Category Archives: Edible flowers

Indian summer flowers

There were unusually many plants still flowering in the garden in October this year as we experienced a bit of an Indian summer. We’ve now had our first frost, so time to publish this album of 116 pictures of over 100 species. Most but not all are edible / edimentals and, yes, I should have made a salad.




A Taste of Myoga

After many years trying, I finally had a taste of home grown myoga or Japanese ginger (Zingiber mioga) this week!
I think it was in the garden of my friend Frank van Keirsbilck (of http://www.thevegetablegarden.be) in Belgium that I  first saw this plant. I bought a plant from Edulis nursery in the UK in 2010 and planted it in my garden, hoping it would be hardy enough. It survived for 3 years, but grew weakly and emerged in the spring later and later every year, before disappearing for good. Determined to have a taste, Frank sent me a starter in 2016 and, now, 4 years on my pot grown plant kept indoors in a cold bedroom all year finally produced a flower bud, the main part eaten. We made a Japanese style soba (buckwheat pasta) dish to which the shredded myoga was added! A very pleasant mild ginger taste, making it all worth while. I will now move it to a larger pot.

Allium atroviolaceum: Caucasian Turkish garlic

Allium atroviolaceum is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental. I’ve been growing it for some 15 years now and it is admittedly not very productive as an edimental under my conditions, but it’s nevertheless a beauty and it is currently coming into flower both in my own garden and the Allium garden at the Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim, where the pictures below were taken.  Its wild distribution is in the Crimea, Caucasus, Middle Asia (Mountainous Turkmenistan, Syr-Darya foothill areas) and Iran.

 

In the Armenian Highlands in Eastern Turkey, there are several ethnobotanical studies documenting its use in local food, presumably wild collected, although there are indications that it might also be cultivated for food including:
1) In otlu peyniri, a herbed cheese made out of sheep’s or cow’s milk. it is used as a flavouring along with many other species (from Wikipedia):
Ranunculus polyanthemos L.(Ranunculaceae)
Nasturtium officinale R. Br. (Brassicaceae)
Gypsophila L. spp. (Caryophyllaceae)
Silene vulgaris (Maench) Garcke var. vulgaris (Caryophyllaceae)
Anthriscus nemorosa (Bieb.) Sprengel (Apiaceae)
Carum carvi L. (Apiaceae)
Anethum graveolens L. (Apiaceae)
Prangos pabularia Lindl. (Apiaceae)
Prangos ferulacea (L.) Lind. (Apiaceae)
Ferula L. sp. (Apiaceae)
Ferula orientalis L. (Apiaceae)
Ferula rigidula DC. (Apiaceae)
Thymus kotschyanus Boiss. et Hohen. var. glabrescens Boiss. (Lamiaceae)
Thymus migricus Klokov et Des. – Shoct. (Lamiaceae)
Mentha spicata L. subsp. spicata (Lamiaceae)
Ziziphora clinopodioides Lam. (Lamiaceae)
Ocimum basilicum L. (Lamiaceae)
Eremurus spectabilis Bieb. (Liliaceae)
Allium schoenoprasum L. (Liliaceae)
Allium fuscoviolaceum Fomin (Liliaceae)
Allium scorodoprasum L.subsp. rotundum(L.)Stearn (Liliaceae)
Allium aucheri Boiss. (Liliaceae)
Allium paniculatum L. subsp. paniculatum (Liliaceae)
Allium akaka S. G. Gmelin (Liliaceae)
Allium cf. cardiostemon Fisch. et Mey. (Liliaceae)
2) In another study, the young shoots are used in various dishes and as a flavouring with yoghurt. It us used both boiled and raw. The bulbs are used to replace garlic in food.
Local names in Turkey include sirmo, körmen, and yabani sarimsak.




Japanese white dandelion

My Taraxacum albidum is looking good at the moment!
The seed for this came from the Scottish Rock Gardening Club seed list 2016/17 (SRGC3660) and I planted two plants here. However, they look different in that the leaf shape is different (T. albidum is described as having deeply indented leaves) and only one has hairy scapes (as T. albidum). I suspect some crossing has been going on. 
T albidum is itself a hybrid between white flowered Taraxacum coreanum and Taraxacum japonicum.

A 65 Veggie Pakora at 65

To celebrate my 65th we made indian pakora with 65 (or so) different perennial vegetables. Going for a new title, this time EPM (Extreme Pakora Man)! Any better? The whole list is under the pictures!
Just wish I’d had broad / fava bean (bondebønner) flour available for the pakoras rather than gram flour (chick peas)…next time I hope :)

Begonia heracleifolia var nigricans (leaf petiole)
Cilantro / Bladkoriander
Dill
Oxalis triangularis (two varieties)
Gynostemma  pentaphyllum (sweet tea vine)
Crithmum maritimum (rock samphire / sanktpeterskjerm)
Parsley / persille
Garlic / Hvitløk “Valdres”
Garlic / Hvitløk “Lochiel”
Garlic / Hvitløk (sprouts)
Chenopodium ambrosioides (epazote / sitronmelde)
Chrysanthemum coronarium “Chopsuey  Greens”
Perennial kale / flerærige kål “Heligoland”
Perennial kale / flerærige kål “Daubenton Variegated”
Urtica dioica (nettle / nesle)
Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde)
Allium ursinum (ramsons / ramsløk)
Hydrophyllum virginianum (Virginia waterleaf, Indian salad)
Primula elatior (oxlip / hagenøkleblom)
Primula “Sunset shades”
Rhubarb / rabarbra “Victoria”
Rhubarb / rabarbra “Træna”
Allium fistulosum (Welsh onion / pipeløk)
Allium cernuum (Chicago onion, nodding onion / prærieløk)
Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely / Spansk kjørvel)
Sium sisarum (skirret / sukkerrot)
Heracleum sphondylium (common hogweed / kystbjørnekjeks)
Allium scorodoprasum (sand leek / bendelløk, skogløk)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion / løvetann) (leaves, roots and flowers)
Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern / strutseving)
Houttuynia cordata “Chinese Market”
Allium carolinianum
Allium schoenoprasum (chives / gressløk)
Rheum palmatum var tanguticum (Turkey rhubarb/  prydrabarbra)
Bistorta officinalis (bistort / ormerot)
Allium x proliferum (walking onion / luftløk) “Amish Topset”
Campanula latifolia (giant bellflower / storklokke)
Aegopodium podograria (ground elder / skvallerkål)
Carum carvi (caraway / karve) (leaves)
Aralia cordata (udo) (short blanched shoot)
Crambe maritima (sea kale / strandkål)
Allium douglasii (Douglas’ onion / Douglas-løk)
Allium nutans (Siberian nodding onion / sibirsk nikkeløk)
Hemerocallis spp. (day lily / daglilje)
Allium victorialis (victory onion / seiersløk) “Lofoten”
Rumex acetosa (sorrel / engsyre)
Levisticum officinale (lovage / løpstikke) (blanched)
Smilacina racemosa ( false spikenard / toppkonvall) “Emily Moody” (blanched)
Hosta “Frances Williams”
Tragopogon pratensis (Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon / geitskjegg)
Barbarea vulgaris ssp arcuata (winter yellowcress / vinterkarse)
Barbarea vulgaris ssp vulgaris (winter yellowcress / vinterkarse)
Allium paradoxum var normale (few-flowered leek)
Angelica archangelica ssp archangelica v. Majorum  (Angelica / kvann) “Vossakvann”
Dystaenia takesimana (Ulleung giant celery)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard / løkurt)
Rudbeckia lacinata (Cherokee greens)
Armoracia rusticana (horseradish / pepperrot) (blanched greens)
Rumex patientia (patience dock / hagesyre)
Allium pskemense
Taraxacum sublaciniosum “Delikatess” (dandelion / løvetann) “Moss-leaved dandelion”
Taraxacum albidum
Phyteuma nigra (black rampion / svartvadderot) (greens)
(Golpar was in the pakora batter along with chili, ajwain and black onion seed, Nigella)










 

Early May Edible Flower Bouquet

A posey of edible flowers:
Primula denticulata 
Primula elatior (oxlip / hagenøkleblom)
Primula vulgaris hybrid (primrose / kusymre)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty)
Arabis alpina (Alpine Rock Cress / Fjellskrinneblom)
Arabis caucasica (Wall Rock Cress / Hageskrinneblom)
Allium paradoxum (Few-flowered leek)

The year’s first extreme salad

Half an hour “foraging” in the garden and half an hour in the kitchen and I can present the year’s first multi-species salad….54 different plants! Notable additions were dark-leaved sea kale (strandkål) and Hydrophyllum virginianum (at the bottom), moss-leaved dandelion and Hablitzia tamnoides (centre). Edible flowers included two begonias and Oxalis triangularis (grown inside) and the first oxlips and hybrids (hagenøkleblom)



The winter’s first salad shoot salad

The first winter shoots were harvested from the cellar today. It is almost totally dark in the cellar and currently about +6C. The blanched shoots in the picture are (from L to R) dandelions (løvetann), perennial kales (flerårige kål) and catalogna chicory (sikkori). Otherwise you can see Korean celery (Dystaenia takesimana), perennial celery / fool’s watercress (Apium nodiflorum), turnip (nepe) , carrot (gulrot)  and lemon balm (sitronmelisse).
The salad was decorated with Begonia flowers from the living room!

Edimental of the Day is Malva alcea

Malva alcea (greater musk-mallow, cut-leaved mallow, vervain mallow or hollyhock mallow / Norw: rosekattost) is a mallow native to southwestern,  central and eastern Europe and southwestern Asia, from Spain north to southern Sweden and east to Russia and Turkey.  It is easy to confuse with musk mallow (Malva moschata). It is a much larger plant than moschata. My plant is the upright form Malva alcea var. fastigiata and reaches 1.8m, double the height of moschata. I had this for many years, but it was sterile and I suspected it was a hybrid with moschata. It finally died after some 15 years and I sourced new seed through the Scottish Rock Gardening Club seed list in winter 2012-2013. It grew quickly, produced seed and has self-sowed in a few places in the garden, growing well in the half shady conditions my garden provides for. Here it is, filmed from my balcony today:

It is often planted in gardens as it flowers for a long time in summer. It has naturalised in the UK (see https://www.brc.ac.uk/plantatlas/plant/malva-alcea) and also here in Norway there are a number of observations, particularly around Oslo.

This summer, I’ve been using this mallow much more than before as I now have a lot of it and it has replaced moschata in a few places, suggesting that these may be hybrids! This really is one of the most useful perennial vegetables in the summer garden. Along with other mallows you can pick off leaves, young flower buds and flowers over an extended period! I use them in various stir-fry dishes, in soups, on pizza, in quiches and mixed salads!

It is surprisingly not often mentioned as edible in ethnobotanical studies (maybe underreported due to confusion with moschata?). However, a quick search revealed it being used traditionally in Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria!

If I had written my book today, this may well have replaced moschata. I did mention alcea in the book under the account of moschata as follows:

I have less experience with Malva alcea, greater musk mallow, which is, as the English name suggests, a larger plant. It has a similar range to musk mallow, except that it isn’t found in the UK. I’ve only grown the form ‘Fastigiata’ which is long-lived and a nice ornamental, needing staking up during the summer. My plant was sterile and is
thought possibly to be a hybrid between M. alcea and M. moschata. The flowers are also good in salads.

Bees love it too!

Here are a few pictures of it in the garden today: