This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Flowers and Seed Pods
Things are really starting to happen around here for the Wild Edible and Medicinal Plant enthusiast. Everywhere you look at this 35" 41' Latitude in North Carolina, the Earth is beginning to wake up after it's long slumber. This time of year many of the small mustards are flowering. You can find them mixed in with the Speedwells and Henbit and often growing in patches several feet in diameter on the Natural lawn. In the Mustards, also known as Cruciferae, there are over 3200 species and they are often difficult to key out to a specific species. Take the Mustard plant above. I have been eating this plant in the early spring for as long as I can remember, yet I have not been able to identify it specifically. I know unmistakably that it is a mustard because of the flowers and the seedpods. Once you get familiar with a family of plants it is easy to recognize the similarities of the family. The flowers of the typical Cruciferae  have the petals in an X or cross shape(hence the name Cruciferae or cross) and have 6 stamens(two usually shorter than the other four), . There are two types of seed pods in Cruciferae , short and broad (silicle), and long and thin (silique) and they almost always point upwards on the stem.
 This little plant is a great nibble as the flowers and seedpods are edible, just pluck them off and snack while out working in the garden. Add them to salads or muffins or saute them in a stir fry.
 Hey if anyone can key out this mustard please add a comment so every one who reads this will know.


  1. Hi Alan,

    This is Lewis, one of the people working with the wild food calendar. I've enjoyed looking over your blog! I think this plant is Hairy Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta. It's often lumped it in a common name category with creasy greens. It took me a full year to "really" figure it out to where I'm about 90 percent sure. If it's not in Newcomb's, it can be hard to find! C hirsuta seems to be right though - everyone talks about how prolific it is as a "weed" throughout the country, so it definitely seems to fit.


    Thanks for the website! I've already learned a couple new things here today.


  2. Thanks Lewis. Yea, it's a tough one and I will definitely check out your advice in all the books I have, at least now I have a good place to start.
    Thanks for checking out the Blog, glad you enjoy it.