Welcome to the wonderful world of weedy plants!
Weeds are superevolutionary products of human civilizations and activities - without humans there would be no weeds, just wild plants.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

No more foraging in NYC parks

An article in today's New York Times describes how the park department is planning to crack down on foraging for edible plants (and animals) in the city's parks.

"....New Yorkers are increasingly fanning out across the city’s parks to hunt and gather edible wild plants, like mushrooms, American ginger and elderberries. Now parks officials want them to stop. New York’s public lands are not a communal pantry, they say." (source)

Not all are weeds of course, but many are, and some are also invasive. Personally I think a total ban is wrong, because I want kids to pick a raspberry, and if the Chinese want to gather the smelly ginkgo fruits, let them!  And if the "edible weeds crowd" want to reduce the invasive Japanese knotweed by cutting the young edible spring shoots, that is certainly better than spraying with pesticides later. But hauling turtles out of the park is a different thing.  So as usual, the issue is not as straightforward or black and white as we would like it to be.  It always amazes me that it is illegal to pick mushrooms in America's National Parks for example. Is it better that the mushrooms rot away?  I think it is better that people get closer to nature understand its value, limitations and dangers than that we coop up nature behind laws and bars and signs that tells us to stay away from all green things.

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