Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Going Wild

There are useful many herbs around us that literally, at a pinch, can be used instead of the packaged kind to flavour food. We need to be careful about picking wild flowers and plants though.  There are, after all  rules, in parks, conservation areas and private property.  If a plant appears as the only one in an area it is best to leave it alone for its own preservation but at the other end of the scale we have invasives such as Knapweed which can be pulled.  The key is to know your plants.

Wild Bergamot is common in  this area and is in flower now.  It is used to flavour Earl Grey tea but makes a rather 'perfumy' tea on its own.  It should not be confused with the less common, Cleome which is in its glory now in the Community Forest.  This plant belongs in the caper family and shows off unique pea like pods.  It is a different member of this family which supplies the capers for cooking.  It is unfortunate that these two plants are commonly called Rocky Mountain Bee Plant(Cleome) and Bee Balm (Bergamot)! When carefully observed, it will be seen that the appearance of the leaves and structure of the flowers are very different.  Bergamot or Bee Balm loved by bees of course quickly gives itself away with it's strong scent.

Cleome serrulata, commonly called Rocky Mountain Bee Plant

Cleome in the Community Forest

Monarda, Bergamot or Bee Balm

Monarda, Bergamot 

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