February 2009

California Poppy in bloom this morning

California poppy in bloom this morning

I noticed the bright orange of first of the California poppies in bloom this morning – a glorious sunny day after a brief spell of some really refreshing rains. California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is a very easy plant to grow – native, drought tolerant, good looking, and even edible and medicinal. The edible orange petals can add color to your salad. The petals (part of the narcotic poppy family) are also a very very mild sedative. I read somewhere that Native Americans gave them to hyperactive children.

California poppy is our state flower. It’s a good plant for beginner gardeners to grow. They come back year after year, as a good wildflower will. Another thing I enjoy about them is that they have a kind of spring-action seed pod (perhaps there’s a real technical name for this that someone can share) that dries out, bursts and flings the seeds about.

I’ve also got some purple cauliflower nearly ripe and very purple – this shot is from a few days ago.

Purple Cauliflower Ripening

Purple Cauliflower Ripening

A few months ago a group of eco-villagers headed into the Angeles forest to learn a bit about edible native plants from wilderness survivalist Christopher Nyerges. What follows are some photos from that trip . . .

Among the findings were bay, “indian coffee”, a mushroom, and agave (which may be cut into strong fibers and abraded, with some added water, to the point of creating a foamy soap.) Does anyone recall the name of the small green plant photographed here? We also found some buckwheat and other plants I don’t remember and didn’t photograph. Mostly I was just excited about the feast of previously collected wild foods that we had after the walk.