nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

limits of the tide #2 – Seaside Plantain (Plantago juncoides Lam.) – Goosetongue greens

with 8 comments


One of the edible plants we found at Oak Bay (near St. Stephen, New Brunswick) was Seaside Plantain, also known locally as Goosetongue.

Seaside Plantain, also known as Goosetongue, ready to pick… they have to be rinsed well since the outgoing tide has left a thick layer of sediment behind…

Seaside Plantain (Plantago juncoides Lam.) grows in thick clumps, forming an intermittent carpet across the shore.  The succulent, linear leaves of Seaside Plantain are grey-green in color.  Inconspicuous green flowers, not present until later in June, rise from the rosette of leaves in a terminal spike.  Seaside Plantain is in the same genus as Common Plantain (see the post for June 13, 2012,  ‘Common Plantain’ under the category ‘growing and gathering’).  Plantago is from the Latin for ‘footprint’ and juncoides means ‘rush-like’.

Goosetongue greens are pleasantly salty and are a local delicacy, eaten as a salad or pickle, or cooked like green beans and served with butter.  For a vivid description of the experience of gathering and preparing Goosetongue greens, see Nature of Words (www.natureofwords.com/2011/07/goosetongue-greens/) by Deborah Carr, and the post for July 14, 2011, entitled ‘Goosetongue greens’.

Warning:
1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.

~

~

Sunday Dinner at Maces Bay

                 Seaside Plantain (Pantago juncoides Lam.)

~

dig right in

says your father

and nudges the pitcher of water

in my direction

~

I study the ‘goosetongue greens’ –

mound of green spaghetti

between spuds and chicken,

green eels diving

for the bottom of the plate

~

two things not in their favour –

they’re green,

they look a little like

the tongues of geese

~

I watch your Dad –

he adds a dollop of butter,

he weaves his fork to catch a little of each,

potato, greens and chicken,

chews with his eyes closed,

reaches for his glass of water

~

I sigh

and taste –

salt air and butter-cream,

crisp, the perfect crush,

mouth-feel, amazing

please pass the water

~

~

©  Jane Tims 2012

Warning:
1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.

8 Responses

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  1. The last of your poem makes them sound delicious (in spite of how they look). 🙂

    Like

    Robin

    June 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    • Hi. Tastes are hard to describe. It took me some time to think it through! Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      June 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm

  2. Hi Jane,
    When I looked at the photo of seaside plantain it looks like aloe vera – thick succulent leaves. Is it the same family?
    Interesting to hear it described as “pleasantly salty… a local delicacy, eaten as a salad or pickle, or cooked like green beans and served with butter….”

    Like

    dearrosie

    June 29, 2012 at 1:35 am

    • Hi. Although they look very similar, the Plantago has much smaller leaves (compared to my potted Aloe). They are also from different families (Aloe is from the Xanthorrhoeaceae, and Plantago is from the Plantaginaceae). Aren’t you glad your family name is less complicated????? Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      June 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm

  3. Thanks for the link to Deborah Carr… Tasting these wild plants vicariously through your posts surely gathers gently with no chance to harm. Thanks.

    Like

    snowbirdpress

    June 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    • Hi. I like the idea of ‘tasting…vicariously’ … no chance to hurt you, or to over-harvest the planst! Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      June 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm

  4. The poem made my mouth water.

    Like

    Carol Steel

    June 27, 2012 at 9:19 am


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