Dr Edward Bach – in the 1930s – felt that this blossom held the key to those of his patients who described themselves as depressed, but for no obvious reason.
It used to be an absolute scourge of the countryside. Often taking over, up to, 80% of the space – that had been planted with barley in the hope of some small financial return with the possibility of brewing a few pints of beer, too – in the fields.
Luckily it was fairly simple to control it with various weed killers and it almost disappeared from the scene of its conquests. Just lately it seems to be recovering and has become quite common on road verges and other idle land.
The plant is mostly poisonous, not that we humans ever let the mere fact that something kills us now and again stand in the way of culinary progress. The Irish, who were able to survive the Great Potato Famine (1845-1849) by taking the new leaves and boiling them, report that it doesn’t give you an upset stomach very often – providing you don’t eat too much of it and that the seeds can be ground up to produce a type of condiment.
We are, of course, referring to the Charlock in today’s image – most often known as Wild Mustard.