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February Article
Can Some of your Weeds be a Tasty Treat?

Just imagine for a minute, it's late May, light breeze, low 70's, the sun is shining brightly, and you are walking slowly, admiring your amazing native woodland edge.  But wait!! Ugggg!! You gasp as you come across an invading patch of young burdock.  Immediately, you get down on your knees and start pulling and pulling.  At the end of your admirable weeding, you have an impressive mound of helpless burdock.  Before you add these bad acting plants to your compost pile, you might want to consider an alternative.

Did you know that many of the weeds that you find in your native garden or restoration are in fact edible? Low and behold some even taste good with a little culinary finesse! Maybe weeding won't seem like such a laborious chore if you can save a few greens for a tasty and healthy lunch or dinner.

Disclaimer: Before you eat any weeds make sure that you have positively identified each plant species! Also, make sure you wash all plants thoroughly before cooking.

Here are ten weeds often found in our restoration areas that can be used to satisfy your appetite:

1. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) - Stop! Get your gloves and be

Stinging Nettle
careful when collecting this plant! If you rub up against it with your bare skin it can leave a rash and bring on a stinging and itching sensation.  It has dark green leaves with many teeth and tiny greenish-white flowers that are clustered along the stem. Many people carefully collect the leaves of this plant and then boil them to make a tea. Once the plant material is boiled, it loses its stinging capabilities and is safe to eat.


Lamb's Quarters

2. Lamb's Quarters (Chenopodium album) - A very common weed found in many yards or disturbed sites, Lamb's Quarters has light green leaves with a silvery underside. You can eat the young leaves raw or boil them in water and cover with a slab of butter. The seeds can also be collected as a sort of quinoa-like grain or they can be crushed for flour.


3. Burdock (Arctium minus) - This plant is often


distinguished by the burrs you find embedded in your clothes and dog's fur.  With young plants, the stems and roots can be peeled and boiled, and some say it tastes like asparagus.



4. Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) -Purslane is a short, creeping plant with dark green, round leaves and small yellow flowers. It has very high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, making it very healthy to eat.



5. Dandelions (Taraxacum

 officinale) - This familiar small, yellow flowered plant is very common and easily identified.  It is full of essential vitamins. Use the leaves for a salad or a nice flavorful  tea. The

 flowers can also be made into wine! You can also eat the roots, like other root vegetables, or it can be used as a coffee substitute.



6. Plantain (Plantago major) - This is a short dark green plant with ruffled leaves and stems with small green flowers. Harvest the young leaves and boil them. Then saut√© them with butter and garlic.



2005 Peter M. Dziuk



7. Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) - This European weed chokes out small streams and creeks. It is just like the watercress you can find in the grocery store.  Use the leaves in salads, soups, and other great dishes!


Curly Dock


8. Curly Dock (Rumex crispus) - Curly dock has long wavy green leaves. It forms a rosette its first year, and then sends a shoot of flowers up its second year. The plant and its flowers turn a rusty color in the fall. The young leaves can be eaten raw while the older leaves taste better cooked. The rust colored seeds can be eaten raw or cooked and ground to make a coffee substitute.


9. Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea)

Creeping Charlie

Creeping Charlie is a very short plant with dark green leaves, a reddish stem, and small purple flowers.  It invades lawns and restorations as a ground cover.  Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked and then added to a soup or omelet.  Leaves can also be used for tea. Some homebrewers even put it in their beer like hops to improve clarity and preserve taste!


Garlic Mustard

10. Garlic Mustard (Alliaria officinalis) - This is a common weed with white flowers that grows best in the shade. It stays in a rosette on the ground its first year and then sends up a stalk with flowers its second year. You can harvest the early leaves, flowers, and seed ponds to eat raw or cook to add a peppery flavor to dishes.


We encourage you to research and learn more about tasty recipes that you can make with these pesky weeds you find in your backyard.  Happy foraging!

Who would have thought that some of your weeds may actually have a silver lining!
Remember, please verify your weed identifications and the proper way to cook your greens before consuming any plant material!

Company News!
Natural Shore Has Moved!

We have moved a mile from our Maple Plain location to a new office in neighboring Independence, MN. Our new location will allow us to better serve our clients' needs. 

Our new retail nursery address is:
1480 County Rd 90.  Independence MN 55359

Look for more details on our new location soon!

Native Plant of the Month
Sagittaria latifolia

Moisture: Wet
Exposure: Sun or Partial Shade
Color: White
Bloom: July-September
Height: 2-3.5 ft.

Arrowhead grows in colonies in shallow wetlands with attractive arrowhead-shaped leaves and white flowers.  The thin white roots produce large edible white tubers covered with a purplish skin. It has submerged rosettes of leaves and 1 or more flowering stalks with clusters of large flowers.  Both leaves and flowering stalks contain a milky sap.  The plant is tolerant of high levels of phosphate and hard water and reportedly can handle polluted waters.  Two other common names associated with the plant is: Indian potato and duck potato.  The ducks eat the seeds and not the tubers.  Beavers, porcupines & muskrats eat the whole plant and tubers.
Invasive Plant of the Month
Typha spp.

Exposure: Full Sun
Moisture: Wet
Height: 3-10 feet

Located in ponds, marshes, and lakeshores, cattail likes
 calm water up to four feet deep. There is a native cattail, a non-native cattail, and a hybrid cattail found in Minnesota.  While all of these species do have some benefits like shoreline stabilization, wave and ice heave protection, and bird
 nesting habitat, the non-native and hybrid species of cattail can quickly become monocultures that reduce biodiversity. Stalks
 grow 3-10 feet out of the water. The flowers are long green hot-dog shaped spikes at the top of the plant. They turn brown in the summer and then release fluffy seeds.  Management strategies  depend on the site where the cattail has established and can be regulated by the MN DNR. Water safe herbicide treatments, manual removal, or cutting below the water line can be effective at controlling cattail. 
Insect of the Month
Northern Amber Bumble Bee
Bombus borealis
Range: Canada and Northern Midwest and eastern states
Habitat: Wooded areas
Identification: Northern Amber Bumble bees have a completely yellow abdomen. They also have yellow hairs on their face. They have a thick black band of hair on the back and black legs and hair along their sides. They have long tongues and nest in the ground. 

Pollination: Milkvetch species, Obedient plant, Goldenrod species, Joe Pye Weed, Boneset, Aster Species, and others.
February 2016 Issue
Our Company
Retail Nursery News
Our retail nursery is currently closed for the season.  For 2016 plant orders, contact Jill at

Click and visit our website for current
Minnnesota Native Plant Brand ensures that plant species are native to Minnesota. 
Upcoming Events!
Design with Nature Conf.
Join us at this year's Wild Ones Design With Nature Conference where the theme is Good Design Matters. Sat. Feb. 20th at the James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall at the University of St. Thomas. 2115 Summit Ave. St. Paul MN 55105

Join us for the Minnesota Native Plant Society's annual Symposium April 2, 2016 at 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Bell Museum, 10 Church St. SE Minneapolis, MN 55455

Visit us at Plymouth's Home Expo   6-9 p.m. Fri., April 8 and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat., April 9  at the Plymouth Creek Center Fieldhouse,  14800 34th Ave. N. Plymouth, MN 55447