Foraging walk in London with

By Gavin

Today I thought it would be a good idea to sign up to a foraging walk with in Crystal Palace. It was wet and freezing! However, our guide for the day, James Grant, was knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic.

I’m thinking that once I’ve documented them here, I’ll try to do a piece on each of them once I’ve gone out to find them for myself. I’m not going to include picture of everything here, as I’ll do that in each item’s post.

What we found

Crystal Palace park has a wide variety of edible and non-edible plants. We began by finding young Cleavers, which can be used in salads. I’d been looking at these in the garden for a while and wondering if that’s what they were. Now I know for sure.

  • Common Mallow was an interesting one. I’ve seen it lots, but didn’t know what it was. I’ll be looking out for it and trying its documented uses.
  • Pendulous Sedges were our next find. The edible seeds aren’t present now, but sometimes it’s useful to recognise all of the stages of a plants life.
  • There were some Gorse bushes in flower, and their bright yellow flowers are edible. They taste quite similar to peas or green beans and gorse tends to flower year round.
  • Monkey Puzzle trees were next, believe it or not. They produce giant pine nuts, which apparently are a great food source.
  • Stinging nettles and dead nettles; My list of favourites for foraging includes nettles and they’re widely available. I’m looking forward to trying new things with them.
  • Wood Avens were by the side of the path. The roots are like a slightly weaker version of cloves. I may not use these, as I’ve never liked cloves!
    • We stopped for hot drinks and James unpacked his bag of treats. James had Burdock crisps, Haw ketchup, pickled Walnuts, and Birch sap. We also got to see and smell water mint and various dried mushrooms.
  • We came across an elder tree, hoping to find Jew’s Ear fungus (also known as Jelly Ear). Unfortunately there were none, but James had a bag of them for us to try,
  • We found some Strawberry trees, but unfortunately they fruits had all gone.
  • We came across some old stump puffballs, which are edible if you get them early enough, but these had gone over.
  • Yarrow was there, but very small and hard to find.
  • Strangely, we came across a bedragled Black Nightshade growing from a crack in a wall. From the Deadly Nightshade family, apparently these ripe black berries are edible.
  • Finally, as we were preparing to say goodbye and leave, we came across some chickweed, which was something I’d been keen to find (and it was next to some Field Pennycress too).

All in all a great day and finished on a high for me too. Coming soon, me trying to find those things locally and doing something with them…

Black Nightshade, foraging walk in London

Black Nightshade