Friday, April 6, 2012

Photo Collage - Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed is very prevalent and highly invasive in New England. Its point of entry into the United States was through Boston as an ornamental, and it has spread into 39 of 50 states. In the early spring the shoots begin to pop up from the bases of last season's growth, as it spreads mainly through rhizomes in the ground. The hollow stalks grow quickly, unfurling leaves at each "joint" beneath a papery sheath until they reach up to 12" tall. The stalk is green, and often speckled red, looking similar to rhubarb. The leaves have an odd, flat base on the stem end and are simple, oval and pointed. Large stands of Japanese knotweed are easy to spot by the forest of tall, dead stalls left behind from last season.

We gather the stalks when they are 3"-10" tall, as they become tough and stringy as they get too much taller. At the smaller sizes, the stalks can be peeled to use raw, or cooked many ways into recipes. Most of the recipes we have developed are sweet, as the tart flavor of knotweed pairs well with sugar. Jelly, dessert bars, muffins, wine, cold soup and tapioca are some ideas for a sweet dish, and we recently tried it raw and savory in a wild food-filled summer roll. Gillian will chew on a raw stalk while we are out, and likes to sip the water that accumulates in the lowest hollow joint of the larger plants.


JonB said...

Hi think your pics are great. Hope you enjoyed JK as I spend most my time trying to kill it! I would love to use your photos on my web site and for articles. If there is any chance of this please contact me vie invasive weed experts.

Ellen Zachos said...

Got a great harvest this year and have more than enough for my annual batch of wine. I'm so happy to see your recipe for tapioca...I'm going to make it for dessert tonight! Thank you!

The 3 Foragers said...

Keep up the harvesting! We are still making jelly and trying a syrup recipe too.

Jon, Robert is OK with the use of his photos if a link back to the blog is somehow included. Email me for more info.