Stripe seed and other edible wild leaves

May I write something about Stinkend and other stripe seeds. In Bellegarde in the French Drôme region, this Crepis grows a lot on the plateau near the cemetery. So to speak, in the ‘parking lot’, especially on paved areas between the gravel. Not that it stands out because of its flowering, no, it is rather the leaf rosettes that spread an aromatic sharp smell after entering. That’s why the name stinky, although the flora also talks about the smell of bitter almonds and I wouldn’t dare call it stinky. Yet in many countries people seem to agree with each other when it comes to stinking: stinking, fétide, stinker and even in Latin foetida. Only the Italians make Radichiella odorosa from it.

Wild vegetables

Can such a plant be eaten or used medicinally? Probably yes, based on my theory that all plants are full of substances that are good or bad for something and that all plants have such a taste. Only for the time being I have no data on medicinal properties. This plant can certainly be found in the Cruyde-Boeck of Dodonaeus, belonging to the genus of the Erigerons or ‘Third Erigeron that we have Grijscruyt ghenaempt / has a thin straight dark red stem / covered with thin, thin hayrken / and on it growing long narrow leaves. At the top of the stems, small stems grow from which small pale yellow flowers emerge, which immediately after they have opened, change and almost become gray or white, and some may think that these flowers were first gray, because within the myself thought/ and sometimes within the same hour that they opened, they/ so they turned gray/ and.

An extensive description à la Dodonaeus, except that he is silent in all languages about a possible use. In French herbalist circles, other Crepis varieties are appreciated as vegetable salad. For example, Dandelion stripe seed, Crépis à feuilles de pissenlit, is often used as a slightly bitter salad and as a spring cure because of its depurative effect. So what to compare with the dandelion itself. In the ethnobotanical literature a distinction is also made with the stinking stripe seed, which is said to be less edible but not poisonous. The identification was done by the local population on the basis of the smell, where the Stinking is now described here again as an iodine smell. And that looks more like it, I think. Furthermore, in the region of Forcalquier it is called ‘la salad qui sent l’iode’.

In the ethnobotanical interviews, it is clear that ordinary people and farmers regularly used the Crepis species, especially those with dandelion leaves. ‘ Autrefois, ils en mangeait beaucoup, pour se depurer le sang. Alors, c’est semé par les brébis. Elles mangeaient la graine de cette plante, et les ne la digéraient pas’ . In Provence the plant was called ‘la morre’ or ‘morre de porc’, morre (groin) means pig’s snout, because the flower bud resembles a snout. But it may also be caused by the curling of the leaves, when you cut them they form a pig’s snout. ‘Elle fait le museumu’ or in Provencal ‘Fai la morre’.

It is clear that many of these bitter leaves, Stripe Seed, Dandelion, Chicory were mainly eaten in early spring. It was fresh food after winter, the young leaves were tasty and it was the right time to do a healthy cleansing treatment. And more recently it has been discovered that many of these wild plants have strong antioxidant properties. Is that the new term for blood purifier?

Some plants that were eaten a lot and are worth trying

  • Crepis species / Stripe seed, especially Dandelion stripe seed. (Crepis vesicaria L. ssp. taraxacifolia (Thuill.) Thell. English: Beaked Hawk’s-beard, German: Löwenzahn-Pippau, French: Barkhausie à feuilles de Pissenlit
  • Taraxacum species / Dandelion.
  • Cichorium intybus / wild chicory
  • Chondrilla juncea / Nodding flower. German: Binsen-Knorpellattich, Großer Knorpellattich, English: Rush Skeletonweed, Hogbite, French: Chondrille, Chondrille effilée, Chondrille à tige de jonc, Salade à bûches
  • Reichardia picroides / Wild French salsify. English: Common brighteyes
  • Campanulla rapunculus Rapunzelbell
  • Valerianella locusta / Wild lamb’s lettuce

I have of course eaten most of these plants myself, the wild lamb’s lettuce and the young chicory and dandelion leaves are especially good to eat.

For further research

Wild Gathered Food Plants in the European Mediterranean: A Comparative Analysis. By M. Leonti, S. Nebel, D. Rivera and M. Heinrich (
The researchers examined 127 wild edible plants with bioassays for antioxidant properties, enzyme inhibitory effects and other relevant properties for aging processes in the brain or cardiovascular system. Papaver rhoeas L. and especially Reichardia picroides L. were characterized by strong antioxidant properties. In addition to the already known influence of vegetables, fruit, fish, garlic and olive oil, contributions of wild vegetables to the Mediterranean diet may explain part of its health value