CALABOGIE HIKER: Large Bellwort, Edible, Medicinal (Spring Walk Series)


Bellwort

BLOG 5: This Large Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) medicinal herb was found in very rich soil in a Maple/Beech forested area of the Madawaska highlands. The drooping bell flowers were so delicate and light that any slight wind made it vibrate. Needless to say it took several camera shots before I could get a non-blurry shot. Photographers need to be real patient to capture this beauty. I snapped this picture in May 2016, but the Large Bellwort can be found anytime between April and June in the area. The rich green colour juxtaposed with the yellow flower is easy to find amongst all the decaying brown leaves from last Fall. Bellwort young and tender shoots are edible in the spring and can be steamed or boiled similar to asparagus. Remove any leaves from the young shoots and boil for 10 minutes. Please remember to not forage edibles within 10 feet of a pathway and only pick in areas with an abundant supply. Ethically, wild craft or forage 1/3 of the plants in an area of 12 or more plants so it can remain a perennial in the area forever and not be carelessly killed off. Also, please never eat a plant without careful identification. It is wise to follow your plants for a whole year before you can be certain 'it is what it is'....Traditionally and medicinally, Native First peoples in the area used the root externally in an ointment made with fat or in a root tea wash to alleviate pain from sore muscles, backaches and rheumatism. They made a poultice of the plant for toothaches and other swellings.

(Source: Peterson Field Guide. Eastern/ Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs. Steven Foster and James A. Duke. 2000. pp116. Photo: Colleen Hulett)

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