Some of our native plants, like Ephedra, are found around the world. Everywhere that Ephedra occurs, Native peoples have found similar uses for it. Prehistoric Plant Ephedra is a fascinating plant that has been on earth since before plants had figured out how to make leaves, not to mention flowers. As a botanist I admire the plant for many technical reasons, and I won’t bore you with details but this unique plant was around LONG before dinosaurs roamed the earth. In fact, there is some evidence that dinosaurs fed on […]
Father Kino may have brought castor plants into the Southwest. The plants were growing in mission gardens by the late 1700’s. Why Castor? Castor oil comes from the seeds of Ricinus communis. (More about the name – here) Some highly effective medicines, insecticides, and uses of the oil come from the castor seeds (they are not – botanically speaking – beans). Caution right here at the start – castor is NOT a plant to grow for home remedies. All parts of the plant contain both useful and highly toxic compounds. […]
Artichokes are about ready to harvest right now in Southwest gardens. Rather than boil them and lose a lot of flavor – roasting them seals in an added layer of flavor! Roasted Artichokes serves 2 or 4 – depending 3 fresh artichokes 2 large fresh lemons 2 tablespoons olive oil fresh herbs chopped fine – fresh if possible, use half as much it they are dried. rosemary, thyme, oregano, and a bit of sage coarse or Himalayan sea salt ¼ teaspoon dried peppergrass seed or freshly-cracked black pepper Preheat oven […]
In honor of World Absinthe Day (March 5) we are posting how to make your own absinthe as well as other liqueurs and cordials. We do urge you to be careful with your alcohol, and have a safety page on alcohol – here. This post includes affiliate links. The Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you if you use the links. Herbal Liqueurs In Europe, liqueurs started as medicinal beverages made with herbs and alcohol. Popular in 17th century […]
Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) is one of the most common and conspicuous wildflowers of the Sonuthwest deserts; seasonally providing a glowing golden-yellow cloak. And yes, the wood is brittle, hence the name. I wrote about growing brittlebush on GardeningWithSoule (here) now lets look at how to use this lovely plant. Brittlebush Resins The resin of brittlebush collected from the base of the plant is often yellowish to brown in color. This resin can be heated and used as a glue. The O’odham and Seri used it for hafting, to hold points […]
Rumex is a tasty wild plant that only shows its leaves in late winter in the Southwest. I’m speaking today about Rumex hymenosepalus, commonly called wild rhubarb, canaigre, hierba colorada, Arizona dock, tanners dock, or ganagra.
Native Southwestern plants grow in mineral rich soil and can naturally help human overall health in a number of specific ways. This topic was researched and is discussed in this post by Dr. Jacqueline Soule.
Sunflowers are an American native plant, used for centuries by the Native people. The plants once grew only in North and Central America (the “New World”). Once Europeans “discovered” sunflowers, they were rapidly carried and planted around the globe. Indeed, sunflowers are one of the plants that were part of the “Columbian Exchange” that we discussed earlier this year in our post about Strawberry Fennel Salad (here). Many Sunflowers to Choose From There are over 70 different species of sunflower (Helianthus). Best known is the garden sunflower (Helianthus annus) which […]
With apologies to English teachers everywhere, I hope I caught your attention with the title. I used it to call attention to the fact that while many plants are called “sage,” only some of them should be used for food or culinary purposes. What is in a Name? The culinary sage you purchase in the store is Salvia officinalis. The name “officinalis” means that it was once considered the medicinal sage, not the “official” sage. The word officinalis is Latin for “of or belonging to an officina.” An officina was […]