Sweetfern Tea, Anyone?   9 comments

My Mother always said, “There’s nothing like a good cup of tea!”  Being, most certainly, my Mother’s daughter, I drink a lot of tea.  My cabinet is full of jars of, wild harvested teas; Goldenrod, Wild Carrot Seed, Cleavers, Red Clover, Dandelion, Wild Lettuce and Sumac are among my daily favorites.  Last week I found Sweetfern; and am pleased to be drying some to add to my tea stash.


Comptonia peregrine, Sweetfern isn’t actually a fern, at all, it’s a short bush, from about a foot to 4 feet tall, or so; around here; although it is reported to grow to 5 feet.  (!!Bring me a schrubbery!!)


Sweetfern leaves, very much resemble fern leaves; hence the name.  Crush the leaves and enjoy their highly aromatic splendor.

 Sweetfern can be found from, Manitoba to Nova Scotia, south to Minn., ne. Ill., nw. Ind., Ohio, W.Va., and Va.; in mtns. To n. Ga.) ” (1)


I’m also drying Sweetfern fruits to go into potpourri.  Ahhh, the smell of it.  Yesterday, I made my first delightful cup of Sweetfern tea; and have been struggling with a description, since!  I could write that it tastes as good as it smells; that I really like it and you should try it.  However, that tells you nothing of its wonderful flavor; which is not exactly citrusy or spicy or particularly green, yet, slightly all of that.  Sweetfern tea is as delicate as Goldenrod, without a hint of anise.  It is somewhat like Sumac, but, not lemony.  As you can see, some things are tough to explain!  Hot or cold, sweetened or not, Sweetfern makes a very good cup of tea; indeed!

  Remember, pick safe!


I am so grateful for this wonderful bounty.  Hey Nickety!

Just click on any photo to enlarge.

Thanx for stopping by.  See you soon.



 (1) PETERSON FIELD GUIDES Edible Wild Plants, Lee Allen Peterson.

Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977

            My copy is in two!  It goes with me, everywhere; in my bag, under my arm and always crammed in, somewhere.  I’ve fallen asleep, numerous times, reading this book.  Many, many times I’ve been out in the field and come across a kind-of familiar, new-to-me plant.  Although, I’m not always positive, most times I know immediately, I’ve seen it, somewhere, in Petterson’s.  So, I bust out the book, and viola’; there it is.  And, once again, I’ve found a plant I didn’t know I knew; because I repeatedly read it’s description in my PETERSON FIELD GUIDE.  Sweetfern is one of those plants.  Certainly this guide does not have all the wild edibles, available, here.  And, more importantly, the photo section is extremely lacking.

NEVER use any guide as a soul point of reference.


9 responses to “Sweetfern Tea, Anyone?

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  1. I am mostly a coffee drinker but I love a good cup of tea.

    One of those forever etched in my soul memories is of a time I drank tea with you and Karen. I don’t remember all the details but I think we were at your house.

  2. My place is covered with sweetfern. I do enjoy nibbling the leaves on occasion, but tea of any sort… is not my cup of tea.

    BTW, having seen you refer to Nature’s Garden by Samuel Thayer, I ordered a copy. It came in today and I have been racing through it. Thanks for citing it as a reference. It is truly a fabulous book. You should try to collect a commission from Amazon.

    • THAT’S AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love Thayer; his spirit is infectous. I love what he wrote about Chris McCandless. I love the section “What is a Meristem and Why Should I care? You’ve probably figured out that I love the book! And, am so glad you are enjoying it! L’chiam!

      • I skimmed the section on McCandless – I was in too much of a hurry to get to the plant section to give it a thorough read, but I will revisit it soon. I liked what I did read. I liked the section on meristems too. I read that pretty carefully! I had never heard the word “meristem” before (and apparently, neither has my spell checker). I’ve been testing leaves for rubbery-ness for a week now. Pretty cool!

      • My spell check was ignorant, also! So glad you are enjoying Thayer. And, yes, very cool!

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  5. Reblogged this on Forageporage's Blog and commented:

    Sweetfern Is Up!

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