Have you ever considered adding a hardhat to your foraging equipment? You would if you’ve seen the cones of a Bunya Bunya. Weighing from ten to 40 pounds they can kill if dropped from more than a few feet… and they are starting to drop.
Many authorities say the Bunya Bunya fruits only every three years but I know of one that definitely produced cones last year and has already dropped one this year. I think some botanical revision is called for. I am personally going to visit my Bunya Bunya hot spots to look for more cones. The payoff is a starchy kind-of-pine nut that is about the size of a chestnut. Last year I collected about 40 pounds of shelled nuts from two trees. They can be eaten raw or boiled but I like them roasted the best. To read more about the Bunya Bunya so you can find one near you go here.
Mushrooms are not the mainstay of EatTheWeeds which is why Green Deane has been taking classes in them these last three years — isn’t that called continuing education? Or glutton for punishment? Studying mushrooms is humbling. My goal is to not understand the entire fugal phantasm but rather a dozen or so that are reasonably easy to identify. One medicinal mushroom you might be interested in is the Ganoderma. I would add a species name but that is unsettled and fluctuating. But locally it’s fairly easy to find the time of year. Found on or near oaks and pines it grows from the edge and can enclose grass, pine needles or small branches. As for its medicinal use that is beyond my herbalism pay grade but it’s the famous Reishi Mushroom which is touted to stimulate the immune system.
There is a second “Reishi” mushroom found locally, Ganoderma zonatum and is found palms, which it kills. But as it only grows on palms it is fairly easy to identify. These are “shelf” mushrooms usually growing on trees or roots of said. Note the shiny surface. For specific use consult your local herbalist. You can read about them in this past newsletter.
The newsletter will disappear for a couple of weeks as Green Deane goes hiking and teaching in North Carolina for a fortnight. Perhaps a meet up can be arranged. That said four local classes are already scheduled for August: One in Winter Park on August 16th and one at a new location in Melbourne Village, August 17th. The good folks at Melbourne Village have tried to get me to hold a class there for quite a while. We will be walking around the small village and visiting some residential yards as well. It was only after a preview this weekend did I realize it is also where I have attended several folk dance events. I have danced away many weekends at their community center. My feet know the area now my weed-finding eyes will. Whether we will meet at town hall or the community center has not been decided yet. August 23rd there will be a class at John Chestnut Park near Tampa and Sunday the 24th in Port Charlotte. For details go here.
Saturday, August 16th, Mead Garden,1500 S. Denning Dr., Winter Park, FL 32789, 9 a.m.
Sunday, August 17th, Melbourne Village, Melbourne FL, exact location to be announced, either the town hall or the community center. 9 a.m.
Saturday, August 23rd, John Chestnut State Park: 2200 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor, FL 34685, 9 a.m.
Sunday, August 24th, Bayshore Live Oak Park, 23000 Bayshore Rd., Port Charlotte, FL 33980, 9 a.m.
One way to increase the chances of finding wild edibles is knowing where to look. One plant that likes a particular spot also has a rather unfortunate name, Latex Strangler Vine. It’s a prime source of food locally and tastes like a zucchini-potato cross. It is also very high in vitamin C. When people ask me where to find it I say abandoned orange groves. This is because it threatened the citrus industry and the state of Florida spent a lot of money trying to control it. A long vine — technically a liana — it would cover citrus tress blocking their light, killing them. It can be found elsewhere but unattended groves and around them is a good place to look.
To that end I was riding my motorcycle home Sunday on Interstate 4 after teaching a class in Sarasota. I was just east of Plant City when I went crested an overpass. Off to my right I could see next to the highway a stand of dead trees planted with the precision of a grave yard. As I got closer and back down to ground level I noticed the tops of many trees were green. That of course is odd, to have the top of the trees green and the rest dead gray. Then I thought Latex Stranger Vine. As I passed at some 70 mph I glanced over and thought I saw some of last year’s fruit still on the vine. And that probably means new fruit this year. You want it when it is about the size of a tennis ball. I did not stop… no exit… and I am not 100% positive it is the strangler vine. But if anyone lives in the area it should be worth a visit. To the above right is an aerial picture of the grove. It is south of Frontage Road, west of exit 25. If you find some send a picture so it can be published here. To read more about the Latex Stranger Vine go here.
On the Green Deane Forum we post messages and pictures about foraging all year long. There’s also a UFO page, for Unidentified Flowering Objects so plants can be identified. Recent topics include: Morning Glory or Yam? Raising Quail for Eggs. Becoming Homeless. Catching Catfish Illegally. Usnea or Moss? Homemade Fire Pistons. Hay. Refined Potato Starch, and Linguistic Overdive (in the social lounge.) The link to join is on the right hand side of this page.
My foraging videos do not include alligators but they do cover dozens of edible plants in North America. The set has nine DVD. Each DVD has 15 videos for 135 in all. Some of these videos are of better quality than my free ones on the Internet. They are the same videos but many people like to have their own copy. I burn and compile the sets myself so if you have any issues I handle it. There are no middle foragers. And I’m working on adding a tenth DVD. To learn more about the DVDs or to order them click here.
To donate to the Green Deane Newsletter click here.