Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Flower from a Bee – A Lesson in White Clover

It is no secret that when I harvest flowers, I am in the company of bees. Today I wore a flowered skirt with the colors of purple, green, tan and orangey red. I stopped and waited patiently for a curious, plump bumble bee to buzz around me to see just what kind of flower I might be and then bid him farewell when he realized that my nectar is of the spiritual kind.

Although it will delight in my memory with each cup of tea, I really thought that I was done with White Clover this season. While in amongst the Yarrow, I noticed a crop of fresh, creamy white blossoms with an impossible pinkish hue. I tried to stay with the Yarrow a bit longer, but could not resist the allure of the simple beauty and delicate wonder just out of my reach (Yarrow is quite patient with me and my endless curiosity).

So I found myself sitting with them in the middle of a well defined patch. The bees were mostly of the small sort and didn’t notice me as did the bumble bee. I waited a moment to get a feel for the movement of bee to flower before plucking.

Red Clover, although really purple, gets all the fame when White Clover is truly where dreams of bees are born. I admit that I was smitten by the Red Clover for some time, but I have awakened to the sweetness of their smaller, milk white sisters.

Did you notice that they look like an embellishment for an elegant dress, perhaps of antiquity? If I were to have such a dress, surely I would wear a sash of lacey White Clover (the ones with a hint of pink) or an innocent crown of them mixed in with Daisies and Black Eyed Susans.

From my spot on the warm, green earth I could see the other patch where the White Clover moved slightly with the wind. The bees and I were in Heaven, or so it seemed. I smiled as I reached for the next blossom, which was approached by a small bee at precisely the same instant. I pulled back and watched as he and the flower collaborated. I never take a flower from a bee.
White Clover
Genus – Trifolium

White Clover is magical and generally overshadowed by Red Clover. Although I am a strong supporter and advocate of Red Clover for its flavorful offerings and health benefits; I enjoy the same of White Clover.

Raw or cooked leaves of White Clover are edible. It is preferable to harvest the young leaves before the plant flowers. It can be steamed like you would spinach or you can use it in soups and salads.The young flowers are great in salads as well. Dried flowers and seed pods are excellent when ground into a powder and sprinkled on rice and pasta dishes. 

Maryjane's (Organic Edible) Wildflower Cake
I have used the stem and flower (intact) for edible cake decorations.

Crushed dried leaves add a hint of vanilla to cakes, breads and other baked merries. Even the root is edible after being cooked.

My favorite use of this wonderful flower is as a sweet herb tea made from fresh or dried flowers. My Native American ancestors used all parts of White Clover for medicinal purposes in relation to purification, cleansing and healing a wide array of disorders.

Of course like all folk medicine there is a spiritual connection. If one carries either White or Red Clover; it is said that he/she will possess the ability to detect witches and good faeries (I prefer to meet them by chance or with my own intuition).

Sweet White Clover Tea Infusion
Flowers and leaves: Fresh ¼ cup ~ Dried 2-3 teaspoons
Just Under Boiling Water – 1 cup
(1 Sprig of Mint – Optional)
Strain into tea cup and steep 5-7 minutes
Add honey, maple syrup or dash of fresh lemon juice as desired

Journal: Babies Breath

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