Monday, April 12, 2010

Invasive Honesty (watercolour 4 x 6 in.) Sold

12 April - Honesty, or Moneyplant, Lunaria annua has always grown along the path beneath the Manitoba Maples behind our house in Bishops Mills - at least since we first moved into the village in 1978.  Its magenta (or less often white) blossoms are showy in late summer and its seeds spend the winter between moon-shaped layers of thin parchment, the "money" in one of its names.  Over the past few years we've noticed it spreading farther into the tangle of Manitoba Maples, Buckthorn, and Canada Plum, and we've begun a campaign of harvesting as much of it as we can find for salads, steamed greens, and to feed our caged Rabbits.  Fred and I haven't noticed this European plant spreading invasively in any other place, though I remember it as a child in Guelph.  It is a mustard and seems to now be spreading like the invasive Garlic Mustard.  For the past three years we've been trying to eradicate it entirely here so that it doesn't become invasive elsewhere!

I have been waiting for Violets to bloom, but the big patch of purple Violets is only yet a ground cover of small heart-shaped leaves.  I found the Honesty invading one of our patches Allium tricoccum (Ramp or Wild Leek), and it pulled up easily, as its root is mainly a long tuber.  One of them I painted, sitting in the sun on the back porch. Fred tossed the leaves of the plants I'd pulled into a pot of vegetable broth.  In a small amount it added a pleasant bitterness to the other flavours in our stir fry.  Fred and I use the leaves in our wild spring salads, but haven't tried boiling or pickling the root.

The lower leaves stay alive through the winter.  Those are the pair of reddish ones in this painting, "sunburned" from last year.  The rest of the plant is shooting up in this years new growth.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous, Aleta. You should be a scientific illustrator. Not too late!
    As a fellow botanical watercolour artist, I salute your patience and steady hand!

    ReplyDelete

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