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Marsh woundwort, Stachys palustris L. (Lamiaceae): an overlooked food plant
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
2011 (English)In: Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, ISSN 0925-9864, E-ISSN 1573-5109, Vol. 58, no 5, 783-793 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to study the geographical distribution and historical patterns of use of a little known root crop native to Europe-marsh woundwort Stachys palustris L. The species grows in wet grasslands and arable fields. It produces edible tubers. Both ethnographic literature and archival sources were searched. Seventeen reliable references concerning the consumption of S. palustris in southern and south-eastern Poland were found. The tubers were usually dried and powdered, and then added to soups or to bread dough. They were also eaten as raw snacks. The plant was used mainly during food shortages in spring, until the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century, and later only as an occasional raw snack until the 1970s. Marsh woundwort was also eaten in western Ukraine (one reference). There are many references to the edibility of marsh woundwort in the eighteenth and nineteenth century European economic botany literature, particularly in Sweden and Great Britain. These publications tried to popularize the use of S. palustris as food. However, there is no firm evidence from these countries that marsh woundwort was used as food there. Marsh woundwort was also used, throughout northern and central Europe, as pig fodder and as a medicinal plant, particularly for healing wounds. Further studies on the nutritive value of this forgotten crop should be undertaken, particularly that there is little knowledge of the chemical composition of both marsh woundwort and its Asian relative Stachys affinis widely cultivated in China as a vegetable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 58, no 5, 783-793 p.
Keyword [en]
Edible tubers, Famine plants, Food propaganda, Sium sisarum, Stachyose, Stachys affinis, Stachys palustris, Stachys sieboldii
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-156249DOI: 10.1007/s10722-011-9710-9ISI: 000292311800014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-156249DiVA: diva2:431341
Available from: 2011-07-19 Created: 2011-07-18 Last updated: 2011-07-19Bibliographically approved

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