Foraging is not yet my forte!
Calling all community gardeners and other compañerxs: Do you have a “go to” website or free laboratory for plant identification? I’m trying to confirm this bush with dark purple berries is Solanum americanum. A local freelance handyperson/landscaper assures me this is “tomatillo del monte,” an edible. “Green Deane” on the webpage Eat the Weeds–And Other Things, Too gives some background, along with many, many caveats.
On reflection, this wild thing might have tried growing in other places I’ve lived. But, I saw it as a weed that would stifle my preferred plants. So this plant was yanked out as soon as it was noticed. My ignorance brought its expedient eradication.
Now the land seems to be offering me a chance to reframe my view. This wild thing camouflaged itself amongst the unruly hedge––hiding in plain sight––until it was too large to ignore. Too big to fail. But can it co-occupy without taking over and rubbing out whatever needs to grow in that spot? How can I know what should grow where and when, or what makes something invasive and non-native?
Brings to mind the many struggles with gentrification. Communities experience change, where the benefits of the changes are often enjoyed disproportionately by new arrivals, while the established residents find themselves economically and socially marginalized. Be-fore gentrification, we need to be-for the people. Some say first was the the word, some say first was the light. Some say the land was here first and, notwithstanding the people’s efforts to destroy it, the land will remain. Take care of the land, cuida la gente. The land sufficeth all things above all things, and no thing, or in whatever lies between these things but the land sufficeth. The land is the knower, the omnipotent, the sustainer.