Welcome to July! and another wildflowers & wild plants foraging guide. And what a wonderful month it has been so far.
This weather is my favourite. Not only have we had glorious sunshine, but this week we have also had a New moon & solar eclipse, mercury going retrograde – all times for releasing dead weight and starting renewed and refreshed, AND we have another lunar event later in the moth with a Full moon lunar eclipse!
I have always been fascinated with the moon and stars and astral events like these, so apologies if you don’t quite share my enthusiasm. But I hope how the moons phases and the planets affect us is as interesting to you as it is to me…
Not only is a lots been going on in the skies this month, but it feels like the whole earth is blooming too! Lots of rain + Lots of sunshine = So. Many. Flowers!!
July wildflowers & wild plants
So without further ado let’s get into the July wildflowers & wild plants that you will be able to find this month
Feverfew is another wild flower that is very similar in appearance to daisies. It is also very similar to Chamomile in its height and flower shape. It has a couple of things that make it easy to differentiate from Chamomile though.
The centres of feverfew flowers are flat, not domed shape – The grow from branching stems that bear many flowers.
The leaves of feverfew look a lot more like leaves than chamomile’s delicate tendrils.
Feverfew likes to grow on waste ground and along field margins, but can often be found in gardens or on grassy patches along roadsides and paths.
It can grow up to half a meter tall, and in dense patches. It’s foliage is lacy, and I would say similar to cow parsley in shape and appearance. And the whole plant has a citrus scent.
Feverfew grows from April to November and flowers from July to September. If you want feverfew for medicinal use you want to pick the whole plant just before it flowers.
Historically feverfew was used to treat fevers, not surprising considering it’s name. But it is most commonly known know as a treatment for migraine.
Feverfew is best used fresh, as it looses a lot of its properties once dried.
– you can add a leaf or two of fresh feverfew into sandwiches each day to prevent migraines
– it is though feverfew is so good for migraine treatment as it works to reduce tension and inflammation that causes migraine pain. It’s also rich in niacin which dilates your blood vessels, as well as sedative effects to to relax your body and muscles and gently relieve pain.
– Medicinally as well as migraine you can use feverfew to treat cramping menstrual pains, swollen painful joints, to stimulate your liver, treat arthritis pains, and improve appetite and digestion.
This is a tall shrubby plant that was named after the Greek moon goddess Artemis. It’s Latin name is ‘Artemisia’. And has a strong female energy to fit its Latin name.
Mugwort likes to grow on grass verges and is commonly found growing beside footpaths and on waste ground.
It’s branched stems grow tall from its base, and can often be tinged with red. The leaves of mugwort are toothed, dark green on their upper side, but almost white on their undersides which have a fine felt-like coating of hairs.
The Mugwort flowers look silver-ish before they bloom. But are in fact yellow-brown in colour. The flowers are small and oval in shape and grow on tall spikes.
Mugwort grows from April to October and flowers from July to September. You want to harvest the whole plant when it is in flower.
– mugwort is a bitter herb and best used dried
– it is a tincture to be used in small doses. And not to be used AT ALL if you’re pregnant
– you can use mugwort in what is called a moxa to treat old bruises, strains, and persistent fibrous muscular injuries to open up the flow of energy which will increase heat and facilitate healing
– medicinally you can also use mugwort to treat poor appetite and indigestion, as well as breaking fevers, insomnia and it’s anti-spasmodic properties make it a good herb for treating your period pains, & heavy painful periods
Meadowsweet flowers can be found growing in frothy little tufts that pop out between the nettles. It has a long history of being used as a medicine.
It contains a substance called salicylate which is similar to the anti-inflammatory salicylic acid used in aspirin. And has the same properties, without the stomach irritation aspirin can often cause.
Meadow sweet leaves are almond shaped with toothed edges and deeply lined. The leaves grow on long, red-hued stalks, and reduced in number towards the top of the flowering stem which is round and branched at the top. It’s frothy flowers are cream in colour and have a pleasant, sharp scent.
Each tiny flower has five petals and comparatively long stamens covered in creamy pollen.
You can find meadowsweet beside streams and damp hedgerows. It likes damp ground and partial shade. Meadowsweet starts to grow in April, and flowers from July to August. You want to harvest the whole flowering plant.
– meadowsweet has been shown to reduce irritation and inflammation in the stomach
– medicinally it can be used to treat heartburn, indigestion, gastritis and ulceration. As well as cold sores, acne, gout, sprains and strains
– it’s anti-inflammatory effect also make meadowsweet an effective treatment for arthritis joint pain
You probably have already heard of St. John’s Wort. It is well known as a supplement to take to naturally treat depression (without all the side effects of prescription drugs). But do you know what it looks like?..
St. John’s Wort flowers from midsummer, which is where it gets its name from. Because St. John’s day is midsummers day!
St. John’s Wort has bright yellow flowers. The plant itself can grow to 60cm in height, and has hairless, oval, veined leaves that grow from strong round stems.
These stems will bear clusters of bright yellow flowers which have five petals and long yellow stamens that can look red. If you hold St. John’s Wort leaves up to the sun they will appear perforated.
You can find St. John’s Wort growing on waste ground and roadsides, including overgrown footpaths and railway sidings. It flowers from June to September, and you can collect the whole flowering plant, or just it’s flowers.
– the whole St. John’s Wort plant is known for its nerve restorative properties. It is also bitter this helping the liver to excreted depressive toxins
– this herb is good for treating viruses, especially ones that affect the central nervous system, such as herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. As well as treating conditions like glandular fever, ME, and chronic fatigue syndrome
– both St. John’s Wort tincture and infused oil are good for medicinal use
– medicinally you can also use St. John’s Wort to treat bruises, burns, cold sores, psoriasis, sunburn, wounds, back ache, restless leg syndrome, neuralgia, incontinence, menopause and PMT
Wild oats can often be mistaken for wild grass to the untrained eye. In fact their are many types of wild grasses that have medicinal properties!
There are about 25 different varieties of oat grown, and wild oats are different to the oats commercially harvested for eating, although they can be found growing amongst fields of oat crop. Wild oats also like to grow along hedgerows and meadows.
They can grow up to 4ft tall, with thin grass- like stalks and leaves. The seeds, which are split, hang down from a thin tough stem that emerges from the top of the plant.
Oat products seeds through July and August. You want to collect the whole plant when the oat seeds ‘pop’ when squeezed between your fingers and produce a milky liquid.
– wild oats is best made into a fresh herb tincture, or you can make a simple oat milk
– the liquid that comes from the oat seeds has emollient properties and is wonderful for you to use as a treatment for eczema and dry, itchy skin conditions
– wild oat has also been used for hundreds of years as a food for the nerves. It’s known for its relaxing effects on the nervous system. So in any condition where the nervous system is under strain or has become depleted you can use wild oat to support and nourish your nervous system and prevent collapse
– it is also a good remedy to use for healing after an acute illness or during chronic illness. Especially diseases of the nerves such as chickenpox and shingles
– medicinally you can use oats to treat cold sores, cramps, osteoporosis, restless leg syndrome, anaemia, high cholesterol, depression, exhaustion, insomnia, neuralgia, menopause, and PMT. As well as anxiety and stress
Agrimony is often called cocklebur. A name that come from it’s seeds which cling onto clothing and fur with their little hooks.
Traditionally Agrimony has been used as both a herbal medicine and a plant die, and was even believed to have magical powers.
It towers over most other meadow plants making its yellow flowers easy to spot. You can find agrimony growing in grass on sloping meadows and waste grounds.
Growing up to 1m high agrimony has spear shaped leaves which are green on top and silvery underneath. These leaves are covered with fine hairs and have finely serrated edges. The agrimony flowers grow directly on the stem and have five petals.
You can often see the hooked, cone shaped seeds and flowers growing on the stem at the same time.
Agrimony grows from May to October, and flowers from July to September. To harvest you want to use the whole flowering plant.
– a bitter herb, agrimony has long been used for treating bowel health issues. The tannin’s it contains help to reduce swelling and inflammation, and it has also been shown to help normalise gut bacteria. This makes it a good herb to use if you suffer from IBS and inflammatory bowel disease.
– agrimony is known to heal the gut wall, which is useful in healing digestive issues caused by leaky gut or tears to your stomach lining
– take as a tincture to treat IBS and other bowel conditions
– medicinally you can take acrimony to help treat diarrhoea, leaky gut syndrome, diverticulitis disease, gallstones, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease
During medieval times Valerian was known as ‘all heal’. It is a powerful sedative and relaxant without the addictive side effects of pharmaceuticals.
It can be used to relax tension throughout your whole body, relieve your pain and muscle spasms, relieve anxiety and nervousness, as well as induce a relaxed feeling to help you drift off to sleep.
Valerian flowers have a strong heady scent. The leaves are green with serrated edges, and a purple hue as they start to emerge. The stems are ridged and hollow, and grow to 4ft tall. At the top stems branch into clusters of small, perfumed, pinky-white flowers.
It likes to grow on damp shady ground beside canals and rivers, and in ditches. It’s also easy to grow in your garden too.
The leaves begin to grow in April and the flowers appear in July. You want to identify the plants while they are flowering, then harvest the roots in Autumn or early spring.
– you can use dried Valerian root as a tincture or infusions, but you may find the tincture is easier to take taste-wise
– medicinally you can take the Valerian to treat backache, cramp, restless leg syndrome, high blood pressure, anxiety and stress, headache, insomnia, migraines, colic, IBS, painful periods, and even panic attacks.
A funny name for a funny looking plant. Hedge woundwort has a long history of being used for, yep you guessed it, healing wounds!
It like to grow amongst nettles and likes shady hedgerows, amongst grassy waste ground and woodlands. But you can occasionally find it beside rivers and lakes too. we’re not in flower it’s easy to mistake this plant for nettles.
It will start to grow in Spring, and flowers from July to August. Some years even as late as September.
Hedge woundwort grows erect and up to 1m in height. It is a relative of mint, and has a similar shape and texture of leaves. The stems have a square cross section, and are hairy along the upper part of the plant. This plant has nodes widely spaced along the upper section of the stem, and from these nodes a pair of hairy leaves grow. These are elongated, almond shaped, and have saw-toothed edges the same as nettles do.
Hedge woundwort has a strong, unpleasant and what can be an overwhelming smell when picked or crushed. But it’s red-purple flowers are what make it stand out. These grow in bunches. Each flower has four petals, a large hooded top, and three smaller lower lips that have intricate white markings.
You can harvest the whole flowering plant for medicinal use.
– as well as being used to treat cuts and wounds topically woundwort can also be used as an oil infusion and an ointment
– medicinally you can use woundwort topically to treat cuts, scrapes, wounds, as well as relieve arthritis, and aching joints. When taken internally woundwort will act as an anti-spasmodic and sedative to help you treat cramps, diarrhoea and dysentery
Wild thyme is much smaller than garden thyme. It is more of a creeping plant that grows along the ground, which is where it gets its Greek name from. ‘Serpyllum’ literally means ‘to creep’.
Bees love thyme blossom, and it’s properties are also passed on to their honey. Thyme honey is a powerful anti-infective and can be used to treat wounds externally and digestively.
Wild thyme can spread over large areas and likes to grow in dry, well-drained soil. It can often be found clinging to rocky crevices or growing from seemingly soilless places, as well as in gardens.
It’s leaves are minute, and it’s small pinky-purple flowers similarly so. The flowers are trumpet shaped with four lobes.
This thyme is actually evergreen, but will flower from June to July. Harvest the whole plant for medicinal use. Or plant near your bee hives to get lots of delicious thyme honey.
Make into a tincture or use as a cream/ointment to apply topically. For mouthwashes or gargles make an infusion of the dried herb. Infusions can also be used directly on your skin for skin conditions.
– wild thyme contains volatile oils that open airways and can relieve wheezing, loosen mucus, and relieve symptoms of most respiratory problems
– thyme is a potent antiseptic and anti fungal so you can use it to treat most inflammations caused by bacteria or viruses, and fungal infections
– medicinally you can use wild thyme to treat thrush, inflamed or infected gums and teeth, mouth ulcers, wounds, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, cough, sore throat, fungal infections, infection, bloating, colic, diverticular disease, flatulence, and cystitis
This is the last for our July wildflowers & wild plants foraging guide. This wild plant is one you will have seen growing everywhere. It’s fast growing and is known as ‘fireweed’ in North America for this reason – it is one of the first plants to re-grow after forest fires!
It likes to grow in dry, relativity open areas and you can find it along paths and roadsides, field margins, forest clearings, tracks and trails, and even on well-drained waste ground & river banks.
Rosebay grows very straight and tall, to around 1.5m, and is topped with bright pink-purple flowers. These flowers have four petals and long white stamen. The leaves are elongated thin almond shapes and have a white stalk running through their centre.
This herb starts to grow from early spring, and flowers from June to September. It also has long seed pods that contain masses of hairy, fluffy-looking seeds.
To harvest you can use the whole plant. Ideally you want to pick this herb as it is flowering but before it has gone to seed
– you can eat the roots, shoots, leaves and flowers of this plant. as well as eat the pith from the centre of the plant stems – either raw, cooked or fermented
– it is rich in vitamins A and C
– you can take dried rosebay as tea, or use an infusion to externally treat skin conditions such as dermatitis, or even use as a skin cleanser
– medicinally rosebay is very similar to wild thyme in its properties. You can use rosebay to treat mouth infections, ulcers, and respiratory problems. It will help soothe laryngitis, loosen mucus, and relieve wheezing, asthma, bronchitis, coughs, sore throats, sinusitis, diseases of the kidney, urinary tract infections, colic, diverticular disease, flatulence, and diarrhoea
I hope you have enjoyed this months wildflowers & wild plants foraging guide, and find it useful. See you in the next one!