If you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it. This is a general safety rule that applies to everything and it’s especially true when it comes to plants. Some plants are perfectly safe to eat, while others seem safe but are in fact poisonous, and will make you sick. So, with that in mind, which one is lady’s thumb?
Is lady’s thumb edible? Yes, every part of Lady’s Thumb is edible, and has a flavor that’s similar to lettuce. It’s best eaten from mid-spring to late fall, and can be eaten either cooked or raw.
What is Lady’s Thumb?
Originally from Europe, Lady’s Thumb is an annual, competitive summer weed with football-shaped leaves and pink, purple, or white flowers.
The plant can be identified by a ‘smudge’ on the leaves ,which looks like a partial thumbprint – hence the name. All parts of this plant (stems, leaves, and flowers) are edible, and can be eaten either cooked or raw.
It’s easily identified and is found throughout much of the USA and Mexico, as well as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Mature plants can stand between 8 and 40 inches (20 and 100 cm high), and can have leaves up to 6 inches (15 cm) long.
Apart from being edible, you can use it to alleviate poison ivy and stomach cramps/pain and, if you rub it on horses, it acts as a natural insect repellent.
Where is it Found?
So, where do you typically find Lady’s Thumb? Well, a few common places to find this weed are:
- Rice fields
- Barley fields
- Grain fields
- Shady areas
- Areas with seasonal floods
- Areas of moist soil
- Vegetable patches/fields
Culinary Uses for Lady’s Thumb
Lady’s Thumb can be used to enhance the flavor of a salad, or as edible salad garnish. Usually, plants like Lady’s Thumb are very, for lack of a better description, loud. They have strong, pronounced flavors that can be a bit overwhelming at times.
Lady’s Thumb, however, is very mildly flavored and so it doesn’t have that overwhelming quality. This makes it ideal for enhancing flavors in food.
The leaves can be either whole or chopped, and thrown into your salads to add an extra layer of flavor to it. You can cook them or eat them raw – depending on personal preference – and the flowers can be used as edible salad garnish.
Now I’m Hungry
All this talk of salads has got me ravenous! I hope you guys enjoyed the article and that you found it informative. It should be obvious, but please don’t randomly eat a plant that you think is edible – make sure you know what it is before you eat it.
As always, I’d like to say thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you for the next one very soon.
Greg is a South African farmer and homesteader who’s been around animals ever since he can remember. He’s also an avid camper and hiker.