Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Mystery!

"I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower,
for a nectar that I can make my own honey."
                                                      John Burroughs

    This morning like many of my mornings, I head into the forest. I find great comfort in surrounding myself with Mother Nature and all she has to offer.
 I can usually find something that I am not sure of and thanks to my digital camera, and my vast array of reference books I can usually figure it out.
 Today was one of those days. I came across this little soldier standing in the middle of fallen leaves, and twigs. I was fascinated with its colour, and texture and wanted to know more. I noticed a short hike away that it was growing everywhere.

 After taking many, and I do mean many photos, I move on to explore other parts of my magical forest, knowing I would get back to this mystery.
 After two hours in the forest, whoops (I may have forgotten all about time, that does happen a lot in my magical forest) I head to the house; I remember I had to run to an appointment. I returned later in the day to make supper, and other domestic things I may have neglected while in the forest.
 I still had this mystery plant in my head, I had to find out what it was. The beauty, and the abundance of it intrigued me. I started pouring through my reference books. I had no idea what I was looking for.
  I finally thought maybe it was May-apples. I had never come across them this time of year, as I was always calving and to busy to wander the forest. Since we are done calving, this was a new experience for me.

    The books really did not help. I dragged My Hero back into the forest after a lovely supper and asked him what he thought they were. "May-apples". I knew he would know.
 Then I went to Google it, and see what this plant was all about. Fascinating plant. It is poisonous, it is edible, it may be a cure for cancer, it is poisonous (sorry that one stays with me), it is strongly cathartic (had to look that up too). I am thinking since it was poisonous I was not going to ever reach the cathartic part. Purging the bowels does not sound like too much fun to me.

Some folklore:

  May Apple was once called the witches umbrella and thought to be employed by them as a poison, which may not be untrue! The English version of this plant has much lore told of it, being called Man root (mandrake) believed to be alive and its screams when pulled from the ground would render a man permanently insane.

 I am so glad I never picked it and brought it up to the house. This post is already sounding a bit insane to me.

May Apple Recipe   Jelly or sweet relish:  Peel and deseed the ripe fruit and use your favorite jelly making skills with it. 
Also good fresh, but use in moderation. All parts except the fruit are TOXIC!

 OK I do not know if this helped you but I am now positive I will not eat, pull, or make jelly. I do know I am going to admire this interesting find, and enjoy the beauty of it. What do you think?



  1. Interesting post and no I don't think you're too insane :).

  2. Aww, come on -- make some jelly! Be bold! Haha!

    Reminds me of when I made sand cherry jelly -- after I made it and ate half the jar, I learned the seeds were poisonous. I felt so dangerous! :)

  3. Joe Thank you mmmm??? I think. B

    Nancy I think I am out of sugar. B

  4. I think I have seen those before while out walking, if I do again I will now know what they are...learn something new everyday.:)

  5. Mayapples always remind me of tobacco setting time. They are usually up in their full glory at the end of May here. They thrive at the edge of the woods in filtered sunlight and do look like little umbrellas! I didn't realize it was also known as mandrake and about the screaming. Now I understand that scene from the Harry Potter saga even better!

  6. You know...I've often wondered about how people learned about what was poisonous vs what was okay to eat! I'm so glad someone else figured it out before us...but so sorry for what they probably went through to find out!!

  7. Texwisgirl I am with you on that one. B

    Mr. H I do love Google even if you have to sort fact from fiction. B

    Mary Yes I remember that scene and it made no sense to me till now. B

    Alica Yes the first person to try it must have been very brave or very hungry. B

  8. time you head out there, I'm coming!!! What an amazing place you have to explore~ I'm a tad jealous;)

  9. I would love to go for a hike with you in your neck of the woods also. We are lucky to live where we do. B

  10. Oh man, I typed out so much on a comment and then lost it...not sure what I hit!

    Anyway in case it's recovered by you I won't repeat myself...loved this post - learned some new things and totally enjoyed the walk through the forest with you.

    THANK YOU ALSO for visiting my blog. I love to meet new friends.


  11. Fascinating and lovely. Great pictures!

    Blessings, Debbie

  12. Fancy having a poison growing in your woods that has been mentioned in old murder mystery and witch movies!


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