Smartweed Bouquet, Hog Peanut in Bloom, and Cats Laying Around

Edible bouquet, pretty in pink (and possibly spicy)

Pennsylvania smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum) is absolutely everywhere up here right now. Smartweed’s greens and flowers are edible, and good as raw or cooked greens. Some people say the flowers are very spicy (causing one’s mouth to “smart”) but I haven’t had that experience with them. I’m guessing that varies by region.

The red clover in this bouquet is also edible! I typically use the flowers and greens in salads, but I’ve also dried and ground the flowers for adding to bread.

Smartweed and red clover bouquet
Smartweed and red clover bouquet with first buckeye of the season

Everything I’ve read tells me that the yellow buckeye (by the vase) is not eaten by humans or anything else, and yet I see ours nibbled and carried off every year. This buckeye is the first I’ve seen this year, still not ready to come out of its hull. I absolutely love buckeye season, and can’t resist picking up the glossy nuts when they fall.

Beezus during honey extraction chaos

Here’s a photo of Beezus lounging at the door to one of our upper decks (not the one the bear recently pooped on). She was hanging out there all day as we bustled in and out below her extracting honey. She likes to be around, but not directly connected to, all the chaos.

Beezus at the door
Beezus at the door

Hog peanut in bloom

Hog peanut vines (Amphicarpaea bracteata) are also blooming, and like the smartweed and clovers, they produce some wild edibles, if you’re interested. These vines are in the bean family, and climb all over taller plants in our understory. To get at the edibles, you have to uproot the plant and find the little “peanuts” that grow underground.

I haven’t eaten any to date. I keep saying I will, then I don’t. Since I don’t have any hogs (although I have had my neighbor’s hogs in the yard before), I tend to leave the tiny edibles like this one for the chipmunks and mice, and focus instead on the more abundant items. Like Pennsylvania smartweed and red clover!

If you’re not used to seeing hog peanut in the woods, the three leaves might make you think it’s poison ivy, but the leaflets have smooth, rather than toothy, edges.

Finally, heeeeere’s Pippi!

She’s looking very whiskery and happy in the sunshine at the top of our front steps. We are all enjoying the end of summer here.

Pippi on the deck
Pippi on the deck

2 comments on “Smartweed Bouquet, Hog Peanut in Bloom, and Cats Laying Around

  1. Smartweed. I like that name, although seems to me that most weeds are pretty smart! I have never tried to eat this one. I like the idea of grinding red clover blossoms to use in bread.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      Susanna, you are SO right: weeds ARE smart! I love that about them. And since red (and white) clovers are so plentiful here, it’s pretty easy to pick a bucket full, then dry them in the over (I wish I had a dehydrator), and pop them into your Vitamix blender or a food processor to grind into flour. Last time I did it I stored my clover flour for about 6 weeks before using it, and I bet you could keep it even longer than that.

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