When I was very young, maybe 4-5, I lived in a town just outside Boston, MA. I don't have a lot of memories from that age, but I just had one pop into my head. There was a plant that I often found growing in the yard, and in between flagstones, that I liked to pick and eat. I want to say that it was a type of clover, because of the leaves, but it wasn't the short kind with the pompom flowers and dark green leaves. It was taller, leggier, and more of a lime green. It seemed to grow in small bunches, rather than covering a patch. I can't remember if it had any flowers. All I remembered is that it had this really pleasantly powerful, tangy taste to it.
This memory is hilarious because I'm 100% certain that I was never told that this plant was safe to eat. I remember, now, that I used to eat plants when no one was looking.
I tried dandelion leaves, but I thought they were bitter and gross.
Sound like oxalis to me, some call it sorrel; it has a history of being eaten by others, you might be comforted to know.
Oh hi everyone, noobie here, first post, enjoying the place!
Joined: Dec 26, 2010
Yes! I think you are correct. I looked up Oxalis in Wikipedia, and it mentioned that some varieties are called 'wood sorrels'. I typed that into google image search, and got some photos that look exactly like the plant I'm remembering from my childhood:
I can't say for sure that this is the variety that I ate, but it looks pretty darn close. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one to eat these. For some reason, it cracks me up to think of how I was 4-years-old, probably just putting random things in my mouth, as kids tend to do, and I just happened to discover this little acidic herb. I probably haven't thought about this in over 20 years, and the memory of it just popped into my head. I wonder if I can grow it here in Utah (for nostalgic reasons).
Welcome to the forum!
Joined: Jan 03, 2011
Hey, thanks for the welcome. My earliest memory of eating stuff like that, I ate a handful of dirt. I can still remember that it tasted good. haha..
My first encounters with Oxalis were in gardening areas (California, SF and Monterey Bay areas) where it is considered a weed -- well, it is hard to get rid of if you wanted to do that, and it does show up every dang where! but then in summer (dry season) it dies off and so..... I never felt it was all that much of a problem.
I think in the book Heidi (remember that?) a kid who is hungry eats sorrel to try to fill up, i remember reading that when I was kid and wondering what sorrel was.
now I think it gets put in salads in high end restaurants.
friend of mine once did a school project on Oxalis. There are something like 287 varieties.
all I know about that one.
Joined: Dec 26, 2010
Hah. How lucky am I? I had this question pop into my head, and just a few moments later, a sorrel expert joins the board!
funny story as well, back when i was in elementary school. we walked to school because it was only 3 blocks away. well on the way there was this yard that was full of oxalis, somehow just like you. no one told us it was ok to eat, yet somehow we just knew. we would pick the bloom stems and chew on them releasing the sweet/sour juice inside.
The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka