Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.
Before I begin let’s talk about Invasive vs Native species. Tonight’s plant is considered an invasive species. By definition it’s not not Native to the Appalachian Mountains and like many of our invasive species it came from Asia. I haven’t actually looked it up but I presume it was brought here as an ornamental and escaped. The problem is that invasive species out compete Native plants and many of our native pollinators are dependent on specific plants as hosts. When an invasive species is established it prevents the pollinators from being able to produce the next generation. Do we need all of our pollinators? If one species of butterfly is lost does it really matter? For practical purposes the loss in probably not going to be felt in the overall environment. Nature is designed with redundancy and if a single piece is lost the others fill the niche. But if we start losing multiple species then we could have trouble. Then there’s the disease issue. Sometimes we get a non Native species that hosts a disease that can devastat the Native population. Such was the case with Dutch Elm Disease. Now I’ve said that in order to lead to the explanation that when I write about the potential uses of an invasive species I’m not necessarily advocating for the spread or propagation of invasive species but simply pointing out that the plant has attributes that are advantageous as well. Just because an organism is alien isn’t to say we shouldn’t take advantage of its usefulness. Honeybees are not native to North America and yet when they disappear the world panicks.
Being an Asian species most of the uses of the Asiatic Dayflower are rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. There it is used for an anti-inflammatory, to reduce fever and treat colds and flu. Some herbalists claim it’s effective against H1N1 however I’m not able to confirm that at the moment. ( And because it’s a hot topic, I don’t mean to infer that it might help with the SARS2. I’m not a qualified expert and this is only trivia. )
As an edible, the shoots are said to taste like green beans and can be eaten raw or cooked. The beautiful blue flowers last only for one day but are also edible. This is a plant that I’ve only recently confirmed to be edible and the photos are from my archives. So I’ve not had the opportunity to actually try them yet. They are in bloom from mid summer to early fall and the plants produce new flowers throughout. We should consider that like green beans this plant is listed as having oxalate and over consumption might be bad especially for some people so use caution until you know that it’s not something that effects you strongly.
Another caution is that these plants closely resemble the Virginia Dayflower which is also edible and has oxalate that is thought to cause a contact rash in some people. The easiest way to tell the difference is in the number of blue pedals. Virginia Dayflower has 3 blue pedals white Asiatic Dayflower has only 2 blue pedals. The two plants closely resemble each other but are not related. Given the choice as to which one to harvest I’d recommend that you harvest the Asiatic Dayflower simply because it’s the one whose numbers should be reduced and at this time I haven’t found any herbalism uses for Virginia Dayflower. So Virginia Dayflower is best left to grow and reproduce.
That’s it for tonight’s Forage Friday. Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.
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