Silverweed, Argentina anserina
Silverweed, or Silver Cinquefoil, is a perennial flowering plant in the rose family with saw-toothed leaves that are silky and silvery on the underside. It produces small, singular yellow flowers between June and August. It is native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere, often on river shores and in grassy habitats such as meadows and road-sides. The name anserina means "of the goose", either because the plant was used to feed them or because the leaves are reminiscent of the bird's foot marks. In Sweden, the flower is called gåsört (goose-wort).
A rich folklore has developed around Silverweed. The plant was put in shoes to absorb sweat, and formerly believed to be useful for epilepsy, and to ward off witches and evil spirits. The plant bears the common name of Richette in French, being rich through both silver and gold, and there is a legend that the Christ Child grew up and walked the roads of Palestine; and the yellow flowering plant of the dusty wayside with silvery fern-like leaves that lay flat on the ground has been called the Footsteps of Our Lord.
The whole plant, including it's root, is edible, with the leaves being made into an herbal tea, or tossed into a salad, stew or stir fry. The roots (best collected in the Autumn), can be used raw or cooked and resemble parsnips.
🐑 Grassland, including paddocks, fields and meadows.
🚜 Hedgerows, including field edges.
🐝 Moorland, including heaths and grouse moors.
🌊 Waterways, including rivers, lakes and streams.
🌸🌞🍂 May - Oct
☘️ Silverweed Leaves are compound (made up of many leaflets), arranged at opposite sides of the stalk (pinnate). Each leaflet is hairy and oblong with sharply toothed edges that are green on the top surface and pale silver-green below. This silver colouration is due to a covering of dense hairs on the underside. 10-18cm long.
🌷 Small, yellow, five-petaled flowers sprout from a leafless stalk between June and September.
🌱 Smooth, green and hairy.
🍠 Sprawling red roots that swell at the tip to form plump little nodules like miniature sweet potatoes. Autumn.
Aroma / Taste
👅 The leaves have a pleasant, slightly herby taste.
🍠 The root tastes nutty and sweet when cooked, a litle like parsnip.
🟩 ID Difficulty - Beginner
👀 The distinctive toothed leaves and silvery underside are key identifiers of this plant.
🤚 The soft, pale hairs on the underside of the plant are a key identifier.
🥗 Salad - Leaves can be eaten raw and added to salads.
🌿 Herb - Leaves can be used to add flavour or as a pot-herb.
🌺 Garnish - Flowers can be used as a garnish.
🍠 Root Vegetable - the root can be used as a root vegetable.
☕️ Beverage - Leaves and root can be used to make teas or other drinks.