~From Lucretia Jones
Collected rainwater is our family’s main water source, so drought tolerant plants are often on my mind. Thankfully, the plants I engage with for medicinal purposes are usually hearty and require little to no fussing. In fact, many plants thrive under stressful conditions and offer us the same resilience when getting to know them.
This week, while wandering around the garden gathering seeds, a couple of plant friends stood out and wanted to be included in this conversation. At one point during our Northern hemisphere summer, our water tanks were running dry and we had to pick and choose what plants would get that limited resource. Both comfrey (symphytum spp) and cronewort (aka mugwort/artemisia vulgaris), have received minimal care and have been thriving all season.
Comfrey is a generous plant that offers us support. I’ve planted root pieces about the half the size of my thumb and have seen leaves emerge in less than a month. Once established, lack of water doesn’t seem to affect this plant’s exuberance. Apparently, as seen in the included photo, deer might be its biggest threat.
Cronewort is the definition of prolific. The three or four seedlings we planted near our wildflower beds a few years ago have spread into a sizable patch, even showing up hundreds of feet away from that original location. I make an infused vinegar with new leaves, giving my food a tasty mineral rich boost, and wrap flowering tops into fragrant bundles for dreamy smoke bathing.
Besides their many medicinal benefits, and as conserving water becomes more and more of a concern in many parts of the world, comfrey and cronewort are perfect additions to your drought tolerant garden. A few of each will go a long way for you with plenty to share.
This article is written from plant hardiness zone 6, in North America, where these plants do well in this environment. Be sure to check your local extension to ensure you do not plant anything that is invasive in your specific region, and check your own soil type compatibility with these plants!
Contributor: Lucretia Jones (HWB Board Member)
I've been working and learning with plants for over twenty years. As a wise woman herbalist, my favorite times are spent meeting new and old plant friends wherever I happen to be. Sharing those relationships with other humans led me to create House of Lukaya in 2003. House of Lukaya, is a mobile and online source for plant medicine workshops, incense twists and other handicrafts, and a pocket Guide to Nourishing Herbal Infusions. In 2019, my partner and I purchased land in Virginia where we are building a homestead from scratch and creating space to share herbs and arts with others. I welcome your communication at my website houseoflukaya.com, on Instagram @houseoflukaya, and at patreon.com/houseoflukaya.
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