ENCOUNTERS IN GRATITUDE AND A CHANCE TO LISTEN

Good Witches Homestead

by Guido Masé November 19, 2018

A long time ago, Anne and I traveled to Ireland. We vagabonded slowly down the west coast from hostel to hostel, over green hills to rugged seaside cliffs, stopping at standing stones and the ruins of circle forts, visiting old-growth forests left intact for hundreds of years. One day we were wandering in the southwest corner of the island with the goal of reaching one of those old forests. We crossed over a small waterfall. We walked between two ancient, massive linden trees whose roots and branches had grown together, leaving an almond-shaped opening just wide enough for us to cross. And finally, we came to the oak wood we’d been seeking. The trees were old, yes, but not very tall: craggy, leaning at odd angles, with moss covering their trunks up to the lower branches. This forest is still part of a protected area…

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Food as Medicine: Anise (Pimpinella anisum, Apiaceae)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Anise or aniseed (Pimpinella anisum, Apiaceae) is an herbaceous annual that grows to almost a meter (3.3 feet) in height.1,2 The lower leaves of the plant are dark green, heart-shaped, and shallowly lobed, while the upper leaves are feathery. In the summer, the plant produces small, white flowers in an umbrella-shaped head, and, in the fall, these flowers produce aromatic fruits that are three to four millimeters in length. These fruits, called “anise seeds” in the market and referred to in the rest of this article as “seeds,” are the medicinal and culinary portion of the plant.

The cultivation of anise, which is native to the Anatolian peninsula, Greece, and Egypt, has spread to other countries. The plant grows well in warm, frost-free climates.3,4 Anise should not be confused with fennel(Foeniculum vulgare, Apiaceae), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Fabaceae), or star anise (Illicium verum, Schisandraceae), which have…

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Bittersweet … A Tale of Two Sisters

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Kathleen M Hale, Western Reserve Herb Society

The Sisters’ Shame
We were two daughters of one race;
She was the fairest in the face.
    The wind is blowing in turret and tree.
They were together, and she fell;
Therefore revenge became me well.
    O, the earl was fair to see!

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

bittersweetA lot of legends of magic, revenge and sorcery begin with two sisters. Sometimes they are friends.  Sometimes they are rivals.  But an unspoken message in many stories is, “Don’t pick the wrong one!” Increasingly, North American gardeners are finding themselves faced with this dilemma.  The choice may be between a native plant and its sometimes seductive, sometimes invasive sister, introduced from elsewhere.

Bittersweet gives us such a story. American bittersweet, Celustrus scandens, is seen everywhere this time of year in wreaths and dried arrangements. It has tiny vivid orange fruits…

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