Even before I became a medical herbalist I was interested in wild plants not only for their medicinal properties but also for food. Throughout the years I've searched for wild plants wherever I've lived or been in my travels.
When my husband and I moved on to our 6 acre property it was very overgrown and the only cleared area had been constantly slashed by the previous owner so there wasn't much in the way of wild medicinal and culinary plants to be discovered. The area that was overgrown was so thick with dried vegetation and cleared timber embedded in dirt that had been pushed up against the trunks of trees that it wasn't safe to pick my through it.
It would have been a mammoth task to clean it up and the wildlife such as goannas, lizards, skinks, snakes and birds nests would have all been disturbed if not destroyed in the process so we just left it as it was. However, in January last year a careless neighbour lit a fire on a day of extreme fire weather conditions and needless to say a fire tore through our property only just avoiding our buildings thanks to the prompt response of the wonderful and very efficient rural fire brigade.
The clearing of this area on our property was taken out of our hands and the only wildlife that we could see was affected was a small skink under a piece of partly charred wood; the skink hadn't been burnt so must have died from the smoke and fierce heat. It was a sad sight indeed.
When what remained stopped smouldering and we had the first shower of rain after the fire we had a machine come in to clean the place up. Now, after an incredible downpour of rain for our area we have lush green fields and plants I haven't seen growing here before are springing up.
To date I have found green amaranth, pigweed (purslane), dandelion, sida retusa, wild tobacco, and another plant that looks very interesting but is yet to be identified. Edible plants from this list are amaranth, pigweed, and dandelion.
Herbalism isn't all about healing with herbs, it also involves using herbs in everyday life - for cooking, eating, drinking, cleaning, decorating, and so on. There isn't a day go by that I don't use herbs for some reason or another and I get great pleasure from gathering wild herbs.
While they are plentiful I've been gathering amaranth leaves, pigweed, and dandelion leaves to make a delicious salad. Wash, rinse and chop them then add chopped tomatoes and red onion. Add sea or celtic salt and allow to sit for a little while to let the juice from the tomatoes and onions soak through the salad. It's so delicious that it doesn't need any salad dressing.
Now I must get on and mark more assignments but I will post more wild plants as I find them.