We swapped our fortnightly, online staff meeting for an outside Nature & Wellness session and enjoyed a morning celebrating the biodiversity that can be found in of all places – our carpark!
We were led by our colleague Karen who is an Ecologist and member of our Wild Work team and we were amazed to find that we have so many medicinal and edible plants growing around us at our office in Midleton.
Karen spoke about the folklore surrounding the plants and showed us how the characteristics of some of the plants can influence the name and what the plant can be used for. We found that the same plant can have several different names depending on which part of Ireland you come from. An example of this is Gorse which can also be called Furze or Whin. Some of the plants we found included:
Ribwort Plantain Leaf & Flower
Both are edible and the leaves are one of the best cures for nettle stings when out and about. In order to ease a nettle sting, crush or chew the leaf and generously apply the juice to the sting.
It is said by some to be edible but contains high levels of saponins which can cause toxicity in the human body. Then again, legumes (soya, beans, peas, lentils) contain saponins. Saponins are destroyed by prolonged heat and are also very poorly absorbed by the body. Red Campion is probably better enjoyed as a long flower plant that is great for pollinators.
Lime Flowers (Linden) & Leaves
The leaves in early spring make excellent salad greens. The flowers when dried can be used in a soothing tea.
Note the single red flower in the centre. Flowers, leaf and root (carrot) are edible though the root is generally very tough. Caution! This is not a plant for novice foragers. Hemlock is poisonous and can look similar to Carrot to a beginner.
Superficially the flowers look similar to Wild Carrot, but a little close study of the two will soon differentiate them. The leaves of Yarrow are very distinctive, dark green and feathery. Yarrow’s species name millefolium means thousand leaf.
The leaves of the Yarrow plant are also visible under the daisy in this photo. Both Ox-Eye Daisy and Yarrow leaves are edible but should be eaten sparingly. Add a few leaves to a salad to give it some zing.
Karen has prepared a handy guide to some of the plants we looked at and included signposts to where you can find out more. The plants she has included are:
- Wild Carrot
- Self Heal
- Linden Tree or Lime
- St John’s-Wort
- Common Sorrel or Sour Savages!
- Ox-Eye Daisy
- Ribwort & Broadleaf Plantain
- Red Campion
Click here or on the image to access the guide.
After our expedition around the car park, we gathered in the SECAD tent for refreshments. On offer were snacks made from insects and freshly made scones with crab apple jam flavoured with various flowers and berries including Rosehip, Dandelion, Sloe and Whin (another name for Gorse or Furze). There was more of a take up of the scones and jam!
After nearly two years working away from the office, it was a wonderful way to reconnect with colleagues and learn a little bit about the nature that is all around us!
If your company would like us to organise a Nature & Wellness session for your staff, click here for details.