Corylus avellana

preview hoep 00008 corylus avellana haselnussHazelnuts accompany human culture since at least the end of the last great Ice Age. During a warmer period of the Neolithic (7700-5700 BC) hazels in Europe were so widespread that this time is also referred to as „hazel-period“.

The plant has always been linked closely with food, traditions and folklore and was once considered an important symbol of fertility. In some alpine regions a belief was widespread that after a particularly rich hazelnut harvest many illegitimate children would be born ...

By the way: Hazelnuts harvested in our region should be gathered by shaking the bush since individually picked nuts would shrivel a lot more and are not very well suited for longer storage.

Horse Mint

Mentha longifolia

preview hoep 00016 mentha longifolia rossminzeIf mints are mentioned, we automatically think of the peppermint. We often overlook two aspects: First, there are approximately 25 different species of mint, some of which are also remarkable aromatic plants. Second, the so-called Peppermint is the result of crossing and is now cultivated in many varieties, which in turn can have significant differences in flavor.

The Horse Mint is one of the most common wild mints. It prefers moist, nutrient-rich sites and rather likes to grow in swampy and overgrown ditches, lake shores and swampy meadows. It smells and tastes very intensive and can be used like peppermint as spice and tea plant.

Indian Balsam, Himalayan Balsam
or Policeman’s helmet

Impatiens glandulifera

preview hoep 00014 impatiens glandulifera druesiges springkrautThe Indian Balsam is not only a very attractive plant, but also has developed a remarkable reproduction method. The blossoms start off as male, because initially only the stamens with pollen grain mature (protandry). Bumble bees and other insects that are attracted by the nectar contained in the flowers, stripe along the stamens and thereby carry forward mature pollen in their fur to other blossoms. These might already be in their second, purely female development phase, so that the pollen can be received by the stygma. It is an effective method to prevent selfing.

Fascinating is also the manner of spreading the seeds. Ripe seed pods have an incredibly high internal cell pressure that leads to an explosion-like burst initiated by only the lightest touch, ejecting the seeds. Quite understandable that these herbs in German are also known as „Rühr-mich-nicht-an“ (Don’t touch me).

Mountain Sorrel or Alpine Sorrel

Oxyria digyna

preview hoep 00019 oxyria digyna alpen saeuerlingIn the higher areas of the central alps in the damp scree slopes one often finds a member of the knotweed family, whose leafs and blossoms taste spicy-sour. This is the reason why the plant is named Mountain Sorrel or Alpine Sorrel.

The taste reminds one of that of sorrel and can be related to the oxalic acid content of the plant. The Mountain Sorrel, which is also widespread in northern Europe, contains relatively high levels of vitamin C. Among the Inuit and Lapps, it is therefore known as a valuable and popular wild vegetable.

Spider flower ’Helen Campbell’

Cleome hassleriana

preview hoep 00006 cleome spinosa spinnenpflanzeThe Spider flower is named after the stamens which rise up far out of the blossom. They determine the appearance of the whole inflorescence and make the plant unmistakable. In Germany this annual plant has to be brought forward before they are planted outside. That should be done approximately in May after an appropriate phase of hardening.

The purely white flowering sort ’Helen Campbell’ grows approximately 1 meter high and needs sufficient space and a nutritious ground, in order to be able to develop well and effectively