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Weed Walk
September 6, 2012

Green greetings to you all.

There are still lots of new plants coming into bloom. Get your walking shoes on. Or take them off. Barefoot might be the better choice, as we are going to go to some wet places this week and next week too. Swamps and seeps, wet fields and drainage ditches are the best places to meet the high-stepping, fun-loving, many-knees sisters, the Polygonaceae.

“Poly” means “many,” and “gonu” is “knee,” hence the Polygonaceae are the many-knees sisters, also known as the buckwheat beauties, the naughty knotweeds, the sour sorrels, and the smarty-smart-smart smartweeds. They all have flowers that look like embroidery knots, with the sexual parts well hidden, so identification based on flowers is clear for the family but difficult for the species. All buckwheat family plants have three-cornered seeds, like little pyramids, like kasha (buckwheat), the most edible member of this family.

There are no poisonous plants in this family, although the oxalic acid some accumulate in their leaves can be problematic, as in the case of rhubarb leaves. And although some substances in the roots of some members can have a profoundly laxative effect. And although some make your mouth sting.

I asked a local farmer once if there was a way to tell the difference between the edible smartweeds and the inedible ones. “Well,” he replied, “I guess you have to be smart to tell the difference.” “Nope,” said his pal. “If you aren’t smart enough to tell them apart, your tongue will smart (sting).”

The many knees family has lots and lots of interesting members. In fact, there are so many edible, medicinal, and useful species (and genera) in this family that I need two weeks to introduce you to them. This week we will visit the smarty-smart-smart weeds, the vicious tear-thumb clan, and two knotweeds, including a menace (Japanese knotweed) that turns out to be a possible cure for Lyme disease.

I’m on the road for the first two weeks of September. Hope to see you in Floyd (VA), Philo (CA), or at Z Budapest’s Goddess Fest in Southern California. Or back at Laughing Rock Farm for more classes, moon lodges, and weed walks when I get home.

Until then,

Green blessings.

Susun Weed

To read the entire Wise Woman Herbal Ezine, including recipes and full color photos, visit:

Author's Bio: 

Susun Weed, Copyright 2012

LEARN HOW TO PREVENT ILLNESS AND HEAL YOURSELF safely and easily the Wise Woman Way. Women's health forum, FREE women’s forum, weblog, and email group. Topics include menopause, breast health, childbearing, fertility, disease prevention, nutritional advice, and cancer prevention. Visit the Wise Woman Web

Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health.

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