Forage Friday #85 Nostoc (Cyanobacteria)

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Eastbound 112420a” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Warning: Some types of Cyanobacteria are considered toxic by some sources.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.

The rails stretch out eastward drawing my lens towards the quiet tipple in the distance. It’s one of my favorite scenes and I occasionally stop by to enjoy it. However, on this trip something caught my eye that wasn’t quite so picturesque. The lumps of green goo look like something that escaped from a B grade science fiction movie.

Image Titled “Nostoc 1”

But what we’re looking at isn’t something from the nightmares of Irvine Millgate. Instead it’s right out of nightmares of an 8th grade student in a biology class. In my day it was called Blue-green alga but it’s not an alga. It’s Cyanobacteria but not bacteria. You’ll find it listed as “Nostoc” or a variation there of.

Image Titled Nostoc 2

But why did I include this green goo in Forage Friday? Well for one thing it’s listed as being edible. Nostoc commune is pretty much found worldwide and is eaten as a salad, stir fry and stew in Asia. Personally I can’t get past the looks of it. I suppose that if I was desperate for nutrition that I could but I’ve never been that hungry. There’s also the fact that I’m not 100% positive about the ID of this colony. It appears to be Nostoc commune but I’m not sure yet. There is also a question about purity. While it’s obvious that anything growing in an industrial area could be contaminated with industrial chemicals Nostoc is known to assimilate lichens. And while the Nostoc itself is non-toxic some of the lichens are. Now if I really wanted to give it a try I could try to find an Asian market and ask for “Fat-Choy”.

Believe it or not I used to see it powder and capsule form as Walmart as a vitamin.

Medically it was used as an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and cancer treatment.

Image Titled “Nostoc 3”

The last market where Nostoc comes into it’s own as a living fertilizer. It doesn’t really poison your plants and it’s a nitrogen fixing lifeform.

That’s it for tonight friends. Be blessed throughout your days.

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