Florida’s Wild edible plants Continued
#5 Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)
Spiderwort is a plant that exhibits beautiful blue, pink, or white flowers and strap-like leaves leaving you to question its name. The name was actually meant to describe its use, which is for the treatment of spider bites. The flowers and leaves are gathered in spring, summer, and fall. It is found in disturbed sites and moist to dry habitats in the northern half of Florida. A distinguishing characteristic of Spiderwort is that it has three symmetrical colored petals where its flowers open each morning and close by noon.
6 Swamp Cabbage (Sabal palmetto) & Saw Palmetto (Serenoa rapens)
Cabbage palm and saw palmetto are two plants of eleven total species native here to Florida. They’re found in wet to dry habitats, year-round throughout all of Florida making it relatively easy to find. The heart is the only edible part of the plant where the terminal bud can be chopped out of the center of a palm tree and eaten raw or cooked. In spite of that, once the heart is chopped from a cabbage palm it kills the tree. Today, it is illegal to gather swamp cabbage. Don’t fret for the hearts and berries of its relative saw palmetto is used today and is just as delicious.
Saw palmetto is used as a dietary supplement for urinary symptoms associated with the prostate, chronic pelvic pain, decreased sex drive, migraine, and hair loss according to the NIH.
#7 Betony (Stachys floridana)
Also known as wild radishes or Florida hedge nettles, is an inconspicuous delicacy. At first glance they may look grub-like because of their white color and bumpy shape but, they’re unlike the red or sharp-tasting garden radishes. These are actually mild and crispy. The white grub-like tubers are the only parts that are edible where the weed is characterized by its pinkish, blue, or purplish flowers and leaves with scalloped edges. At its roots are where the radishes are found. The tubers are harvested in the spring time and are found in disturbed sites and flatwoods throughout Florida.
The tubers can be shaved over a salad or eaten straight out of the hand. Radishes are especially good at cleansing our liver, stomach, and even our blood.4
As you can see, these are the few of many indigenous plants found here in Florida, but it first starts with looking around and becoming knowledgeable with one’s surroundings. It is important to realize the bountiful benefits associated with these plants that grant us the ability live healthier and happier lives.
For more detailed information on a particular plant please feel free to visit Identify That Plant.
Well, that’s all the news from the south,
Happy” farming” to all the farm girl sisters out there.
See you next time down on the farm..