Saturday, July 26, 2008

Internet foraging


Two websites have lately formed the basis for many of my wild foraging attempts:

Plants for a Future - a database of 7000 edible, medicinal, and useful plants from round the world

and

Weed Control for Specific Plants - the Wellington Regional Council's list of invasive plants that must be destroyed!

I'm sure the Council didn't intend their list to be used as a meal planner - or as the forager's version of an internet grocery shopping site - but it certainly lends itself to that, in combination with Plants for a Future.

I can look up some of the weeds that I'm likely to find round Wellington (or have already seen), then do a search for their scientific names (or common names) at Plants for a Future, and be presented with a range of references to their uses. From there, I can follow these leads further through other websites or books.

I think most NZ regional councils helpfully put up lists of local invasive plants on the net. Mind, you there are one or two interesting ethical and practical dilemmas associated with harvesting invasive weeds! I'll post my thoughts on those another time.

When it comes to identifying and foraging for NZ native plants, I've found books a better starting point than the internet. I've also been thinking about the ethical issues involved with natives, and have stumbled on this cautionary article from the Rodale Institute in the US, reminding me of just how much I need to think about and learn if I want to do this properly.

4 comments:

Nikki said...

LOL, I used the WRC database when I was doing my organic hort. course - only I wasn't viewing all of the plants as nuisances either...

The article on ethics definitely makes you stop and think...and is what might me procrastinate on what to do next...

Johanna Knox said...

Yes, I suspect many Wellingtonians don't see blackberries as a nuisance, for example! lol.

And yeah, the ethics article. Clearly harvesting native plants especially can be a very problematic thing to do ...

Thinking about it more, I took down the flippant sub-heading I'd added to this post ... it suddenly seemed wholly inappropriate!

Nikki said...

Ooooh, I don't recall what you had as a title lol??

Johanna Knox said...

It said 'like internet shopping - but free!'

It seemed to fit okay for foraging from invasive weeds ... but not for native plants. The 'see-it-take-it' behaviour encouraged by internet shopping doesn't seem at all right when dealing with natives!