Any gardener who actually desires a perfectly manicured lawn, persistent weeds similar to dandelion, purslane, plantain, and cat’s ear can evoke anger and hatred. On the other hand, gardeners who are fascinated by the healing properties of plants, these same little “weeds” are cherished treasures. While most gardeners and herbalists have probably heard of the excellent medicinal and culinary uses of dandelion, plantain, and purslane, the cat’s ear plant is an oftentimes overlooked and underappreciated herb plant that is loaded with antioxidants. Keeping reading to learn more about cat’s ear plant benefits.

Is Cat’s Ear Plant Edible?

The Cat’s ear plant is a perennial plant that is native to Europe and it has been naturalized in Australia, North America, New Zealand, Japan, and other regions. In many of these places the cat’s ear plant is considered a nuisance or noxious weed, but in other places, the plant is considered a culinary or herbal treasure – all parts of the plants are edible and the plant is high in antioxidants, potassium, and lutein. The Cat’s ear plants bear a striking resemblance to dandelion, and the plant is often called false dandelion. Like dandelion plant, the cat’s ear plants form yellow composite flowers on hollow stems, which secrete a milky substance when snapped. The Cat’s ear plants stem grows from a rosette of deeply toothed leaves. After the blooms fade, like dandelion, the cat’s ear plants produces orb-shaped, fluffy seed heads that disperse and float in the wind on fine, silky parachutes. It is very easy to mistake the cat’s ear plants for dandelion. The prolific seed dispersal and the plant’s unique survival strategies have earned the plant own name as a nuisance though. The Cat’s ear plants will take on a prostrate, or spreading, growth habit in lawns which are frequently mowed. This flat growth allows the plant to stay just below average mowing heights. In narrow or tight regions, the plant’s adaptability also allows it to grow upright and tall. This tough survivor is listed as a noxious weed in some areas, so you should check for local restrictions before growing cat’s ear plant.


Cat's Ear Plant Benefits

Although the cat’s ear plant has a pretty bad reputation in North America, but the plant is a common culinary and medicinal herb in its native range. The cat’s ear plant was brought to North America by early settlers because of its uses as food and medicine. As an herbal remedy, the cat’s ear plant uses include treating kidney problems, constipation, urinary tract infections, rheumatism, gall bladder issues, and liver problems. The plant root contains natural cortisone which is used to treat allergies, rashes, and other itchy skin issues in both people and pets. In Japan and Greece, the cat’s ear plant is grown as a garden green. The young, tender foliage is eaten raw in salads or cooked in an array of local dishes. The plant flower stems and buds are steamed or sautéed, like asparagus. The Cat’s ear plant root can also be steamed and sautéed, or roasted and ground into a coffee-like beverage. If you would like to take advantage of the benefits of cat’s ear plant, be certain to only collect wild plants from good sites where you know there is no chemical or otherwise harmful ground contamination.


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