Can someone verify to some amount of certainty whether or not this is chickweed? I'm pretty sure it is but I wanted to get some verification from others who have experience harvesting it first before I harvested and ate it.
it sure isn't. what you've got there is miner's lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata). also edible, though. I don't personally care for it, but plenty of folks do. I'm told laying it in front of an anthill so the ants will walk over it for a few hours improves the taste, the idea being that they'll leave behind some formic acid and a tart flavor.
actually, looking at it again and you're location, I'm less sure that it's miner's lettuce. it could very well be chickweed. the photograph is a darker green than our chickweed usually is, and I'm not used to seeing it without any flowers.
I would have said it looked like chickweed to me, but I would want to see flowers.
Corn salad, and miner's lettuce, also look similar, and are edible.
I would check with a local person to find out if there are any dangerous local look-alikes to be concerned about. If you don't know anybody who you can have a casual conversation with, I suppose you could call poison control (the number automatically forwards to a local university extension service) and describe the plant. Maybe saying "I found it mixed in with the salad we already ate" rather than 'Can you guarantee me that it is edible'... and they should be able to tell you if it resembles any local toxic plants.
I've got the poison control number on my website under 'backyard salad' along with some pictures of chickweed in bloom from Portland: http://www.ernieanderica.info/gardenandedibleplants The variety we get up here in Tonasket seems darker, and not as tender, but still tasty.
With any wild edible, you want to start with small tastes, rather than a big salad, especially if you're not sure.
Jealous of your feast! The chickweed in my yard are still only millimeters tall....
posted 7 years ago
Get the book "edible wild plants" from John Kallas. This is the best identification book that I've seen - he only covers a handful of plants but there are dozens of great pictures at all stages of growth.
"...Mohawk like hairs running along the length of each stem segment" was one of the recommended identification features that separates chickweed from other similar plants. The book also covers poisonous look alikes. Scarlet pumpernel is one to watch out for - it has a square stem and red flowers.
Eat The Weeds has a great video on chickweed. He shows a couple of different ways to positively identify it. I liked it because I can't tell anything from drawings, I like lots of photos and demonstrations.
Mouse ear chickweed (cerastium fontanum) is not at all related to this chickweed (stellaria media). They have similar names due to looking somewhat similar, but not the same medicinal properties. Mouse ear has much less medicinal value and tastes horrible.
Lovely chickweed crop you've got there!
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