3 June 2012

Devil's Milk

I’m an idiot. It’s official. Let me explain...

I’ve spent hours at the computer today researching chickweed. Because up until a moment ago that is what I thought this plant was. Culpepper called it 'a fine, soft, pleasing herb, under the dominion of the Moon’. A nice description, but there’s not much information there to hang a blog post on. Perhaps like the dandelion I could eat some and explain my culinary experience to you. Apparently it has a mild taste like rocket.

So I went to my backdoor, pinched off a few leaves and ate them. They tasted fine; a strong peppery taste. I continued at the computer looking for recipes. The pepper taste continued on my tongue, like chilli. Then I grew suspicious. There were some nice recipes for salads and rice meals but no one was mentioning the burning sensation – or the white sap.

I Googled ‘chickweed sap’, and made a horrible discovery. That plant that for years I thought was chickweed, isn’t. It’s Euphorbia Peplus. Commonly called Petty Spurge, or Devils Milk. Ha! You’re telling me. And what is even funnier it’s toxic; to such a degree that it’s a well known cancer cure.

Now I could end this post with advice on not eating plants you are uncertain of, but for one I’m sure you wouldn’t, and secondly I didn’t either – I thought I knew what it was.

So, if you don’t hear from me again, dear readers, you know why. It’s been a blast. Send donations to an eco-charity of your choice.