by Eileen Szuchy, Florida Native Plant Society and Douglas H. Kutz, University of Florida's Brevard County Extension Service
Introduction:Many wild and wonderful Florida Native plants can be found growing right in your back yard, or an undisturbed area. There are hundreds of herbs and shrubs that can be used in your favorite recipe or eaten raw. This section in the web page highlights 9 species that may be found in or around central Florida.
Please be cautious about collecting plant imitators that may be toxic, and be aware of laws preventing the removal of native plants from state parks and nature preserves. Many plants can have toxic effects, so we suggest that you rely on an experienced botanist, or naturalist to help you identify edible plants at first. A booklet from the University of Florida Extension Service can be a helpful tool for identifying poisonous and irritant plants of Florida, by Perkins and Payne (Circular # 441).
When exploring for edibles, but please leave these marvelous beauties intact for the next keen eyed student to discover.Contents:
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Cabbage Palm, Swamp Cabbage Palm -- Sabal PalmettoState tree of Florida (protected by law)
Quick ID: Tree up to 60 ft. tall, with long spreading leaves to 9 ft. long. Yellow-white flowers in many branched clusters; fragrant. Fruit 1/4" wide. Many of these trees are planted along highway overpasses. Radical, improper pruning weakens the root system, promoting disease
Range: South east coast of U.S. from North Carolina to Florida, west to Texas and in the Bahamas. Prefers moist ground of marshes and swamps.
Human Uses: Leaves are used to make weave baskets and hats. Also used as for thatched roofs. Flowers are a source of honey. The "heart" has been used as a salad delicacy, however removing the heart causes the tree to die and is not encouraged unless the tree is part of a land clearing.
Recipes from Cross Creek Cookery by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Swamp Cabbage Salad: -- Strip the core to the ivory-white heart. Julian slice. Soak in ice water for one hour. Serve with your favorite salad dressing.
Swamp Cabbage: Strip the core to the ivory-white heart
Cross Creek Style: Julian slice. Add two tablespoons of butter and half a teaspoon of salt. Cook in very little water until dry and tender.. Add 1/2 cup of heated cream. Heat to simmering and serve.
Recipe from Wild Edibles by Marian Van Atta
Swamp Cabbage: Cut hearts of palm fine or shred into fine pieces
Slaw: Mix with mayonnaise and 1 or 2 teaspoons pickle relish. Season to taste
Sea Grape, Hopwood, Horsewood -- Cocoloba UviferaQuick ID: Tree up to 40 ft., but generally small tree or large shrub. Leaves are thick and heart-shaped from 3 to 10 inches. New foliage is smooth and brown or bronze in color. Flowers grow in clusters. Fruit resembles grapes and are dark red or purple and ripen throughout summer.
Range: Florida, Bahamas, West Indies, Central and South America. Coastal dune plant, vital to erosion control and as a wind and salt break. Can be grown inland, where they may reach 50 ft.
Human Uses: Food. Wood can be used for carving
The most common way to eat seagrapes is as like all other grapes. Rinse and pop in your mouth.
Recipes from Wild Edibles by Marian Van Atta
Seagrape Jelly: Wash fruit and remove stems and leaves. Pour through cloth jelly bag. Put 4 cups juice back in kettle. Add 4 cups sugar and keep stirring.. Boil rapidly to 228 degrees F. Pour into sterilized jelly jars and seal.
Red Mulberry -- Morus rubraQuick ID: Tree up to 30 or 50 ft., dense, bushy, with drooping branches, milky sap. Deciduous leaves, ovate with pointed tips. Flowers "minute in spikes, male spikes 2 to 3 inch. Fruit in oblong clusters 1 to 2 inched long. Dark purple and very juicy when ripe. Fruit ready in late spring through fall.
Range: Found in low hammocks on the mainland.
Human Uses: Food
The best way to eat mulberries is fresh from the tree when fully ripe, but many enjoy mulberry wine, jam or pies.
Quick rebuttal2002-02-12 11:21:43 by whiteisblack
Regarding the peopling of the America's. Here is some DNA evidence from last year. Nowhere, I mean NOWHERE, is African origins in the new world mentioned.
Recent discoveries in New World archaeology along with new scientific methods for analyzing data have led to new ideas regarding the origin of the first peoples of the Americas and their time of arrival.
The traditional theory held that the first Americans crossed the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska around 11,500 years ago and followed an 'ice-free corridor' between two large Canadian ice sheets (the Laurentide and Cordilleran) to reach unglaciated lands to the south
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