Bogbean Uses: What Is Bogbean Good For

Do you sometimes walk throughwooded areas, near streams, ponds and bogs, in search of wildflowers that mightbe briefly in bloom? If so, you may have seen the bogbean plant growing. Orperhaps you’ve seen this eye-catching beauty in a shady, damp spot in otherareas.

What is a Bogbean?

A wildflower that needs excessivemoisture to exist, you’ll find the bogbean plant (Menyanthes trifoliata) blooming in areas where most flowers woulddie from overly wet soil. It is an aquatic, rhizomatous perennial plant,returning year after year with white flowers that are enticingly beautiful.

Look for it in its damp, nativehabitat near ponds, bogs, and woodland soil that remains moist from springrainfall. It may also grow in shallow water.

Much like a spring ephemeral, the bogbean flower blooms briefly with a group of eye-catching flowers atop a sturdy stem. Depending upon location and moisture, these plants may blossom for a short period during the spring season or in summer. Their striking flowers last only a few days.

Also called buckbean, plants are 6to 12 inches (15-30 cm.) in height. Purple-tinged, star-like, frilly bloomsappear in clusters above three oval, shiny leaves. The leaves are near theground and flowers of about the same height or slightly taller appear on stalkssprouting from the clump.

Two types of flowers may appear, thosewith long stamens and short styles or vice versa. Both are truly attractivewhen in bloom, however.

Bogbean Care

If you have a consistently wet areawith acidic soil in sun or part shade conditions, you may wish to try growingbogbean plants there. You will likely have best results when ordering plants froman online nursery; don’t take plants from the wild.

The shallow end of a water garden might bethe perfect spot for this showy mid-spring specimen, or plant nearby in soilthat remains moist. Growing from thick and woody rhizomes, bogbean spreads andmultiplies. The only care necessary is providing a wet growing spot and keepingits spread under control.

Bogbean Uses

What is bogbean good for? Bogbeangrows in many areas of the U.S. and throughout Europe. It produces seeds,called beans. The appearance is like a bean pod, containing the seeds. Uses forthe plant are numerous for herbal supplements.

Herbal type uses include those forloss of appetite, as the plant increases saliva flow. It may also be used forstomach issues. Leaves are reportedly good for achy joints from rheumatism,jaundice, and worms.

Leaves of the bogbean are sometimessubstituted for hops whenmaking beer. The beans are ground and added to flour when making bread,although they are bitter. Always check with a medical professional beforeingesting.

Disclaimer: Thecontents of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only. Beforeusing or ingesting ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes or otherwise,please consult a physician, medical herbalist or other suitable professionalfor advice.

A guide to native pond plants

Aquatic plants can bring amazing colour to your mini-wetland or pond and give a naturalistic feel. They can provide shelter for pond wildlife like water boatmen, tadpoles and other tiny creatures and also help to keep the water oxygenated and clean.

How much plant cover does a pond need?

You’ll want light to permeate down to the pond’s base to help submerged plants and animals to thrive. So a good rough rule of thumb is to ensure at least half the surface of the pond is free of foliage.

Cultivating A Medieval Garden

The management of medieval gardens was a meticulous task because food was such an important part of life. Vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers grew in gardens whilst cereals such as barley, rye and wheat were farmed in large, open spaces. It took a lot of time and energy to cultivate a medieval garden and tasks like planting, growing, tending and harvesting were very labour intensive. In addition, the seasons of the year each presented their own challenges.


The task of any medieval Spring was to sow seeds and nurture plants and bulbs from the previous year. Correct management and preparation of the soil was really important for all plants to flourish. So, weeds had to be cleared and nutrients added to the soil.

Of course, there were no commercial fertilizers in medieval times, so people used whatever natural source of nitrogen they could find.

Usually, this took the form of manure, a tradition still in evidence in the world today. Surprisingly, the spreading of manure to enrich soil for growing food was not a medieval invention. Muck spreading, as it’s commonly known in England, dates back at least 8,000 years! A team led by an archaeobotanist from the University of Oxford actually made this discovery a few years ago. You can read about it here.


As summer approached and progressed, a medieval garden was at its best. Flowers were blooming, herbs, fruit and vegetables all thriving. However, it was not a quiet time for the garden workers because they had to tend everything on a daily basis. Primarily, they had to ensure the soil was not too dry and to this end most medieval gardens had their own well. If not, they had were usually close a stream or river because water was, as it still is, a prime factor in good garden ‘housekeeping’.

Autumn and Winter

Autumn was the time for harvesting. Tasks were varied and involved picking fruit from trees, gathering herbs and flowers and uprooting garden vegetables. As winter approached, medieval people spent much of their time preserving fruits and vegetables to make storable sources of nutrition.

Quince growing in a medieval orchard

Growing Food: Rich vs Poor – A peasant with perhaps just a little land available to them had to concentrate on growing just vegetables and herbs. This ensured that their family had their daily staple – pottage. In addition, they would enjoy a few hens eggs and barley bread.

A noble or rich landowner, of course, had more land and workers available to them. So they had greater options in what, where and how they grew food. Nobles were able to grow everything they needed. This included fields of wheat, much prized in medieval times for the pure white bread it made. They also grew a wide range of flowers which were used to make salads and household decorations.

With plenty of land available, they were able to cultivate vast fruit orchards. The fruit they produced had many uses – for dessert recipes, making salads and making fruit wines.

Watch the video: Waterdrieblad - Bogbean - Menyanthes trifoliata

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