fantasy

Milkweed

I wrote a story a while back, about a mother, and weeds, and the Faery Queen who became her friend through their shared connection as mothers. Mike Allen bought it for this new edition of Mythic Delirium. I’m looking forward to seeing the other stories and poems he has compiled, under that very interesting cover he selected.

mythic delirium 4

Milkweed is one of my favorite weeds. The flowers smell amazing, the seed pods are nifty looking, and the silky floss is, sadly, not strong enough to spin. I have tried. Only in the magical world of my story can it be turned into something like silk. Oh, and it is the host plant of the beautiful monarch butterfly. What more could you ask?

Medieval woman with skeleton

the milkweed painting

Milkweed pod

The pod of the Milkweed plant, all ready for the seeds to fly away on their silky strands.

 

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6 thoughts on “Milkweed

  1. Good morning Cedar!

    Milkweed has at least one other gift to give. Parts of the plant are actually edible. After a few rinses of the freshly picked flower bud umbels, or (later in the season) tender young pods with rapidly boiling water, they can be steamed or briefly boiled, then seasoned and served with butter or hollandaise.

    The bud heads resemble large-flowered broccoli, but with a little bitterness. The young pods are more like okra. Neither is a duplicate of the domestic products, and if insufficiently, pre-rinsed with boiling water, they will too bitter to enjoy at all. But they are delicious when properly prepared. I often pick wild vegetables like milkweed, acorns, elderberries and rosehips to see how well I could survive if those were my only food sources.

    The late Euell Gibbons wrote several very useful field guides in the 1960’s and 70’s which helped identify and make use of various wild sources of nutrition. If you aren’t familiar with his works, I heartily recommend checking them out at your library. “Stalking the Wild Asparagus”, “Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop” and “Stalking the Healthful Herbs”, all by that same author, live on the reference shelf at my house.

    Wild Chef should be on the resume’.

    Love your blog, Rosalie

    On Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 8:07 AM, Cedar Writes

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    • Ah! I should probably dig up some links to the late Farm blog, where I talk about my adventures in wild edibles and even some urban foraging. Euell Gibbons was a childhood hero, and I still own most of his books.

      I have eaten Milkweed, although not much and not often – I was always wary of collecting it late enough to have become bitter. Stir-fried pods have a really interesting texture when very small.

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  2. Anyone who is into wild edibles should pick up Samuel Thayer’s books on the subject. I have two (not sure if the next one is in print yet). One is The Forager’s Harvest; the other is Nature’s Garden. These are the best foraging books I’ve ever seen. Because the author lives in the mid-west (Wisconsin, I believe) the books are more applicable to the region east of the Mississippi River, but there are still quite a few wild edibles that he covers that are found in our area. Thayer covers only a few plants in each book (32 in The Forager’s Harvest, and 42 in Nature’s Garden), but he covers each one in depth, and from extensive personal experience. Too many of the wild edibles authors just copied most of their material from previous writers!

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  3. During WWII when I was in grade school — 1st or 2d grade, 1943-44, IIRC — we collected milkweed pods/silk as a substitute for kapok in military life-jackets. I can clearly remember _large_ bags hanging from the second story windows of the school building, so we must have collected a _bunch_ of the stuff. I haven’t a clue as to how well it worked, though. (Haven’t thought of that in years; thanks for the memory jog! [smile])

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