Nature Table: Silverweed

Silverweed is a well-named plant because its most striking characteristic is the silvery colour of its leaves, even more pronounced on the underside.

It’s a creeping perennial abundant throughout Ireland in damp, grassy places and can sometimes become a garden weed.

The trailing stems regularly put down roots so it can spread rapidly. The leaves are pinnate, which means that a number of sharply toothed and hairy leaflets are arranged along a reddish stalk. The yellow, five-petalled flowers appear from May to August and are carried on slender stalks above the foliage.

The roots are edible and are said to resemble parsnips in flavour. Apparently they were cultivated in parts of Scotland before the introduction of potatoes.

However, the roots of wild Irish silverweed are very small and hard to prepare so it’s not a practical plant for foragers. A better application may be to use the leaves as insoles in your walking boots. Apparently they were used traditionally to ease sore feet and absorb the sweat produced by tired walkers.


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