Red and Dead

25th February 2013

Earlier we found a White Dead-nettle Lamium album in full flower in the middle of January (see post). Now it’s the turn of the closely related  Red Dead-nettle L. purpureum.

Red Dead-nettle Lamium purpureum


Slightly smaller than the White Dead-nettle this annual has smaller leaves and pinkish purple flowers. The leaves and stems can often take on a purplish-red colour.

It can be used in exactly the same way, raw in salads or boiled or steamed. Add to other wild greens in soups or as fried wild greens.  It is a common plant and can be found in hedgerows, field edges, waste ground and gardens.

Also in abundance among the leaf litter, growing in dead sticks were lots of Scarlet Elf Cups Sarcoscypha austriaca. We found a few earlier in the year (Velvet Feet) but not enough to bother cooking but this time there were enough.

Scarlet Elfcups Sarcoscypha austriaca
Although with their bright red colouration they look like they are anything but edible, simply fried in oil they have  a delicate mushroom taste and they also retain their colour.  They would be great mixed with other wild winter mushrooms (Oyster, Velvet Shanks and Jelly Ear) in a risotto.

Kev Palmer

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