Another weed and buttercup blooming

Yesterday I learned the name for another weed, again thanks to Seek:

One interesting thing about petty spurge: it’s being used as a cancer treatment: “The sap from Euphorbia peplus is effective against human nonmelanoma skin cancers” (2011). I haven’t been able to find out yet why it’s called “petty”.

This particular specimen I saw growing in the Living Classroom native plants demonstration garden at our local school; one thing I’ve enjoyed since we moved into the area last year has been helping occasionally with the gardening there and other nearby schools. I’ll probably return soon to pull out this petty spurge. Sorry.

I also noticed white ramping fumitory — love the name — growing near the school. Like I said before, I’m not used to this one. I wonder if it’s become more widespread recently or whether I just overlooked it.

One thing I’m happy about is that one of the buttercups in our garden is blooming:

I wasn’t sure if any of them would survive after a bunny visited our garden last year and nibbled on all of them. (The Idaho fescue it chewed off didn’t make it. Then a falcon visited the bunny.)

I don’t think we’ll get enough seeds to try this this year (or ever?), but one thing I’m curious about is the possibility of eating buttercup seeds. I learned about the possibility from The Real California Cuisine by Judith Larner Lowry, but here’s a PDF with some of the same info. (I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing sometime after discovering it just now.)

Tasting similarly to parched corn, buttercup seeds from at least two Ranunculus species (R. occidentalis Nutt. and R. californicus Benth.) were eaten by some tribes in
pre-contact California, according to written sources. The Sierra Miwok and Nisenan ate
the seeds of R. californicus, and the Indians of Mendocino County, including the Pomo,
ate the seeds of R. occidentalis (Moerman 1998). A popular way to eat the seeds was
to parch or toast them, grind them into flour, and eat them as pinole. Another way to
eat the seeds of R. californicus was to toast them in a toasting basket, pop them open
like popcorn, grind them into flour and eat them as pinole, as was done by the Salinan
(Immel 2007).

Edible Seeds and Grains of California
Tribes and the Klamath Tribe of Oregon in
the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of
Anthropology Collections, University of
California, Berkeley


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