Tag Archives: Japanese knotweed

Never before pizza?

More or less anything can be used in a pizza, but I wager these have never been used in the same pizza: Oplopanax horridum, Allium scorodoprasum, Crambe maritima (sea kale /strandkål), Ligularia fischeri and Reynoutria japonica (Japanese knotweed).

Om Spiselige Norske Fremmede Arter / About edible Norwegian alien species

English at the bottom!

I forbindelse med et lunsjforedrag hos Artsdatabanken i Trondheim 21. august 2017 fikk jeg en liste over alle 71 planter i Svart høy risiko (SE) kategori samt 63 i Høy risiko (HI) kategori. Jeg har gjennomgått samtlige arter og vurdert spiselighet utfra informasjon i to verdensomspennende databaser over verdens spiselige planter: Plants for a Future (www.pfaf.org) og boken Cornucopia II av Stephen Facciola. I tillegg har jeg sjekket den etnobotaniske litteraturen ved hjelp av Google Scholar og brukt min egen erfaring. Det er klart utifra «If you can’t beat it, eat it» mantraen at en måte å begrense en fremmed art er å spise den gjentatte ganger og det kan gi inntekter heller enn penger i kassen til Monsanto: flere av plantene er såpass gode at gourmetrestaurantene ville betalt gode penger for dem!  I sommer fikk jeg et besøk fra en dame fra Hawaii som hadde laget en app som hjalp folk å finne svartelistete spiselige planter! Dette kunne også være aktuelt i Norge!

Et interessant funn som foreløpig ikke er analysert nærmere er at andelen fremmede arter i Norge som er brukt til mat et eller annet sted i verden er langt høyere enn for alle planter registrert i Norge, publisert igår (som er litt over 40%; se http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21004 ). Hele 72% av den Svart Høy Risiko kategorien er “spiselige” planter, mens 63% av de Høy risiko arter er spiselig!

Takk til Landbruksdirektoratet som har støttet dette arbeidet gjennom prosjektet «Kartlegging – innsamling- dokumentasjon og vurdering av genetisk mangfold av spiselige planter i Norge»

Denne uken har jeg publisert 4 artikler om Norske nytteplanter samt informasjon om en gjennomgang av alle karplanter registrert i Norge, dette i sammenheng med avslutning av et 3-årig prosjekt for Landbruksdirektoratet (Tilskudd til genressurstiltak, husdyr, planter og skogstrær):
Om Scorzonera: en hardfør helårs grønnsak: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21020

The perennial Rampions: shade tolerant edientomentals: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21018

Stolt Henrik: Blad og brokkoli grønnsak, flerårig kornplante og godteri i en og samme plante: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21016

Om Norrlandsløk / Norrland Onion: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21014

Mot en Norsk Spiselig Flora / Towards a Norwegian Edibles Flora: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21004

English: In connection with a lunch lecture I gave at the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre in Trondheim on August 21, 2017, I received a list of all 134 plants in the high priority / high risk (SE) categories SE and HI. I have reviewed all species and considered edibility based on information in two worldwide databases of the world’s edible plants: Plants for a Future (www.pfaf.org) and the book Cornucopia II by Stephen Facciola. In addition, I have checked the ethnobotanical literature using Google Scholar and have also tapped into my own experience! It is clear from the “If you can’t beat it, eat it” mantra that a way to limit a foreign species is to eat it repeatedly and it can yield income rather than money in the coffers of Monsanto: several of the plants are so good that gourmet restaurants would pay good money for them! This summer I received a visit from a woman from Hawaii who had created an app that helped people find black-listed edible plants! This could also be relevant in Norway!

An interesting finding that has not yet been analysed in detail is that the proportion of alien species in Norway used for food somewhere in the world is far higher than for all plants registered in Norway, published yesterday (which is slightly over 40%; see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/? p = 21004). As many as 72% of the highest risk SE category are “edible” plants, while 63% of the HI category are edible!

This week I have published 4 articles on Norwegian useful plants and information on a review of all vascular plants registered in Norway, this in connection with the conclusion of a 3-year project for the Norwegian Agricultural Agency program which translates as “Grants for genetic resource work within livestock, plants and forest trees). English summaries are given on each of the pages below:

Om Scorzonera: en hardfør helårs grønnsak: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21020  (Norwegian)

The perennial Rampions: shade tolerant edientomentals: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21018 (English)

Stolt Henrik: Blad og brokkoli grønnsak, flerårig kornplante og godteri i en og samme plante: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21016 (Norwegian)

Om Norrlandsløk / Norrland Onion: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21014  (Norwegian)

Mot en Norsk Spiselig Flora / Towards a Norwegian Edibles Flora: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21004 (Norwegian)

Incredible “Incredible Wild Edibles” by Sam Thayer


Sam Thayer is without doubt my favourite foraging author and his new book Incredible Wild Edibles does nothing to change that! It’s been 7 years since his book “Nature’s Garden” and 11 since his debut, Forager’s Garden. All his books are thoroughly researched and I love his plant descriptions, which are detailed, thoughtful and accurate with lots of fun personal anecdotes intertwined! The range of edible plants in this book is very wide and includes amongst others plants yielding berries (including one of my favourites, but rarely grown, black raspberry), leafy greens and shoots (caraway, poke and bladder campion), annual weeds (chickweed and shepherd’s purse), “ground” nuts (chufa), herbs and spices (caraway and fennel), introduced invasives (Japanese knotweed, creeping bellflower), winter crops (miner’s lettuce), root crops (Psoralea or prairie turnip and poppy mallow or Callirhoe involucrata), nut trees (hickory), seed crops (black mustard), water vegetables (watercress), sap sugar (maple) and edible flowers (violet). As with Thayer’s other books, although these are North American wild edibles, some are cultivated as garden edibles around the world and several have a wide geographic distribution including Europe or originating in Europe (I like to think that caraway was introduced originally to North America by the Vikings from here in Norway). Some are also new wave perennial vegetables being grown in permaculture inspired and forest gardens. I actually grow most of this collection in my own garden in Norway. Therefore, all of Thayer’s books are also of interest to foragers, edible gardeners and permaculturists both in and outside of North America!  There are 3 species covered which I was particularly interested to read about as they are seldom covered in foraging and edible gardening books. These are water parsnip (Sium suave), Sweet root (Osmorhiza spp.) and sochan or cut-leaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata), the secret vegetable of the Cherokee. I’ve grown the latter in my garden for several years (a double flowered ornamental form; see the picture) as I’d read that it was used by native americans but had never found much in the way of first hand information! I can now look forward to trying this in my ever growing collection of edimentals or edible ornamentals (plants doubling good taste with good looks!)


The book starts with a number of short essays on various relevant subjects. I particularly enjoyed his “Foraging against the invasion”, that herbicides are not the solution, creating an ecological void, quickly recolonized by invasives….that it’s unrealistic that we will win in the end…and that foragers should participate in the deliberate control of invasives as they are the people most likely to notice and have an impact. Foraging can in this way actually save native plant communities rather than what is often stated, that foraging destroys by overharvesting. And many invasives are of course excellent edibles (we are planning an invasives festival here in Norway!)

The book ends with Thayer’s essay on what he terms Ecoculture! This is Thayer’s term for the ancient practice of the management of natural ecosystems to enhance their production of useful products…and argues that it should and could become an important component of future food systems. I remember on a visit to the West Coast reading in old (suppressed) literature about the amazing extent to which Native Americans managed the forests for food and other products. This is of course nothing unique to North America. These practices are also one of the inspirations of Permaculture’s forest gardens or food forests. Thayer also describes a part of his own garden that he has planted as a diverse productive garden of edibles, but he only (or mainly) uses native plants. Native ecoculture works for Thayer as native forests in his part of the world are particularly diverse and able to supply the calories…in my part of the world this is difficult without introducing non-natives like nut trees and introduced perennial vegetables in our relatively poor native flora……therefore I use forest gardening  rather than ecoculture. Thayer gives the prime example of the sugar maple and wild leek (Allium tricoccum) forests….the closest we have to this in Norway are hazel – ramsons (Allium ursinum) woods, but they are rather limited in extent and nuts are small. Our permaculture forest gardens lie somewhere between “unstable” mainstream agriculture and its predominantly annual crops and Thayer’s relatively stable natural plant communities with mainly perennials.

Thayer also argues that rather than reducing our impact, we need rather “to increase our positive impact on the landscape whilst gathering earth’s gifts to nourish and heal ourselves”.  There is also food for thought that in-situ natural perennial poly-ecocultures do not involve improved varieties as domestication or plant improvement happens in isolation……

Get this book, it could indeed change your life!
Seven years was worth the wait! Thank you Sam!!

Overview of Sam Thayer’s books:

Forager’s Harvest: 2006 (360 pages) 32 plants

Nature’s garden: 2010 (512 pages) 41 plants

Incredible Wild Edibles 2017 (479 pages) 36 plants

Perennialen II: Alvastien Telste

An album of pictures from my short Perennialen II visit with Eirik Lillebøe Wiken​ and Hege Iren Svendsen​ at and around Alvastien Telste​ in Hardanger. Impressive nature, good beer and fruit, good company and just relaxing this time! It poured with rain on the morning that we’d planned to look properly around the Forest Garden, so that will have to wait for next year!  Watch this space for the announcement of the next Perennialen event at this wonderful place, now a Permaculture LAND centre, next summer!! Hope to see you there!