Honewort, Cryptotaenia canadensis, sometimes referred by its alternate name Wild Chervil (depending upon the field guide). It is an edible plant that can be found in rich woods from May to September. The flowers are small and in umbel clusters. The upper leaves alternate along the stem and the leaves themselves are divided into three leaflets that are sharply and irregularly toothed and often lobed. Honewort has a similar flavor to commercial chervil and contains several vitamins and minerals. The young leaves and stem can be eaten raw, added to salads or boiled for 10-15 minutes. The stem can be used like celery, the seeds used like seasoning, and the tough root can also be eaten raw but it is better when boiled for 30 to 45 minutes. So, the next time you are in the woods don’t be quick to overlook the plain looking plants, they may be what you need to bring spice into your backcountry meal.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry!
Honewort or Wild Chervil Sources:
Audubon Guides Box Set – Birds, Tree, Wildflowers & Mammals. Computer Software.Green Mountain Digital. Version: 2.3. Web. Jul 10, 2014.
Brill, Steve. Wild Edibles Plus. Computer Software. WinterRoot LLC. Version 1.5. 2012. Web. Feb. 15, 2014.
Fernald, Merritt Lyndon & Alfred Charles Kinsey. Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1996. Print. pg. 287-289
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 218-219
Niering, William A., & John W. Thieret. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers Eastern Region, Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. Print. pg. 339-340 pl.192
Peterson, Lee Allen. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants; Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. Print. pg. 40-41
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.