Tag Archives: plants

Weekly Puzzler Answer #143

The leaves are edible

The leaves are edible

So last week’s puzzler was a video, showing a lot of one plant on a bank beside a stream. Were you able to recognize it?

Here’s a clue… perhaps you’ve eaten it! Those plants are RAMPS, an edible plant that has a mild, garlicky flavor that is highly prized among those who collect wild edibles.  Both the green leaves and bulbs are edible. Ramps, also called wild leeks, are native to the forests of eastern North America. As you can see from the video, they are one of the first plants to burst out of the soil in spring, filling the otherwise drab woods with glorious green. They will not last long, turning yellow long before the trees get their first leaves.

They do not last long!

They do not last long!

Have you tried them? Here are a few recipes if you find some in a forest near you.

Rampy Ramp Risotto

Grilled Ramps

Asparagus and Ramp soup with yogurt

and finally, Loaded Vegetable Spring Quiche

If you Google ramps you will find LOTS more recipes. And one more thing–if you do find a patch of ramps, please don’t harvest them all! It’s best to practice sustainable harvesting so the ramps will continue to grow for many years to come. Here are a few pointers on harvesting ramps:

  1. Never take all the plants in a bunch. At most, take half of the leaves, leaving some of the older ones to grow.
  2. If you’re going to harvest the bulbs, do not use a shovel as this unnecessarily disrupts the soil. Instead, use a small soil fork or trowel with a knife. And just like the leaves, do not take them all. Taking all the bulbs is a sure way to end the profusion of ramps in the future in that spot.
  3. Be careful where you step so as to not stomp down everything in your path on the way to get the ramps.
  4. Make sure you have permission if the land is private. Most homeowners do not appreciate someone coming onto their land and digging something up. And if it is in a national park or state land, know the rules before you pick. Different parks have different rules about edible plants and it’s definitely not always legal.

The New York Times wrote an article about over harvesting ramps a few years ago–in some places it has become a problem and is banned.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about ramps! Do you have a favorite recipe? Do you pick them? Do you like them? Use the comment box below!

Here’s the next puzzler.

Posted in Interesting Plants, Weekly Puzzler | Also tagged , , , Leave a comment

Weekly Puzzler #143: Spring Greens

Wow, it’s been a long time since we’ve done a puzzler! Are you ready for some more?

I was out walking with our dog, Schroeder yesterday and noticed an entire bank beside the stream covered with green. It’s a sure sign that spring has arrived here in western North Carolina! Has it arrived where you live?

I thought I would do a video puzzler, taking you with me to see what I saw…. Do you recognize this plant?

Use the comment box below to give your guess. As always, all correct guesses will be entered in a quarterly drawing. The next drawing will be on the first day of summer. Good luck and hope to hear from you soon.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Posted in Weekly Puzzler | Also tagged , , 9 Comments

Weekly Puzzler Answer #139

Did you recognize the nuts from last week’s puzzler? They are black walnuts from the black walnut tree, Juglans nigra.

nuts33-1254

nuts33-3876

Black walnut trees can grow up to 150 feet tall and are native to the eastern and central United States. The bark of a black walnut tree is blackish to dark gray with deep furrows. The leaf is a compound leaf that can be 18 inches long.

nuts33-6142An interesting fact about black walnut trees is that they produce this toxic substance called juglone in its roots and leaves that can kill other vegetation growing nearby. Thus, sometimes you might see black walnut trees growing all alone in the middle of a field. Some plants, such as morning glory, rose of Sharon, pansies, black raspberries, plums and squash,  are immune to this toxin and can still prosper there.

Here is the next puzzler! And this is your LAST CHANCE to be entered in the quarterly drawing as I have decided I want to give away my holiday DVD to the winner and want to send this out before the 25th, thus, not waiting until the 21st to pull the winner. If you want to be entered in the drawing, use the comment box below. All correct responses will be eligible. Good luck!

And have a fabulous weekend!!

Posted in Interesting Plants, Weekly Puzzler | Also tagged , , , , 2 Comments

Weekly Puzzler Answer #138

m3-6725Were you one of the people who knew the answer to last week’s puzzler? The beautiful low growing plant with bright red berries?

It is Cornus canadensis –Commonly known as Bunchberry, Bunchberry Dogwood, Dwarf Dogwood, Canadian Bunchberry, Dwarf Cornel, or Creeping Dogwood.

In the spring and summer it has lovely white flowers which resemble those on our flowering dogwood trees, hence the name of Bunchberry Dogwood. You can see a photo of these flowers here.

Here is the next puzzler!

See you again soon.

Posted in Interesting Plants, Weekly Puzzler | Also tagged , , , , Leave a comment

Weekly Puzzler Answer #137

rowan-0013Did you recognize the stalk with bright red berries from last week’s puzzler? These are the berries from a plant called Jack in the Pulpit, or Arisaema triphyllum. Have you seen it? It looks like this:

m3-4435 m3-7067

This plant has the rare ability to change its sex based on the area where it grows. It may live for 20 years and can change again and again and again. When it has the right nutrients and moisture and has reached a sufficient size to provide resources to support a flower and fruit, it will be female. When it lacks nutrients, it reverts to a male plant. A jack that makes male flowers has only one main leaf whereas a female has two.

m3-0009

Since it has only one leaf, it is a male.

Check out one more puzzler with RED berries.

Posted in Interesting Plants, Weekly Puzzler | Also tagged , , , Leave a comment

Weekly Puzzler #138: More RED Berries!

So since we’re on a role of seeing RED, let’s do one more. Check out this plant, which, by the way, grows throughout most of Canada, Alaska and the northern United States, south in the mountain regions, to Virginia in the east and to New Mexico in the west.

Have you ever seen it on a hike? Isn’t it beautiful in the fall with its bright red berries? Do you know what it is?

m3-6725

If so, add your guess to the comment box below for your chance to win the next give-away–a drawing on the first day of winter. All correct responses will be entered.

See you again soon.

Posted in Interesting Plants, Weekly Puzzler | Also tagged , , , 4 Comments

Weekly Puzzler #137: Tight Red Cluster of Berries

This week’s puzzler features another plant with bright red berries, though these are much closer to the ground, on a plant rather than a tree. Have you ever seen these while out walking in the woods? Do you know what plant they are from?

rowan-0013

As always, if you want to guess, feel free–just use the comment box below the post. I’d love to hear from you and remember, all correct guesses will be entered to win a free prize. I give away a prize 4 times each year–on the first day of winter, spring, summer and fall. December seems like a long way off, but really, it’s just around the corner! Some prizes have been a sampler pack of my greeting cards as well as a blank notebook. 

Have a great weekend! See you again soon.

Posted in Interesting Plants, Weekly Puzzler | Also tagged , , 4 Comments