Dogwoods are in bloom and spring is truly underway in central Maryland, although the weather is still moody. Three days in a row last week, the temperatures skyrocketed into the upper 80s and lower 90s. Today, I’m bundled up against the damp chill appropriate to early April. Except it’s now May.
Only one new edible weed development this week – I finally found cleavers (Galium aparine) growing in a location where I felt it was safe to harvest – my own yard!
I have seen cleavers growing along roadsides for over a month, so it is not a “new” plant this week like most of my previous posts have showcased. But I avoid gathering plants from locations where they might have been exposed to exhaust fumes or leaky liquids from passing cars.
While cleavers are edible, my one nibble wasn’t that great. Cleavers are more known for medicinal rather than food uses, and now I understand why! I opted to make tea from the handful I collected. Mild in both flavor and color, cleaver tea has a reputation as a tonic and alterative. (An alterative is a medicine that helps restore normal, healthy functions – yes, I had to look up the definition. And no, I don’t know if the tea restored any of my functions, normal and healthy or otherwise!)