Tag Archives: edible plants

Plant of the day: huckleberry

Vaccinium ovatum

One of my favorite Fourth of July memories is eating my great-aunt Martha’s huckleberry pie when I was a kid. We’d gather at the family campground by a little river, and eat California delicacies like abalone, venison, and this wonderful pie. Huckleberries are a wild-tasting fruit, tart but sweet. They taste of pine forest and long days with picking buckets. The little fruits hold their texture even when cooked, they  pop in your mouth with a satisfying burst: perfect when blended with sugar and a flaky crust.

Huckleberries (Vaccinium ovatum) grow all along the west coast – from Canada to Alaska – but not many people cook with them often since they are so small that picking enough for a pie takes a long time. Look for them  in forests and clearings, often on slopes. The shrubs are attractive, with dense shiny foliage of small oval leaves. White lantern-shaped flowers give rise to small, round, dark purple fruit that looks like a small blueberry.

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Filed under Edible, Good for gardens, Native, Plant of the day

Plant of the day: wild radish

Masses of delicate easter-colored flowers fill fields and hillsides, standing as tall as your waist or even shoulder. These pale yellow, purple, and white flowers are wild radish, or Raphanus sativus. You can see a fantastic showing of them along the first part of the Pierce Point trail on the Point Reyes Penninsula.

These flowers also taste good—take a trailside nibble or add flowers and pods to a salad for a spicy radish taste. And there are those four simple petals again! That’s right, the wild radish is in the Brassicaceae, or mustard, family that I wrote about last week.

According to the Marin Flora, the local wild radish is actually a hybrid between R. sativus and its cousin, R. raphanistrum.

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Filed under Edible, Invasive, Non-native, Plant of the day