Ever wanted to live more connected with nature but didn’t think it was possible in our urban location? Well, think again, as Wendy from London Bushcraft talks us through the edible plants to keep your eyes peeled for in Greatfield in autumn. Also check out her upcoming foraging and bushcraft events!
Elderberry is used to boost the immune system, to improve heart health, and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. The fruit is a rich source of dietary fibre, vitamins C and A and vitamins of the B group, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc. Elderberries can be added to pies, or used to make jam or wine; you will need to cook the berries. Medieval herbalists said that ‘washing your face with the dew from elderflowers is believed to enhance and preserve a woman’s beauty’!
Wild rose is a sturdy shrub 1.2m to 3m high which has pink or white flowers with five petals. Use rose hips to make a syrup that has high levels of vitamin C. Inside the hips are seeds which have an irritating, hairy covering that must be removed prior to eating. During the Second World War volunteers collected 120,000 tonnes of rose hips to make use of their high levels of vitamin C.
The rowan is also known as the mountain ash, due to the fact that it grows well at high altitudes and its leaves are similar to those of the ash, Fraxinus excelsior, although the two species are not related. Rowan berries are edible to humans, although must be cooked. They are sour but rich in vitamin C, and can be used to make a jelly to accompany meats.
The blackberry is a prickly shrub with lots of thorns. It produces little purple-black berries from August to October. You can eat these raw or make jam or pies from them. There are at least 400 micro species of blackberry in the UK. The flowers can be used in the treatment of constipation, while the leaves can be used in the treatment of diarrhoea.
Please be sure to leave plenty of berries for the birds!
Please note: It is the responsibility of the individual to correctly identify and check their own sensitivity to each plant. Please use more detailed sources to help you correctly identify the plants mentioned. London Bushcraft accepts no responsibility for how this article is used.