Day 7 – Bigleaf, Large-leaved, BIG-LEAved Aster

It is cold. The weather keeps getting worse instead of better. 38 degrees today. Down to 34 tonight with a chance of snow.

Today’s new plant is the Bigleaf Aster. Also called the Large-leaved Aster, Big-leaved Aster or many more. You get the idea. An Aster with big leaves.

This plant grows in big blankets around the forest floor.

It is not a delicious plant in my opinion. But also not terrible. More of a good survival plant than a daily vegetable. It is very easy to gather. Easy to gather means less calories expended which could mean life or death in a survival situation.

It can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach. The flowers that come out later are also edible. The plant is said to be very nutritious.

Flowering Bigleaf Aster

The roots are not necessarily edible but have been used by the Iroquois and Ojibwa for medicinal uses.

The top of the leaves are smooth while the bottom and stems are fuzzy. At this time of the year they can be confused with Bitter Dock, which is also edible. Later they look much different. Seeing them side by side shows they are quite different. The video displays the features a little better.

Day 6 – Trout Lily Bulbs

I mentioned Trout Lilies earlier. Today I went back down to Oil Creek to collect some bulbs. Trout Lily bulbs are crunchy and delicious but they are tiny and difficult to gather. You need to not only dig the plant, you need to dig the area. The bulbs could be up to a foot away from the plant they are attached to.

Mottled Trout Lily leaf
Trout Lily bulbs and roots

Note in the picture the long stringy roots. The bulbs are at the end. The roots themselves taste a lot like the bulbs. These bulbs are very tiny. I have found them up to marble size. Shooters.

The video is a tour along beautiful Oil Creek several miles from my cabin.

Living On The Land