During my talks I make the suggestion that although there are justifiably invasive unwanted species in our part of the world, there are many “black-listed” plants in my view that we may in the future thank our generation for having introduced due to their being valuable and healthy edibles (the positive impacts of such plants haven’t as far as I know been included in the total evaluation of black listed plants. There are other positive factors such as Fallopia japonica (Japanese knotweed) being an important bee plant as it is late flowering and also a cultivated source of medicinal resveratrol (an antioxidant also found in red wine and peanuts). In my book Around the World in 80 plants, there are about 7 species categorized as having “severe impact” (SE) on the Norwegian Black List, 2 with “high impact” (HI) and at least 6 with “potential high impact” (PH). At least two others in the book (Dandelion and Ground Elder) are often referred to as invasive, but as they are well established and introduced before 1800 are not on the black list! As they say “If you can’t beat them, eat them…” and I might (jokingly) add “If you can’t eat them, beat them”…. ;-)
The link is a recent one arguing against the hysteria by a US based ecologist pointing out that “our panic about invasive species might be a major mistake”
A Norwegian article from Trondheim’s street magazine Sorgenfri in 2013 about foraging locally here in Malvik for Ostrich Fern, a plant which few people realise is edible and tasty!
Watercress is one of the 80 plants in the book, a plant that has spread worldwide reputedly due to the habit of the Englishman for eating watercress sandwiches on the banks of rivers around the world (the stems root easily!). ;-) This picture of the Watercress line appeared in the on-line Guardian today:
The Watercress line was opened in 1865 and was well known for its early role transporting locally grown watercress to the markets in London. The section of the Watercress Line from Alresford to Alton is operated today as a Heritage railway and I remember taking the kids on it when they were small. I grew up not far away in Eastleigh.
Much more on this plant around the world in the book!
An interview in connection with my book and forthcoming talk was published in our local newspaper on 13th December 2014. Here it is, in Norwegian of course…
The distributor who has worked to arrange interviews this week while I’m in the UK didn’t mention I’m a local Hampshire lad. Nevertheless BBC Radio Solent in Southampton and Hilliers Arboretum near Romsey, both within 10 miles of where I grew up, both picked up on it (the latter will be in May). Interviewed today about the book on BBC Radio Solent….lots more I wanted to say, but with only 20 minutes available, its not easy…
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02cj91b at 1:11:00ish
Sunday 24th August 2003, I earned my title Extreme Salad Man :) when I made a salad comprising 538 varieties of edible plant. I’m still looking for the recipe I made, and in the process I found the attached invitation to the garden open day when I made that salad, shown below:
For English speakers, here’s what it says:
“”Open organic herb garden
Bergstua organic garden, Malvikvn. 418, Malvik
Sunday August 24th from kl. 1200
Co-organizer: Malvik Gardening Club
Other Activities: Plant sale and plant swap
(Bring plants for swopping)
World Record Salad attempt (500 varieties of edible plants in a salad)
Garden tour (over 1500 varieties)
Focaccia, herbal tea, coffee, poppy cake
Fungi control (bring fungi to be checked)
Plant Sales and plant swap
Preliminary sales list (NB there are few plants of each cultivar and many are small plants from seed this year).
(There follows a list of 219 plants I had for sale that day!!)””
I was really happy that Alys Fowler agreed to write the book’s foreword. She visited me for 3 days in 2010 when she was writing the book the Thrifty Forager and she devotes a whole section to my garden, its plants and The Modern Monk (guess who) :) In the foreword to my book, there’s a picture of Alys reading my old copy coverless copy of Cornucopia II in the garden!
The first time I gave my talk “Around the world in 80 plants” was 8 (eight) years ago on 6th November 2006 for the local group of the Norwegian Botanical Society (NBF-TLA) under the Norwegian title “Verden rundt med 80 arter – som smaker”. After the meeting, the leader of the group, Arne Odland told me I should write a book. The thought had occurred to me, but this was the spark I needed….but that it would take 8 years is surprising, but there was still a lot of testing of plants, trying of many recipes, a full time job, a large garden to look after and some rewriting……….
I was invited back to the Botanical Society to give a quick 10 minute introduction to the book. Then this afternoon I had a panicky call whether I could make a longer talk as the main lecturer had to cancel…..
I used the same picture from my 2006 lecture and just changed the date, here it is :)