A few years ago I officiated a wedding at the Houston Arboretum. The wedding was outside, but while I waited for the wedding party to get dressed and answered the wedding coordinator’s questions, I noticed an interesting class going on in the room next to us.
There was a guy at the front of the class picking up and discussing certain plants and roots. I strained to listen and realized that the class was a wild edible class. The front of the room displayed a banner that had the website www.foragingtexas.com. I put the website address in my cellphone for later research.
Later that evening, I did research the website. Up until then, I only read about wild edibles online. The thought of attending a class in person was exciting! I did attend the class with Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen and learned a lot.
You see, in preparedness, I tend to think long term and self-sufficiency. Learning about wild edibles is something I consider a skill for the long-term! If you know what things you can eat in the wild, that is a great skill to have!
I wanted to put some of my skills to the test, still very little I’m afraid, when my dad purchased property out in East Texas. When I made the rounds, I did find some Yaupon Holly, but not too much else. One of the things that I saw EVERYWHERE was this….
I took a picture and sent it to Mark to see if he knew what it was. To my dismay, he didn’t. But he did suggest that I contact the County Extension Office. They informed me that it was Eastern Baccharis. I was sad that it didn’t really offer any value as a wild edible or for medicinal purposes. Worse than that, the County Extension Office said that I needed to cut it down before it went to seed to help get rid of it. And let me tell you, it was everywhere!
Well, we did cut most of it down. The County Extension Office was right, we haven’t seen it come back in the areas that we have cut. But with Spring having Sprung, and a good amount of rain, we have been very surprised at what we’ve been seeing since!
My dad and my brother went up to the country to cut some grass about three weeks ago. When they did, they found a ton of blackberry bushes! We didn’t notice them last year!
And this last week, when I was on the tractor, I noticed a very bright flower that I WAS familiar with. As I kept cutting, I noticed that it was everywhere!!!! We have Passion Flower growing all over the property! I cut a lot of it down because it was in the field everywhere. I left a big patch of it though that I need to figure out how to help trellis it cause I know it will grow up.
I also noticed a ton of Black-Eyed Susan that didn’t seem to show up before. According to what I found on the internet, Native American Indians used Black-Eyed Susan for medicinal purposes. However, I have heard that it wasn’t all that effective. But we still have a ton of it as well.
Lastly, I noticed a huge Mullein plant. I wasn’t sure what it was, but Mark Merriwether was able to point me in the right direction! According to Mark’s site, Mullein is a rare medicinal plant. The leaves and flowers can be used in a tea as a cough suppressant and smoked to with chest issues. The cool thing is that the stalks can be used as fire drills and the leaves as lantern wicks! Wow! What a find!…. But, like an idiot, when I wasn’t really thinking, I ran over it with the bush hog. The good thing is that the bush hog wasn’t that low to the ground and I found another plant growing nearby. I left that one intact!
I guess the real thing I want to share is that you never know what you are making room for when you clear something out. Use that theme in the wild or in your garden, but also in your life. When we get rid of something that is useless and just takes up space, we make room for new and “better” stuff to pop-up!
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