Weedy Wednesday

Nightshades have been misunderstood throughout the years. Most folks even cringe at the mere mention of the nightshade, however this is a problem of ignorance more than anything else. The nightshade family is a rich and beautiful one that can boast such members as tomatoes and chile peppers. The member of this family that I would like to focus on today, as I have been working a good deal with this plant recently, is the American Nightshade.

The American Nightshade, or Solanum Nigrum, grows all over Central Texas, popping up all over in folks’ yards. It is likely that you would never notice it if you are diligent about mowing and such. I am not, however, preferring to let the “weeds” flourish and bring to me new teachers for my healing practice. ‘Twas this plant that began flowering in my yard a couple of weeks ago, and drew me to it with its delicate and seemingly fragile blossoms.

nightshade, solanaceae americanun, solanum nigrum

Though this photo does not do full justice to the beauty of this magnificent being, it dose make it easier to identify any that might be growing in your area.

Culinary Uses: The berries when green, as seen here, are quite poisonous. When they mature, however, they turn black and there are a great number of accounts of them being quite tasty baked into pies. Be cautious though, and never feed them to children, as they are terribly sensitive to alkaloids and should never eat the berries.

Medicinal Uses: The leaves of this plant can be used in a tea or tincture to relieve and treat stomach afflictions that cause indigestion. Several trusted sources have stated that the oil contained in the leaves can be used topically on skin tumors and the like, though I have not had occasion to test this. The plant have proven to me to be very helpful as an emmenagogue, though I have not found any other documentation of this other than my own experiences learning from this plant.

Magickal Uses: American Nightshade is an excellent protection herb, and can be worn in a medicine bag to add potency to your shielding and protection practices. It can also be used in a tea to cleanse magickal tools and weave protection spells in and around your home.




Weedy Wednesday

oxalis wood sorrel

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Pictured here is a plant commonly mistaken for clover. In actuality, this plant is a wood sorrel also bearing the name Oxalis  corniculata for its oxalic acid content. They do resemble clovers, but their leaves lay differently, and their flowers are much different. Note the small 5 long, thin petaled yellow flower in the top photo. They are markedly different than the many small petaled bulb that true clover yields. In Central Texas where I reside, it is somewhat rare to see true clover, but the oxalis is in most every yard.

Culinary Uses: Oxalis can be added to a salad or atop any food that you would desire adding a bit of a salty, lemony zing to. Please note, one must be cautious when indulging in the delights of the Oxalis, as oxalic acid is harmful to a person is large amounts. However, it is somewhat difficult to ingest the quantity that it would take to make one ill.

Medicinal Uses: This herb is an astringent, diuretic, stomachic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory. Externally as a poultice it can be applied to a swollen or irritated area. It can also be used to cleanse the face, removing dirt and oils. Internally, it can assist in settling the bowels especially in cases of diarrhea.

Magickal Uses: Oxalis is a sweet and gentle being. You can work with her to bring about balance in one’s life and realizing your state of perfect being, in alignment with your higher self.

Weedy Wednesday

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I used to find this plant to be very much a nuisance, until I got to know her better. This plant has many names, probably due to the fact that she will not be ignored. Known as Sticky Weed, Goosegrass, and StickyWilly among others her proper name is Galium Aparine. What makes her so distinct is the fact that her leaves are sticky and cling to one if you brush past her. In this manner she has been able to drop her seeds all over the place, and I can always tell it is Spring when she makes her appearance.

Culinary Uses: Though she is quite bitter to the taste, she is definitely edible. The seeds can also be collected, roasted, and offer a suitable coffee substitute.

Medicinal Uses: Considered an astringent, antispasmodic, diuretic, diaphoretic and vulnerary; the medicinal uses are many. Most commonly the galium aparine is used topically to treat all manner skin irriations, from insect bites to eczema. Internally, as a tea or tincture, this plant can settle and treat various stomach upsets such as indigestion.

Magickal Uses: used in breaking bad habits, spells for creativity, and severing connections that are no longer beneficial.

Medicinal Uses:

Weedy Wednesday

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This verbena is a not one of the more common vervains. However, it is part of the verbenaceae family. Its scientific name is glandularia bipinnatifida.  A wild flower of many central and southern states, it is very hardy and drought resistant, but is at its height in Spring, often dying back before the intense Summer months.

Medicinal Uses: Though it has a terribly bitter flavor, this plant can be used as a tea to reduce fever and has a sedative effect. Externally, a poultice can be made by grinding up the tops of the plant. Topically it is said to reduce joint pain and bone bruising.

Magickal Uses: protection, purification, emotional healing rituals, calming and soothing when used in shadow work

Weedy Wednesday

Pepperweed, aka Lepidium Virginium, is a lovely little annual with wee tiny white flowers.  It is a freely branching plant that has many leaves at the base, but has even more small seed pods as the ones we see in the photo above. This plant stands about a foot to a foot and a half tall and adds sprigs of bright happiness to any field of wildflowers.

The whole plant is edible.  The leaves have a good deal of Vitamin C and can be cooked or eaten raw.  The seeds are a substitute for pepper, hence the common name.

Medicinal Uses: Internally ~ diuretic, antiasthmatic, used to tread scurvy, expels intestinal worms, among other uses. Externally ~ can be used as a poultice to treat rashes and poison ivy.

Magickal Properties: purification, healing, awakenings

Weedy Wednesday

Spiderwort, also known as Tradescantia Virginiana, is a lovely flower.  When mowing the lawn I make certain I leave these untouched.  They are a joy to behold as I work and look out the window. They are very hardy and resilient, as is part of the definition of a “weed.”  However, they are also very sensitive to pollution and radiation. Scientists have noticed that their flowers will change from purple to pink when exposed to such toxic environments.  If you see pink spiderworts, I guess it would be a good idea to vacate the premises!

Medicinal Uses: It is said to be good for all manner of digestion issues and stomach complaints.  It can also be used to ease menstrual cramps.  All parts of the plant are edible and can be steamed or eaten raw.

Magickal Properties: Attracting abundance, love spells, house blessings, maintaining balance,

Weedy Wednesday

Today we shall explore Lantana.  Now I know that this in not considered a weed by some, but it fits all of the definitions.  Lantana grows anywhere and everywhere, it is invasive and takes over any spot where you might plant it, it does not contain easily, etc., etc. Below is a photo of some wild Lantana that I saw while walking along the creek a few days ago. It is of the purple variety, my favorite.

Lantana is part of the Verbena family, and this particular one (pictured above) is Lantana montevidensis.  This plant loves a sandy, well drained area, but is super hardy and adaptive that it will do well in even unfavorable conditions.  This plant also does well to curb erosion in areas where this is a problem.

Medicinal Uses: this plant does bear fruit, but the green berries are highly poisonous. DO NOT EAT THE GREEN BERRIES!…… However, if you take the leaves and crush them to make a tea they have many uses. They are good for indigestion, rheumatism. colds, and chest congestion. Externally, you can use it as a poultice on insect bites and bee stings.

Magickal Uses: prosperity, accomplishing tasks with vigor and vim, working with bees

Weedy Wednesday

So, remember in my last post, how I promised that I would explore a different “weed” each week?  Well, as it turns out, I have chose Wednesdays for just such a purpose.  Mostly I chose this day because I love, love, love alliteration, and the title “Weedy Wednesday” makes me giggle.

Salad Fixin's

The chosen “weed” of the week is the lovely and delicate Henbit, aka Lamium Amplexicaule, is a member of the mint family..  I consider this the Scarlet O’Hara of Texas weeds because she does not care for the heat, but likes the cool, shadier spaces in Spring. When the heat comes she faints straight away.

Henbit leaves are round and soft with scalloped edges, and the flowers are long and and purple, reminiscent of violets. Both can be cooked or eaten raw.  I have only eaten them raw but plan to gather a good bit from my yard and try steaming them.  The flowers have a bit of a sweet flavor to them, and the leaves taste as one would expect greens to taste.  They are not overly bitter like kale, or nutty like arugula, but milder.

Medicinal Uses: I have read many different uses for this plant. It is said to be antirheumatic (used for treating rheumatism), aids in digestive upsets, but can also be a laxative. It is an excitant, stimulant, and diaphoretic (induces sweating). I also read that it can be used as an emmenagogue. All these benefits can be had when one ingests them, however, as a poultice this plant can be used to treat stings and bites and to reduce swelling.

Magickal Properties: Can be used in spells for awakenings, bringing hope, enduring hardships, and overcoming obstacles.

Mother Nature Knows Best

This year I am beginning a new phase in my gardening. In past years I have tried to mold the Earth in  which I worked to fit my whims and desires. What I mean by this is that if I wanted to plant something, I did so with little regard for how much water or other resources it might use. After last year’s exceptional drought I have decided to make different choices in my garden.  I shall plant more hardy and drought resistant plants, ones more suited to a sweltering Texas summer.

In addition to planting more native plants, I am also learning more about the so-called weeds. So few people actually appreciate the many uses of such plants as the dandelion. Even its beauty is lost on most.  There are so many flowers and greens like the dandelion, so many taken for granted. I plan to set aside a post each week to explore the wild plants in my neighborhood and get to know their many facets from medicinal to magickal.