Nov. 19, 2017

edible valerian, Valeriana edulis

This valerian is the buttermilk of edible wild plants. I figure if buttermilk tastes to other people the way it tastes to me, no one could ever drink it. There are scientifically proven genetic differences in the way things taste to people. In this instance the difference may be between indigenous tribes and some of mine. Indians offered the root of this plant to Europeans as a great delicacy. Some Europeans found it to be repulsive. Was this just a practical joke, like the time the Vietnamese gave me the pepper? Apparently not. They really did eat a lot of it. The flowers are about 1/8 inch across, on a tall scape up to about four feet. They grow in fens in the Great Lakes region, and in damp ground generally in the West. This disjunct distribution takes in AZ, CO, IA, ID, IN(E), IL, MI(T), MN(T), MT, NM, OH(E), OR, SD, WA, WI, WY, BC, and ON. Ives Fen Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 5/13/12.