After a rocky start involving a major subway snafu on my part, and a last-minute green cab dash to Inwood when subterranean travels seemed useless ('Do you know Inwood Hill Park,' I asked the cabbie, breathlessly. 'Sure,' he said, 'My team plays softball there ebery Toosday), we were off, into the woods.
It is the greenest time of the year.
An oak apple gall. I had to look it up.I knew it was a gall, but had never seen this one, or understood them. One of the walkers, a feisty neighborhood lady named Davia, with a sharp eye, found this one and opened it to look inside. A wasp emerges from the gall, which is a mutated leaf; the female wasp lays her egg in an oak leaf. The gall is the consequence.
It was good to talk about sassafras to a couple of New Orleanians who knew all about file (dried sassafras leaves, used to thicken gumbo), and who also knew someone who eats possum - I explained that spicebush berries are added traditionally to season a good possum dish...
No, I do not forage Harlem possums. But if I did, at least I'd know how to spice(bush) it up! Harharhar.
After a wide tour of the park, ending with the collecting of burdock stems and dock seeds, we rested at some benches near the incoming tide, and ate the field garlic bread I had brought.
And then I managed to get home without much incident.
Next wild edibles walk? North Woods, Central Park, on Memorial Day. After that I'll post the summer schedule.