This week's nature share comes from our friend Ilana Weinstein, a Bronx-based urban park ranger, environmental educator and nature lover. Here’s what Ilana has to say about these beautiful wildflowers:
Walking through the meadow at Orchard Beach, I discovered an amazing plant friend! This yellow wildflower is Saint John's Wort. You can identify it by holding a leaf up to the light, and you'll notice small holes that are glands on the leaf. It flowers from May through August and can be used medicinally.
The most common medicinal use for Saint John's Wort is as an oil or a tincture. Infusing the flowers in a vegetable oil can create a nice facial and skin treatment for joint pain and bruises. An alcohol tincture can help in treating depression and seasonal affective disorder. But please beware—certain tinctures can counteract birth control, so consult a doctor or herbalist before taking.
Saint John's Wort is not only helpful for us, but it's also important food for pollinators. Because we don't have many of these plants in the Bronx, it's best to leave it where it grows. Its extract is available for purchase at many local health food markets and supplement shops. Be on the lookout for Saint John's Wort in the Bronx (or wherever you may be!)