Ransoms and Garlic mustard are gradually fading and being replaced by other tasty plants. Here are a selection of today’s urban herbs in Amsterdam’s Frankendael Park.
Bugle (Ajuga reptans). Used to be known as the Carpenters herb because it is yet another plant with blood staunching abilities. It looks very similar to Sealheal but has small leaves throughout the flowers whereas Selfheal(which I am keen to find) has flowers all at the top of the stalk, without leaves between). It is a member of the mint family and has digestive uses and historic herbalists apparently used it for all manner of ailments.
I can’t find much about this from truly reliable sources but there are many Internet posts mentioning narcotic and hallucinogenic properties for pretty, evergreen Bugleweed. So perhaps you should do some research and make your own mind up on that one but it’s probably not a herb to experiment with in the family stew!
Willow. Here’s a lovely row of fast growing coppiced Salix, growing beside water at the Middenweg edge of the park.
Ground Elder (Aegopodium podograria) is growing bigger and bolder each day. I did notice a few flower heads developing on Groundelder today so now is the time to harvest if you are interested in foraging this plant. The leaves of this invasive, woodland loving perennial look quite similar to Elder and Ash tree foliage. It tastes really good and can be cooked as spinach. I noticed that my old copy of Food For Free only shows the flower of this foragers favorite. It is worth mentioning that foragers should only use such books as a source of inspiration. I use two detailed wild plant guides when identifying and getting know new plants. Foraging books are good for suggesting what to look for and how to use them.