A Virtual Walk Foraging Plants

Naturalist and Conservationist Dan Puplett took us on a virtual walk on Saturday 29th of August as part of the Orkney Foraging Fortnight.

Dan, who lives in Forres, walked us by his local hedgerows and coastline to point out some of the useful and edible plants along the way.

He explained how foraging can help people to reconnect with nature and have a greater respect for the plants and animals around us. He also described the importance of foraging safely and sustainably by not taking too much of anything.

Some of the individual plants pointed out were:

Creeping thistle (cluaran) – can be used for tea but is also important for insects.

Hazel (caltainn)- a plant which has a long history of use. Hazel nuts are a valuable source of food for wildlife.

Rose Hips (ròse seapanach) – the rosa rugosa now prevalent but was introduced into this country from Japan and whose hips are high in vitamin C. And of course the native dog rose. Wild roses are good for bees and birds enjoy the hips.

Rosa Rugosa – Flower and Fruit Credit: Bell

Rowan (caorann) – a tree with many links to folklore and myth. The berries, high in vitamin C, cooked make a delicious rowan jelly. The flowers of the rowan also attract many pollinators whilst the berries are a feast for migratory birds.

Scurvy grass (carran) – Its leaves are very succulent and have been used over the centuries by coastal and island communities as well as seafarers for its high Vitamin C content.

scurvy grass at Yesnaby credit: Bell

There are plants which are unsafe to consume and Dan’s advice to anyone wishing to forage who was unsure was to equip themselves with some reference guides and also to start out with some of the easier to identify – for instance brambles.

photo credit: Bell

Books mentioned by Dan included

  • Food for Free by Richard Mabey
  • The Forager Handbook by Miles Irving
  • Collins Wild Flower Guide

The talk was part of the online LEADER funded Orkney Foraging Fortnight and enabled by the Orkney International Science Festival via their YouTube Channel. You can view it here.

foraging edible plants and berries

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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