A Walk Around the Yard: April (Part 2) 11

It’s hard to keep up with this spring growth, so on to part 2. If you missed part 1, click here.


I’ve noticed that nature, like myself, seems to love the color purple. If you look around your own yard, you will probably notice a lot of little purple flowers. Violets (which I mentioned in my last post) are just one of many wild edibles that produce purple blossoms.


Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum)

Kentucky Forager| A Walk Around the Yard: April (Part 2) Purple Deadnettle

Have you ever seen those beautiful rolling purple hills in early spring? Well, what you are seeing is a field whose tilled soil has been completely overtaken by deadnettle. You can eat it raw or cooked, but I’ll tell you, I’ve tried it raw and it was pretty difficult to swallow…literally. The flavor isn’t great, and the fuzzy texture is not too appetizing to say the least. Likely the best preparation would be to boil and season, add to a soup, or saute in butter, but I haven’t actually tried any of those preparation methods yet. (If you’ve tried cooking deadnettle, please share your experience in the comments!)


Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)

Kentucky Forager| A Walk Around the Yard: April (Part 2) Henbit

Nope, that’s not deadnettle, but it is another member of the mint family. Henbit looks similar to deadnettle with it’s square stems and purple flowers, but it’s flavor is milder and more palatable. Like chickweed, henbit got its common name from the affection it receives from chickens. All parts of the plant are edible raw or cooked.


Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

Kentucky Forager| A Walk Around the Yard: April (Part 2) Ground Ivy

Ground Ivy in Bloom

Kentucky Forager| A Walk Around the Yard: April (Part 2) Ground Ivy

Ground Ivy











Ground Ivy, also called Creeping Charlie, is yet another member of the mint family; but this mint isn’t so mild. You can eat it raw, but it’s strong flavor is best used as a seasoning. Use it fresh or dried to add flavor to soups, salads, teas, etc. Ground ivy’s medicinal properties also cover a host of ailments, including kidney and digestive issues, cough and sinus, and was even used to treat scurvy due to it’s high vitamin C content. The Saxons used ground ivy to flavor beer before hops became the bitter flavor of choice.


Winter Cress (Barbarea vulgaris)

Kentucky Forager| A Walk Around the Yard: April (Part 2) Winter Cress

Winter Cress in Bloom

Kentucky Forager| A Walk Around the Yard: April (Part 2) Winter Cress

Winter Cress

Winter cress (also called yellow rocket) is one of the most cold hardy wild edibles. I have seen winter cress as late as December, and as early as late February. All parts are edible, but the leaves are best eaten before it bolts while they are still mild and tender. Winter cress has a strong flavor, so I would recommend combining it with lighter tasting greens. You can also use flowering heads to add flavor to salads and stir fries.



Common/Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major)

Kentucky Forager| A Walk Around the Yard: April Plantain

Common Plantain


Ok, I know I said I’d find 10 edible plants in the yard, so just think of this one as a bonus.

Plantain is mostly recognized for it’s external medicinal uses, but it’s also edible and nutritious. If you are eating it raw in a salad you will want to chop it fine, or remove the fibrous ribs as they are tough and difficult to chew. Quickly blanch leaves in boiling water before adding to soups or sautes to tenderize and remove bitterness.

Plantain is also great for bug bites and stings. If you get stung by a bee, mosquito, or nettle; or have other acute skin irritation, make a poultice by chewing the leaves and applying it to the sting. You can also infuse oil with the dried leaves to make a salve.

Once again, thanks for reading! Have a great day and happy foraging!


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11 thoughts on “A Walk Around the Yard: April (Part 2)

    • admin Post author

      Great post! Thanks for sharing! Robbie is an avid beer brewer and has been wanting to start incorporating wild ingredients. We started our first ever batch of dandelion wine on Sunday. Hopefully it will be a success and future post.

  • Judy Irvine

    Thanks so much for sharing this valuable information! I am amazed at how many of these edible plants I’ve thrown in my weed bucket!!!

  • Beth Feagan

    Plantain is also great for poison ivy–just mash it to get the green juices flowing and rub it right on the affected skin. I’ve stopped profuse bleeding with it too. Also I’ve successfully used it to treat pink eye. Steep it in boiling hot water in a Mason jar (covered) for 6 hours, strain it, and make an eye bath with it. Use a different shot glass full of the infusion for each eye. Make sure to wash those shot glasses in hot soapy water. Works every time!

  • Mya Lash

    I read these books called Warriors, and they use herbs as medicines. So I was scrolling through Google to see what some of the herbs looked like, so I could get a better picture of what they looked like. Then I found a really good picture of yarrow and I clicked on it, which brought me to Kentucky Forager. THANKS VERY MUCH!!!!

  • Ashley Sotelo

    I have spent years trying to figure out what most of these weird little plants in my yard are. I’m glad I stumbled across your site. Also, regarding deadnettle, as a child I would pick the little purple parts and either press or suck the nectar out and eat the white end. You can do the same thing with red clover.

  • Patricia

    I’m wondering if maybe you would be interested in a walk about class in Fleming county..I mentioned you to a child military summer camp..they are being trained in everything but this herbal medicine and forage.. .they have land as well as I nearby..can you please send info..thank you