How Healthy is our Environment? Winter Musings

I recently attended a Tree Croppers field trip to Puketoki Reserve on Whakamarama Road, Bay of Plenty.  We were treated to a wonderful talk by Colin Hewens who is the spokesman for the team of volunteers who have done an epic job of controlling the rats, stoats and possoms.  We were then further treated to […] Read more


Cudweed – Gamochaeta coarctata (formaly Gamochaetata spicata) I’ve seen and known about Cudweed in my foraging for some time, but this is the first time I’ve ever written about it.  Cudweed’s unusual feature is the dual colour of the leaves which are bright green and smooth on the upper surface and white underneath.   The white […] Read more

Hawthorn – Heart Tonic

I’ve recently enjoyed a visit to the Nelson area in the South Island where my friend Jasmin and I went searching for Hawthorn shrubs Craetagus monogyna .  Its autumn and time to harvest the small red fruits (called haws).  We found some bushes along roadside farm fences abundant with haws.  Hawthorn is native to Europe […] Read more

Honouring Hawkbit

In my travels around the country I have been enjoying seeing the bright yellow faces of Hawkbit (Leontodon taraxacoides) in the ditches like a yellow continuous ribbon to look at along the side of the roads. They are about the only flower you see (now they’ve stopped sowing wild flowers) along the miles of motorway […] Read more

Deadly or delicious? Black Nightshade

Happy New Year everyone! This is the first blog for 2017 and I thought I’d start the year with a plant that receives a bad rap.  I’m sure you’ll be surprised to know that Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)   is an edible weed!  It is commonly and mistakenly called ‘Deadly nightshade’ which is a completely different […] Read more

Plentiful Puha

Puha (Sonchus oleraceus) or (Sonchus asper) are lushly going up to flower now in September/October. I notice that the pony is seeking Puha out to eat and spring is the time many indigenous people including Māori gather it for making their boil ups. It is a well known spring tonic. What does Puha look like? […] Read more

Great Barrier Island adventure

August 30th 2016 saw me flying in a tiny FlyMySky plane across the clear, blue sky to Great Barrier Island from Auckland. The smooth flight gave panoramic views of the Island’s bays and inlets and bush clad peaks and valleys and the flat land, much of which looked like wetland.   I was met by […] Read more

Stinging Nettle – A Wild and Unruly Plant

  A sure sign of spring is the new nettle shoots that are growing on the perennial nettle Urtica dioica (below left) . Urtica urns (left) is the other common variety which is annual stinging nettle or dwarf nettle which I have been eating all winter.  It doesn’t mind cooler weather. Annual nettle is common in gardens, under […] Read more

Chicory, lush leaves, pale blue flowers

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) has beautiful bright, pale blue flowers on stems that can reach 120cm tall. It is not flowering now in July but I am still using the leaves, which are lobed, deep green and look like large dandelion leaves, and taste as bitter (the leaves can also be rounded, with a red tinge […] Read more

Oxalis or Wood Sorrel

I hear some groans with the mention of this plant because it is so hard to get rid of in the garden. Up until now I’ve not valued Oxalis at all as an edible weed. I’ve viewed it as containing too much oxalic acid for eating (the same substance in silver beet and spinach which […] Read more