Spring in Griffith Park


I spend so much time hiking on the outskirts of town that I sometimes forget one of the nation’s largest city parks is practically in my backyard. Griffith Park is a sprawling urban wilderness — not quite as serene as our favorite “getaway” trails, but there’s still much to learn and appreciate. While Gregory goes trail running, I poke around in the woodlands and chaparral…


(left) London rocket (Sisymbrium irio) – A member of the mustard family with spicy, pungent leaves. A bite of this will jolt your tastebuds if you’re feeling sluggish on the trail!

(right) Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) – I haven’t foraged for this yet, but I recently learned that the leaves and roots are eaten in Korean cuisine, where it’s known as naengi.


California everlasting/cudweed (Gnaphalium californicum) – I am developing quite a love affair with the dreamy, maple syrupy fragrance of this plant. I’m just learning to use it in food and medicine, so more to come!


(left) Lupine (Lupinus longifolius, maybe?) – Some varieties of lupin seeds are edible, but I haven’t delved into this world yet. Lupines always make me smile, though, as they remind me of my home state flower, the Texas bluebonnet.

(right) California bluebells/wild canterbury bells (Phacelia minor) – Can cause dermatitis similar to poison oak, but it sure is pretty springing forth from the rocky ledges.


Griffith Park wildlife in action.


(left) Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) – This nettle is starting to seed, which can be used for food and medicine. My friend Rebecca at Cauldrons & Crockpots has a nice monograph on nettle.

(right) Blue elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea) – It’s disconcerting how early in the season the flowers are blooming (an effect of climate change?), but I am looking forward to making elderflower cordial and champagne soon.


Finally, if you need a dose of human culture, you can always climb up to the Griffith Observatory, pay homage to the bust of James Dean, and imagine that you’re watching a teenage knife fight … or am I the only one under the age of 70 who does that? :)

{Note: This blog is meant to inspire, not serve as an identification or field guide. If you decide to forage yourself, make absolutely sure you know what you’re picking, and make your own decisions about where and how you gather.}


One Response to "Spring in Griffith Park"

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  1. Rebecca

    April 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Yes, I think you’re the only one under 70 who does that, but that’s one of the things that makes you so lovable…

    ps. Griffith park wildlife… looks dangerous. Does it bite?


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