• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Jay Angler
stewards:
  • Pearl Sutton
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
master gardeners:
  • Timothy Norton
  • Christopher Weeks
gardeners:
  • Tina Wolf
  • Matt McSpadden
  • Jeremy VanGelder

Are crosne type roots common among Lamiaceae?

 
pollinator
Posts: 1455
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
507
forest garden tiny house books
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the past I posted a question about this plant I have growing wild here.

https://permies.com/t/91473/plant

Once I realized it was a Lamiaceae I wasn't interested in more specific identification, but today I noticed its roots for the first time.

I haven't really pulled any up, except when it starts getting into my sawdust paths. I guess the roots are brittle enough that the knotted part always broke off as I pulled. Today I pulled out a clump of sedge and got some of the knotted roots along with it. I started digging around more and found a clump of them.

So, is this common? Are there all kinds of Lamiaceae we could be growing or foraging for roots? They're tiny, but my environment is pretty inhospitable, so maybe they could be bigger if kept happy. I'm assuming they're edible, since I haven't heard of any poisonous plants in that family - to humans, at least. I ate one with no ill effects anyway.

The ones in the picture are in a 3" saucer for size reference.
IMG_2048.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_2048.jpg]
 
gardener
Posts: 828
Location: Central Indiana, zone 6a, clay loam
589
forest garden fungi foraging trees urban chicken medical herbs ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What cool roots and an interesting question!

While I think you're right that there aren't many plants in Lamiaceae that are toxic to humans, there is one exception I can think of. American Germander (Teucrium canadense). It looks slightly like your mystery plant, but I doubt that's who that is. I don't know that it would kill you unless you ate lots over time, but I believe it can cause liver damage at lower doses. I have lots of it growing in my yard and so far, none of the roots have looked like that. None of this to discourage you, just felt it was worth noting.
 
Jan White
pollinator
Posts: 1455
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
507
forest garden tiny house books
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hmm...okay maybe I jumped the gun on the edibility assumption. I really want these to be edible, though! I'd like to have one more edible plant hiding in plain sight.

I've been trying to figure out if maybe it's common among Stachys species, since crosnes and Florida betony are both Stachys. I'm having a hard time finding anything online, though. As soon as my search terms include "root" my results are nothing but Florida betony and crosnes.
 
master steward
Posts: 6152
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland. Nearly 70 inches rain a year
2977
4
transportation dog forest garden foraging trees books food preservation woodworking wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'll add another edible Stachys to your list: Stachys palustris (marsh woundwort) has really tasty edible roots my 'blog on marsh woundwort. They look a bit like yours but whiter, longer and thinner perhaps.
Again though that's not the plant you have. Marsh woundwort leaves have quite an unpleasant scent. It maybe that all the Stachys varieties have edible roots, but as posted above, not all Laminacea.
 
Jan White
pollinator
Posts: 1455
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
507
forest garden tiny house books
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ooo! I found this article when I included tuber in my search terms

https://www.cultivariable.com/instructions/root-crops/how-to-grow-chinese-artichoke-and-tuberous-mints/

There are at least three genera of tuberous mint: Lycopus, Plectranthus, and Stachys. Of these, only the members of Lycopus and Stachys will grow well in the Pacific Northwest, so I will focus on those.  (Plectranthus is a tropical genus and, sadly, only grows well in tropical or subtropical climates.)  The temperate species have similar growth habits, cultivation details, and culinary uses, so we can lump them together for the most part.

The tuberous mints covered in this chapter include Chinese artichoke (Stachys affinis), Florida betony (Stachys floridana), marsh woundwort (Stachys palustris), Chinese bugleweed (Lycopus lucidus), northern bugleweed (Lycopus uniflorus), and rough bugleweed (Lycopus asper).  There are other edible members of each genus, but I have not grown them yet.



This suggests these type of roots are common, and gives me another genus to look at.
 
Posts: 51
Location: Pensacola, Fla zone 8b
8
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jan, here in Florida, Florida betony (Sachys flordana) is a common weed. We call it rattlesnake weed because the roots resemble rattlesnake rattles. In fact they look very similar to the pic you posted. The tubers are  completely edible and taste similar to radishes when eaten raw and resemble the taste of boiled peanuts when boiled. As you mentioned lycopus spp of plants produce larger and similar edible tubers. I grow Chinese lycopus, European lycopus, crones, and Plectranthus rotundifolius all of which are in the mint (lamiaceae) family. There are more mint relatives that produce edible tubers but  it is not common trait. As for plant ID, I would say it is some species of Stachys. Hope this helps.
 
Jan White
pollinator
Posts: 1455
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
507
forest garden tiny house books
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Thomas Black wrote:. I grow Chinese lycopus, European lycopus, crones, and Plectranthus rotundifolius all of which are in the mint (lamiaceae) family.



Do you enjoy the flavour of any of these more or are they all fairly similar? Any growth habits or harvest quirks that make one stand above the rest?
 
Thomas Black
Posts: 51
Location: Pensacola, Fla zone 8b
8
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chinese gypsywort, lycopus lucidus, make quite an attractive bedding plant. Mine have grown to over 8 feet tall and have interesting highly serrated leaves. The tubers are much larger than any Stachys spp. or European gypsywort, Lycopus europaeus. I use both lycopus grated in salads or in a stir fry as a water chestnut substitute. In my experience all of the tuber bearing mints (except plectranthus which can be stored longer) need to be used right away or refrigerated after harvest and used with in a few days. If not, they loose their crisp texture and become rubbery and inedible. If used as a vegetable they need to be eaten fresh. The only way I know to store them is to pickle or can them. Also, if canned at too high of a temp or for too long, they will turn to mush. As an aside, lycopus plants were used by gypsys to produce a black dye used for clothes and cosmetic purposes, hence gypsywort. The plant was also traditionally used for medicinal purposes. Interesting and useful plants.
 
Nancy Reading
master steward
Posts: 6152
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland. Nearly 70 inches rain a year
2977
4
transportation dog forest garden foraging trees books food preservation woodworking wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I thought I'd post this here rather than starting a new thread if that's OK.
I started to harvest my crosnes (Stachys affinis) this week - it was a bit of a let down to be honest!

Stachys Tuber comparison S. Affinis on left S. palustris on right


These were actually the largest tuber from one plant.  There were lots more tubers that were slightly smaller which I reburied to see if they will regrow (they'll probably either die or become superinvasive - I'll find out next spring). I've decided however that for me there is no real point in growing them again.  They were smaller, less easy to clean, and no tastier than the native Stachys Palustris, pictured on the right, which I did nothing more than dig up from a boggy corner in the grass of my tree field. I didn't plant, weed or water those, but I got lovely smooth healthy roots, and these wren't especially selected, there were plenty of similar quality.

I suppose I always have a thought that exotic plants and crops must be better, but in this case it doesn't seem to be true. The Crosnes may do well in a drier field in Southern France for example, but in a cool damp corner of skye the native Stachys wins hands down.
 
Jan White
pollinator
Posts: 1455
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
507
forest garden tiny house books
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nancy Reading wrote:I started to harvest my crosnes (Stachys affinis) this week - it was a bit of a let down to be honest!.



Yeah, I'm a little glad the ones I planted died. I was ordering a bunch of stuff from a place that sold them and threw them in last minute. Then they died over the winter. They seemed like the kind of thing that would be enough of a hassle to harvest and clean that I'd never do it. Your palustris looks great, though!

Do you notice any difference in taste, texture, etc between the affinis and palustris? I've read that people claim affinis has a slightly better flavour than floridana and a nicer... glossiness maybe? Something aesthetic. Seemed pretty subtle, though.
 
Nancy Reading
master steward
Posts: 6152
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland. Nearly 70 inches rain a year
2977
4
transportation dog forest garden foraging trees books food preservation woodworking wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jan White wrote:
Do you notice any difference in taste, texture, etc between the affinis and palustris? I've read that people claim affinis has a slightly better flavour than floridana and a nicer... glossiness maybe? Something aesthetic. Seemed pretty subtle, though.



The colour was definitely slightly different, although it doesn't show in that photo, because I had to use flash. The S. affinis is slightly creamier - a warmer shade of pale perhaps than the S. palustris. I suspect that the S. Affinis is slightly denser, so may be less liable to over cook maybe. I haven't harvested any more of either just yet, so based on a back to back cooking on top of carrots in boiling water for a few minutes, I could not say there was a difference between them. But I will say I'm not very discerning. If it doesn't taste horrid, then it all tastes fine. I may have lost some of my sense of smell recently (not sure if it was C*d or something else). But I think any difference is pretty subtle. I think they would be tastier roasted, and maybe less liable to just turn to mush. They are both pretty delicate and easily overcooked. In my opinion it doesn't overcome the extra hassle in cleaning them. The marsh woundwort came clean with a rinse and a wipe, the crosnes needed individual brushing into the corrugations. It may not be an important factor, but except for halloween I think the maggoty appearance would put many people off. They did pass the 'husband test' though (he would be prepared to eat them again).

When I tried growing S. affinis before, I just planted tubers outside in spring and I never found them again. I suspect slugs....These were started in pots in the polytunnel and then planted out as growing plants so I don't know if they will over winter for me. They seem to have survived the slugs this time (I have a better balance in the garden I think from when I first started) but the damp and cold may still cause them to rot. I still have ones to harvest in the tunnel and those may have done better
 
Jan White
pollinator
Posts: 1455
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
507
forest garden tiny house books
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nancy Reading wrote:the damp and cold may still cause them to rot.



Pretty sure this is what happened to mine. I planted them in a spot that a hoped would keep them alive over a hot dry summer, and it ended up killing them over a warm (ie not frozen all the time) wet winter.
 
You'll never get away with this you overconfident blob! The most you will ever get is this tiny ad:
FREE Perma Veggies Book! - Learn how to grow the most delicious and nutritious food with the least amount of work.
https://permies.com/t/238620/perennial-vegetables/FREE-Perma-Veggies-Book
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic