Medicinal Plants, Pacific Northwest
The Silverweed plant native to the Pacific Northwest and thrives in many areas on Vancouver Island. The lovely almost buttercup like flowers start to appear from early summer and last till late Autumn. It is related to the strawberry plant and sets out runners like the strawberry plant.
Each brightly colored yellow flower has five petals that are 15 to 20mm across that bloom on top of a leafless stalk. The flowers will be closed on dark days and evenings, opening best when bright sunshine appears. The soft silky downy leaves are divided into lots of sharp toothed leaflets with the underneath of the leaves being more silvery than the tops.
It trails its stems across grassy or sandy places where it roots very easily. The entire plant can be anything from 0.5 m to 2 m in length. The leaves are on opposite sides of the stalk. The Silvery color of the leaves is actually due to the presence of fine white downy hairs. This lovely yellow wildflower belongs to the family Rosaceae.
The dried roots were ground into a kind of flour and used in bread making. The leaves were used to soothe aching feet. Silverweed was made into a tea like infusion and used to cure menstrual cramps and indigestion and if honey is added it can be used as a gargle for the easing of sore throats. The silverweed has also been used to treat mouth ulcers, toothache, jaundice and stomach problems, piles, eye inflammation and many more medicinal uses. The whole plant is used to create an astringent. The plant has also been used in the creation of a cosmetic used to remove freckles and spots.
Cattle, horses, sheep and geese and ducks all enjoy eating silverweed plants.