Second Spring & A Bit about Wild Buckwheat
Just when I think the plants will soon be fading from the landscape, it starts to rain again. While I was on a little Goldenrod gathering walk the other day, I found big ol’ patch of Watercress that was just covering the riverbank. Not only Watercress, but young River Mint, and even some baby bits of Monkeyflower. A few of the Monkeyflowers are flowering and I’m so thrilled to have these late bloomers as I’d been a bit sad to miss making an oil of them earlier in the year. I think a Bluebell and Monkeyflower salve is just what I need this Fall!
My world is full of flowers just now, everywhere I look the Canyon is Gold and Pink and Red. The Artemisias are putting on quite the show, with at leas six different varieties blooming blooming up here on the mesa. One of them even has reddish-gold flowers, and another is delicate and white and has flowers that taste like stevia they’re so sweet. The Salvias are a never ending display of blue and red, with huge, fragrant flowers all over the path and riverbank. The Yarrow continues to bloom, and bloom, and bloom. So much that I was able to make a quart of tincture and dry some for tea too. In a show of flagrant disregard for arborial conventions, the Alders are laden with fresh green catkins and cones in their usual Autumn reproductive rites.
The Wild Buckwheat (in the pictures), are blooming profusely. There’s at four or more kinds here and they’re all flowering right now. They bloom white, then change to brilliant pink and later a harvest orange. It’s the flower that can’t make up it’s mind just what color it would like to wear. These various Eriogonum spp. have a long tradition of medicinal use in the Rocky Mountains. They’re especially connected to expecting mamas and babies. Mothers still use the plant as an analgesic for back and hip pain while pregnant, to speed childbirth and to ease water retention. Newly born babes are often washed in a gently astringent bath of the plant (flowering tops generally) infusion while scrapes and rashes can be treated with an ointment or foment of the same.