Oregon Gumweed

Oregon Gumweed

Scientific Name: Grindelia stricta

Author: Jake Duncan

Common Names: Oregon Gumweed, Oregon Gumplant, Coastal Gumplant

Identification: Oregon gumweed is a perennial, dicot flowering herb. It is from the Asteraceae or Compositae family which also includes aster, daisy, and sunflower.

It is a small yellow flower with thick stems that can be hairy, and fleshy leaves. It easily branches out and often grows in a shrub-like formation. The flower head produces large amounts of a gummy white sap (exudate), especially in the early stages of blooming.

Location: This plant grows near water on coastal bluffs, tidal flats, marshes, sand dunes, and sea bluffs. It is native to North America but found mostly throughout the Pacific Northwest and south to California. It is commonly found on many shorelines of British Columbia including the Gulf Islands. This species grows well near coastal sage.

Uses: Throughout history this plant has been used as herbal medicine both by Indigenous people of North America and otherwise. It can be used to treat afflictions of the lungs such as whooping cough, asthma, and bronchitis. It can also be used to soothe insect bites, burns, and rashes caused by poison oak or poison ivy.

References:

(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=3967

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=GRST3

Moore, A. J. (n.d.). Grindelia Stricta. The Jepson Herbarium. Retrieved from http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=3113

Grindelia stricta. Discover Life. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=Grindelia stricta

Grindelia stricta var. platyphylla ‘Ray’s Carpet’, Coastal Gum Plant, Perennial,. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=4315

Gumweed. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ravensongseeds.com/herbs/gumweed

Southwest, T. A. (n.d.). Grindelia Stricta, Oregon Gumweed. Retrieved from http://www.americansouthwest.net/plants/wildflowers/grindelia-stricta.html

Sea Asparagus

Sea Asparagus

Author: Alisha Carey

Common name: Sea Asparagus, Pickleweed, and Glasswort.

Scientific name:
Salicornia virginica


Identifying features

Sea Asparagus (Salicornia virginica) is a vivid green bean.  As a green bean it is a dicot and a perennial herb. The bean itself can reach up to 4 inches to a foot in height. It is part of the Chenopodiaceae family and has little braches coming off its stem.


Habitat

S. virginica is found in estuaries. An estuary is where salt water and fresh water meet; it’s where the opening of a river is mixing with the tide from the sea. It grows along the coast of B.C and other coastal areas around the world.

Food

Sea Asparagus is used around the world but is most commonly used in Europe. It can be eaten fresh or it can be pickled. Sea Asparagus has a salty taste; to tone down the saltiness you can soak it in cold water for a couple of hours. It is mostly used in salads or placed on seafood dishes to replace other vegetables. There are many ways you can prepare Sea Asparagus and there are different recipes to meet your culinary needs.

Uses

Sea Asparagus is used in a couple different ways. One way is for culinary use, in restaurants or in your home as substitute for vegetables. Some people use it as medicine to help arthritis and pain. Also the ashes of the plant would be used for soap and glassmaking making which is how it received one of its common names “Glasswort”.

Recipe

You can buy Sea Asparagus fresh or already pickled. This is a simple and most commonly used recipe that includes fresh Sea Asparagus. What you will need is:

  • 1/2 pound fresh sea asparagus
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 ounces butter
  • First you clean and soak the asparagus for 1 hour in cold water. Then you drain and steam for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Rinse the Sea Asparagus in cold water and drain
  • Sauté the shallot in butter for 5 minutes on very low heat; make sure it doesn’t burn.
  • Add asparagus to pan and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn mixture out of the pan and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Photos courtesy of Westcoast Seaweed Inc.

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