Wild About - Beeplant

It's amazing to me how foraging has helped me to read my own environment, to really see and recongize all the things which before, were categorized by my brain under the vague definition "plant."

Take for example the Rocky Mountain Beeplant (Cleome surrulata). I know I've seen them before this year, as they grow to be as tall as I am, with showy pink-purple flowers. But before this year, I never really stopped and had a good look at their astonishing beauty.

Here's the fun part - late in the season, the beeplant develops seedpods which are edible (eating is always the fun part for me)! They look like tiny green beans. It's important to pick the pods when they are young, because they get quite tough and fibrous as they mature. If you're lucky enough to find these, be prepared for a spicy, mustardy kick if you eat the pods raw. Or see how the flavor changes to a mild nut-like veg when cooked.

The first time I cooked the pods, I had already fried up a platter full of okra and green tomatoes, so I tossed the pods in the batter and fried those as well. They were tasty, but it may not have been the best method of preparation, given that they are so thin.

Since that time, I've cooked them by a different method - boiling the seedpods for a few minutes before tossing them in butter with a few scratches of garlic, salt, pepper, and poppy seeds. I think that this method keeps the pods much more tender and allows their flavor to come through.

Ready for my note of caution? Don't go around eating any old seedpod that hangs from flowers, as many of them are moderately poisonous. Make a positive id before eating, as always with foraging.

This post is my submission for Two for Tuesday this week. I know that there will be so many good links to see, so go hop around!


  1. Hey Butter, Love the new look! ;) Is this plant also called Geome? A lot of folks around these parts grow them as annuals. I will be checking it out. I dont have any in my garden this year, and I wouldnt go eating just anyone's plant pods, but if it is the same plant, i will most certainly plant some next year in my garden to try! Thanks for hosting and posting on the hop! :) HUGS! Alex@amoderatelife

  2. I am always amazed at how many plants have edible parts! I like growing edible flowers in my yard. I know they are same if my young children decide to eat them. And I can incorporate them in salads, deserts, or for garnish!

  3. I never would have known! Seriously, I always learn something new when I stop by...you just flabbergast me! LOL, flabbergast. Your foraging is such a "labor" of love...I'm so glad I get to see and learn from you!

  4. It's awesome when you realize how great it is to stop and smell the roses..err...beeplant!

  5. I like your new look too! Loved your post as I've never even seen a bee plant before - it's gorgeous and how wonderful that part of it is edible too. Really interesting!!

  6. I love the new look to the blog - the change is great. I am on the lookout for a book that positively ID's plants in my area so I can attempt foraging! Another great 24T post!

  7. Gosh that's beautiful. The flowers look a bit like beebalm (monarda) too. Wonder if they're related at all.

    Once again... love these posts. Really really love them.

  8. Wow, what a cool looking plant, and what a bonus that you can eat the pods too. Thanks for another informative post - am loving your tips about foraging.

  9. Alex- I think there is an ornamental variety of this plant, but I can't say whether or not it's edible.

    Bekk- Yep, the tops of the two plants look very much alike, and the matter is confused quite a bit by the common names. Around here, the monarda goes by either bee balm or horsemint). And the bee balm is in the mint family, but the bee plant is not, right?

    Anyhow, thanks for the compliments on my new blog style. It was time for a change. More to come!

  10. Butter you always suprise me with a new foraging post that I never thought of before. Thanks and congrats on the new look!!

  11. Thank you, Jason. I don't expect that everyone will go as hog-wild for foraging as I have, but even just to have one or two go-to forages per season is like having a free garden or produce section.


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