Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

Tower Mustard (Turritis glabra) Previously: Arabis glabra): Images

Date Location Notes Images
May 21, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire I’ve been munching on the tops of these plants for weeks. The tops (flowers and buds) of the plant can add some flavor to a salad or are a good trail nibble. I do not remember seeing the plant last year, but there are hundreds of them all over the place this year. They plants love to grow next to foot paths and roads in the full sunlight.

I wanted to be certain that this was Tower Mustard, so I first was able to identify it as a mustard -- flowers with four petals and six stamen (four long and two short). Click on the closeup image of the flower below to see the six stamen with curled green tops. Then, using the botanical guide by Arthur Haines, Flora Novae Angliae: A Manual for the Identification of Native and Naturalized Higher Vascular Plants of New England, I was able to divine which of the 42 mustard genuses (in New England) that this plant belongs to:
  • Fruit/Seed Pod is a silique (more than 3 times as long as wide).
  • Seed pods lacking cross-septa (partitions between the seeds). Inside the pod is not corky or spongy. See closeup image of open seed pod below.
  • All leave blades simple, untooth and lacking pronounced lobes.
  • Plant partly or entirely with branched hairs. See closeup image of the top of a leaf blade showing tiny, branched hairs.
  • Middle stem leaves are clasping the stem.
  • Seed pods 0.8 - 1.3 mm wide.
  • Seed pods circular in cross-section (not flattened). See closeup of seed pod below. Middle and upper stem leaves glaucous (covered with a whitish or bluish waxy coating). Sepal base without a pouch. Flower petals are supposed to be pale yellow, but most of them look very white.
Fortunately, once I narrowed it down to the Turritis genus, there was only one species of that genus in New England, Turritis glabra.
Date Location Notes Images
June 3, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire Dragonfly sucking on Tower Mustard (Turritis glabra) seedpods.
Date Location Notes Images
May 5, 2013 Southeastern, New Hampshire A little too young to harvest for the flowers and flower stems.