes into flower the leaves the bitterness increases. So this is the perfect time to get outside and find the leaves to add to your food….

Sweet Cicely

Myrrhis Odora A plant that is often found near rivers and burns as it likes running water. When it does grow, as it only grows in certain areas of the UK, it grows very well indeed and is often seen in large patches. It smells and tastes strongly of aniseed. The leaves, stems, seeds and roots are all edible. It is sweet and was used instead of sugar before sugar arrived in Britain. It goes…

Nettles

Urtica dioica Nettles appear in early spring and continue through into summer. We are often wary of this plant due to it being able to sting us. There are tiny hairs on the entire plant that when touched give us a irritable somewhat painful sting leaving us with a sensitive area of skin afterwards. These hairs contain acetylcholine, histamine, formic acid and serotonin. Acetylcholine opens up the cell wall, histamine gives us the reaction and…

Birch Sap

One of the first ‘fruits’ of Spring is tree sap. In this part of the world it is mainly birch that can be tapped for it’s nutritious sap. It is slightly sweet due to the levels of natural zylitol in it. There is a noticeable amount of vitamins and mineral in the sap. So you can see why many cultures including, in the past, Scotland folk tapped trees for the sap at the start of…