We hope you have enjoyed the SRGC Forum. You can make a Paypal donation to the SRGC by clicking the above button


Author Topic: My edible "alpines"  (Read 16236 times)

Stephenb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • 20,000+ day old man
My edible "alpines"
« on: February 15, 2009, 09:44:24 AM »
I donít know whether this is the right place for this, but Iím sure it will be moved if itís wrong.

First, a few words of explanation as I donít think Iíve introduced myself before. My interest is in edible plants and, in particular, exploring and growing wild edible plants from around the world (ethnobotany in short, but mainly food plants, not medicinals), and in particular the more hardy species that have a chance in my garden near the Norwegian city, Trondheim.  I remember years ago being told by a leading North American herbalist that the Rock Garden clubs were an excellent source of the more unusual herbs. I therefore originally joined NARGS and subsequently SRGC and AGS and in addition to compiling my own seed trade list, Iíve managed to source many of the plants that Iíve been keen to try. Quite a few of them would be classified as rock garden plants.  A good example is Sideritis syriaca from the White Mountains of Crete, probably the source of the most popular herbal tea in Greece, but almost unknown in Herb Gardens in Europe, but you can occasionally find it in rock gardens.



For obvious reasons, the genus Allium is one of my favourites. Therefore, I thought Iíd show a few of them here (as I get round to it).  Some may well be wrongly identified, so please correct me (part of the reason for posting here is to tap into the wealth of knowledge you all represent).  I also have a couple of unknowns that Iíd like identification help with.
I am also interested in increasing my collection. I have a large trade list with some 50 Alliums, so send me a PM if you might be interested.

The first 4 pictures are of one of my favourites,  Allium wallichii. I have tried various cultivars (seed propagated), some of which are still small and Iíve also lost a few. The pictures are of my oldest plant. Not sure if this is a cultivar or close to the speciesÖ. It is one of the latest emerging in the spring/early summer along with Allium macranthum, seems to spread underground surprisingly far for an Allium. It is used wild collected for food in Nepal, where it is also economically important. Iíve only used the leaves so far.  They are relatively strong tasting.  For the curry-loving Brit, try in dal!  Itís quite a large plant so quite productive once it gets goingÖ










Stephen
Malvik, Norway
Eating my way through the world's 15,000+ edible species
Age: Lower end of the 20-25,000 day range

Carlo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 921
  • Country: us
  • BirdMan and Botanical Blogger
    • BotanicalGardening.com
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2009, 05:58:50 PM »
Stephen,

Now there's a topic I don't believe I've seen on any of the discussion lists--edible alpines.

I'll look forward to hearing more about your plants/garden.
Carlo A. Balistrieri
Vice President
The Garden Conservancy
Zone 6

Twitter: @botanicalgarden
Visit: www.botanicalgardening.com and its BGBlog, http://botanicalgardening.com/serendipity/index.php

Lesley Cox

  • way down south !
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16286
  • Country: nz
  • Gardening forever, house work.....whenever!
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2009, 08:52:43 PM »
I imported a plant of Sideritis syriaca from the UK many years ago, can't remember from which nursery. It and other species are in the seed lists occasionally. The tea make from it is apparently hallucinatory, hence its great popularity in Greece and Turkey

In a previous garden I made a herb garden of (probably) not edible herbs, but ornamental ones, Origanums, sages, thymes, mints etc. The smells and foliage colours and patterns were lovely. Maybe I'll do it again.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

David Nicholson

  • Hawkeye
  • Journal Access Group
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 12894
  • Country: england
  • Why can't I play like Clapton
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2009, 08:54:53 PM »
Given that we have a 'recession' in the UK this thread could prove to be very popular ;D
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

Casalima

  • Not lost in translation
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 468
  • Country: pt
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2009, 09:07:14 PM »
Fascinating, Stephen! I would love to read about more of your plants.

(A friend here is planting a garden in which every plant is either (pleasantly) scented or edible!)
Chloe, Ponte de Lima, North Portugal, zone 9+

gote

  • still going down the garden path...
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1596
  • A fact is a fact - even if it is an unusual fact
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2009, 05:29:51 PM »
Hi Stephen,
I assume you know about Allium scordoprasum. On Gotland it is called 'Kaip' and it is quite a seasonal festival when it is picked in the spring.
We tried a Kaip-potato soup last spring (It is a weed in our garden) and it was quite goood.
GŲte
GŲte Svanholm
Mid-Sweden

Stephenb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • 20,000+ day old man
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2009, 06:02:18 PM »
I imported a plant of Sideritis syriaca from the UK many years ago, can't remember from which nursery. It and other species are in the seed lists occasionally. The tea make from it is apparently hallucinatory, hence its great popularity in Greece and Turkey

I've certainly never had any exciting experiences from Sideritis tea. Have never heard of it being a hallucinogen. Would appreciate if you have a reference...
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 06:04:00 PM by Stephenb »
Stephen
Malvik, Norway
Eating my way through the world's 15,000+ edible species
Age: Lower end of the 20-25,000 day range

Maggi Young

  • Forum Dogsbody
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 41475
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2009, 06:38:41 PM »
I imported a plant of Sideritis syriaca from the UK many years ago, can't remember from which nursery. It and other species are in the seed lists occasionally. The tea make from it is apparently hallucinatory, hence its great popularity in Greece and Turkey

I've certainly never had any exciting experiences from Sideritis tea. Have never heard of it being a hallucinogen. Would appreciate if you have a reference...

Ian is very partial to tea... of all sorts  ::)
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."

Stephenb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • 20,000+ day old man
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 07:00:04 PM »
Hi Stephen,
I assume you know about Allium scordoprasum. On Gotland it is called 'Kaip' and it is quite a seasonal festival when it is picked in the spring.
We tried a Kaip-potato soup last spring (It is a weed in our garden) and it was quite goood.
GŲte

Yes, Allium scorodoprasum is an interesting plant found around the coasts of Norway and Sweden and it's probably a relict of cultivation going way back. The vikings cultivated an Allium called "Geirlauk" (which is the root of the English word Garlic). Geir=Spear; Lauk=Onion. The most likely cultivated species seems to be Allium scorodoprasum, although there are a couple of other candidates, including Allium sativum (Garlic).  I have Allium scorodoprasum  from 4 localities in Scandinavia, two from Denmark, one from southern Norway and the last is actually from Gotland, from Vale Gaard (Vale Farm), a farm that can be traced back to the time of the Vikings! 

So, here are a few pictures of scorodoprasum, first the spring shoots:



You can see here why it is believed that this is the Vikingís Spear Onion:



It has both flowers and bulbils:



I actually have a small project (for the Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre) working on collecting "old onions" from old gardens, and usually from old people  ;)  and scorodoprasum is one of the species we are interested in collecting. The four we have so far do actually vary quite a bit.
Stephen
Malvik, Norway
Eating my way through the world's 15,000+ edible species
Age: Lower end of the 20-25,000 day range

Stephenb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • 20,000+ day old man
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2009, 07:02:42 PM »
Ian's welcome round any time for a sip or two of Sideritis-tea...

I take no responsibility for his subsequent actions, though....
Stephen
Malvik, Norway
Eating my way through the world's 15,000+ edible species
Age: Lower end of the 20-25,000 day range

Stephenb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • 20,000+ day old man
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2009, 07:32:41 PM »
Thanks to your encouragement, I will continue...

Next stop is North America, the West Coast. Allium validum, the Swamp Onion or Pacific Onion is common in wet mountain meadows in California and further north and seems to love the conditions I throw at it here in Norway, in damp soil next to a small pond. The bulbs and leaves were food for Native Americans over its range. Itís quite a large species and quite attractive too I think. It would fit in perfectly in that damp spot next to the waterfall in your rock garden (you know where I mean, I'm sure ;) )

I started mine from seed from two different sources a few years ago. Herein lies a story, because the seeds of one of these two plants flew across the US a few hours before 9/11. I had been at a conference in California and had collected the seed myself....

The plants from the two sources are here growing side by side and the shade of green is strikingly different. It emerges early in the year. The picture is taken on 1st May:



Itís quite a tall plant:



In flower:





Altogether, a garden worthy Allium in my opinion....
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 07:36:58 PM by Stephenb »
Stephen
Malvik, Norway
Eating my way through the world's 15,000+ edible species
Age: Lower end of the 20-25,000 day range

Lesley Cox

  • way down south !
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16286
  • Country: nz
  • Gardening forever, house work.....whenever!
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2009, 08:10:56 PM »
Stephen, I don't have any specific reference, my comment was based on anecdotal "evidence" from the time Roger and I sent in the Greek mountains. When we showed local people pictures of the plants that we'd seen, they rolled their eyes and fell about and gave us very strong "nudge, nudge, wink, wink," actions that it was very obvious what they were telling us even though they had little English and we, no Greek except a few words. We weren't collecting plants but they wanted to know exactly where we'd seen it and asked us if we had any to spare.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 08:14:18 PM by Lesley Cox »
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Anthony Darby

  • Bug Buff & Punster
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9642
  • Country: nz
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2009, 08:24:37 PM »
Gosh, incredible alpines. 8)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 10:27:48 PM by Anthony Darby »
Anthony Darby, Auckland, New Zealand.
"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution"
http://www.dunblanecathedral.org.uk/Choir/The-Choir.html

Lesley Cox

  • way down south !
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16286
  • Country: nz
  • Gardening forever, house work.....whenever!
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2009, 09:30:32 PM »
A good many fruit-bearing plants are marketed in NZ as "Incredible Edibles" which really makes me angry as most will never bear fruit in our climate or maybe ever, anywhere. Some are berries such as Rubus chamaemorus and another called (I think) R. pentalobus. They have flashy pictures but as all the plants are propagated from single clones, no-one is ever going to get fruit on plants which need both male and females for fruit. And our temps DO NOT go so low as those as the far north of Scandinavia. I once pointed some of this out to someone as she took a plant and was asked to leave the shop. No regrets though. >:(
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Stephenb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • 20,000+ day old man
Re: My edible "alpines"
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2009, 09:55:41 PM »
Gosh, icredible alpines. 8)

I call them edimentals...as in edible ornamentals
Stephen
Malvik, Norway
Eating my way through the world's 15,000+ edible species
Age: Lower end of the 20-25,000 day range

 

In Association with Amazon.co.uk


Scottish Rock Garden Club is a Charity registered with Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR): SC000942