Category Archives: flora

la pigna flora…

Amongst the steep, narrow and dark medieval streets of La Pigna, plant life is everywhere, from the inevitable reclamation of nature any time a space lies dormant for a while, to squatted gardens, to beautiful internal courtyards, to GIANT ancient trees at the top of the territory…

Hidden from the outside; courtyard gardens, beautiful hidden spaces, but like most of La Pigna, all is not as it seems, it’s surrounded by apartments, you hear a mentally handicapped adult crying periodically, you hear heavy rock music playing, you hear someone shouting at their neighbour to “shut the f**k up” …and then i guess everyone else can hear us in the garden…

So the inner courtyard (above) is wonderful for sure but my favourite thing round here is found outside on the public street as a solution to the lack of a private garden :

…these ladies have no garden so instead they created this impromptu vegetable plot on and in anything available against a wall in the street opposite their home, they yield tomatoes, courgettes, beans, every kind of Mediterranean herb…It is so beautiful… ladies i salute you!

These trees are at the top of La Pigna and must be the oldest things here, I am told it is a Ficus Benjamina (weeping fig) – if anyone knows better, please let me know…they also get a great view…

Advertisements

galician wild flora…

Walking in the countryside, i bump into a neighbour who asks why i bother to bring my camera as there is nothing much round here…how wrong can you be!! This is just a fraction of what i saw… i couldn’t identify everything but i could revel in the extraordinary beauty of some of these wild plants that i found in the province of La Coruña, Galicia..

Not such a common sight these days, this is old-school Galician rural planing, small fields contained by natural fencing made from thorny, creeping plants

the exquisite Linaria Triornithophora (three bird toadflax), looks like some kind of exotic orchid…

Asphodelus Albus (white asphodel) – ancient Greeks associated it with death apparently…

Lithodora Prostrata

Lathyrus Latifolius (perennial pea or everlasting pea), looks a little like a sweetpea

Fumaria Muralis (wall fumitory)

Digitalis Purpurea (common foxglove)

this incredibly beautiful grass is Triticum Araraticum (wild wheat)

Chamomile

Wild Thistle

Arenaria Montana (mountain sandwort)

I can’t identify this one which is frustrating as it is so beautiful…it is abundant and also comes in a white version…

Finally my all time favourite wild flower, the humble and exqusite wild poppy

foraging indian style…

Foraging Indian style…well it started off as a walk. Sometimes i stay in Butterfly Hill, a second, more remote orphanage buried deep in the Andrha Pradesh countryside. Every day i stay there, i take 6 or 7 kids along with me for a long walk into the forest or the surrounding countryside. The kids know a lot about edible and useful plants that grow there…and i KNOW about the dangers of irresponsible foraging but the kids eat this stuff all the time, we are in some fairly remote countryside here and for once there is almost no pollution…here are some things they taught me…


Find a suitable branch of a neem tree, strip the bark back…gnaw the inside till it begins to fray and then use to clean teeth…It works really well…it tastes bitter, antiseptic and kind of refreshing…

The kids really love these berries, in Telegu they are called parikaylu and i can’t find anything about them online anywhere. They taste sweet and sour with a large seed in the middle and apparently they are packed with vitamin C.

Tamarind…the “fruits” hang from the tree looking a little like broad bean pods but you eat the whole thing…It tastes really good…crunchy, intense, sour, tangy, fresh…like tamarind!. You can’t eat too much though as it does crazy things to your mouth and it’s especially good if you dip it in a little salt…

This is called mogali rekulu around here, i thought it was aloe vera but apparently it’s not. They use the sap here to help heal cuts and grazes and also they strip the fibres to make threads…

We meet 2 women we know along the way and everyone wants a picture…

not at all edible but very beautiful and all over the place, a dathura or datura flower…

storms and mushrooms…

The weather is erratic and mercurial here in Biella, with lots of violent thunderstorms. After this one we lost internet and phones for half a day…

The weather has caused vivid green and much dampness in one of my favourite local paths for walking. Along Gorgomora i found an incredible array of wild funghi springing up after the rain…

Am still trying to identify this amazing purple monster…so far no one i have shown it to knows what it is…

tiny, delicate ink caps, like little flowers…

…again am trying to identify…for sure i will be eating absolutly NONE of them, but am going back to find more…

Oozing fungus (nice) grows from a fallen log, it looks like something very ancient or some kind of alien life…

mexa cas…

In the middle of nowhere…again…definition of the galician countryside. Am struck by the beauty of these large structural weeds.

The local gallego name for them is “mexa cas” (literally – dog piss, they don’t smell, it’s just that dogs like to pee on them!)…nice…I think maybe it’s some kind of hogweed/cow parsnip (maybe Heracleum sosnowskyi) ANYWAY regardless of the ugly name i find them beautiful, like fractals or snowflakes, no two plants seem to be the same…

horreo – indigenous structure, originally used as grain stores (see previous post)