Camp Chowenwaw event to show oranges aren’t the only edible plant in Florida

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 4/17/19

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Everyone knows Florida for its oranges, but there are dozens of other edible plants, including the only native plant in America that has caffeine.

It’s easy to forget …

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Camp Chowenwaw event to show oranges aren’t the only edible plant in Florida

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Everyone knows Florida for its oranges, but there are dozens of other edible plants, including the only native plant in America that has caffeine.

It’s easy to forget Florida is home to plants that aren’t orange trees. After all, the state’s license plates prominently feature oranges.

Amy Morie, principal of a small landscape, architecture and educational firm who specializes in adorning parks and trails with educational signage, is holding an event on April 20 at Camp Chowenwaw to educate people on what else exactly there is to eat natively in Florida.

While nothing might be tastier than a Florida orange, she’s excited to let people try some unfamiliar Florida resources.

“There’s quite a bit in Florida that I think people will be surprised about,” Morie said. “We have root crops, radish-like plants, wild onions, wild fruits other than oranges and quite a few grains. We’ll be looking at those during our walking tour and some other plants, too.”

Starting at 11 a.m., Morie and anyone that attends will embark on a trail to discover what’s likely already growing in everyone’s backyards. Because Camp Chowenwaw is a fresh-water area with plant regions known as Uplands, she expects to find great diversity in vegetation during these field activities.

After that, Morie will hold an indoor presentation where she’ll talk more in-depth about taking advantage of what’s growing all around us.

“We all buy the same 10 or 20 produce items without realizing that there’s so much in our yards already that we can incorporate into our favorite meals,” she said.

Morie has been doing that for as long as she can remember. That’s because she grew up regularly embracing nature.

“I used to camp all the time and we’d forage for food,” Morie said. “I also garden and I’m always looking for another source of food to grow.”

Morie’s indoor presentation will teach those who attend how they too can eat what they grow. All the while, they’ll be sipping on holly tea. While you can get tea with caffeine in it at any grocery store or coffee shop, this tea will be made using Yaupon Holly, the only plant with caffeine in it native to America.

And it’s native only to Florida.

On a first-come first-serve basis, people can get some wild mint clippings that they can then take home to grow themselves, too.

Beyond edible plants, Morie will also be discussing ways that Florida vegetation can be used beyond what most might think. For example, Spanish Moss once was used to be used as mattress stuffing. Morie is excited for people to learn about the history of other Florida plants.

Anyone interested in attending won’t have to register. Simply show up to Camp Chowenwaw.

“Come have fun and come learn something,” Morie said.

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